Sustainability News

Posted on Monday, May 16, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Kevin Clarke in Macarthur B Arthur (art by Ben Carder and Rachel Kaye)

"When I was at CCA," says Kevin Clarke (Painting/Drawing 2005), "I'd be walking past the woodshop and people would be standing around a table engaged in a very physical, material problem, trying to figure out how to put a piece together. But then there was always interesting conceptual stuff going on, too. The work coming out of the Furniture Program combined craft and narrative in a way I related to."

Today, Clarke has achieved a true melding of CCA's "theory and practice" mantra, maintaining a woodshop in Alameda where he makes custom furniture, painting in his studio, and running the Oakland gallery MacArthur B Arthur.

Clarke made his first foray into the Bay Area arts community in 2003, when he set up Million Fishes Arts Collective midway through his CCA years. This Mission District-based organization continues to provide creative space and other opportunities to local artists. His CCA experience was invaluable in giving him confidence and connections. "Donald Fortescue, then chair of Furniture, was a mentor throughout. I still see and talk to him. Dee Hibbert-Jones, one of my first professors, inspired me to work outside the canonical medium of painting and be more experimental. I wanted more of a community, a 'soup' environment that would allow me to draw on the expertise of others. Jordan Kantor was instrumental in making me think about making. He helped me read texts, and had great recommendations on what to read after CCA."

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Posted on Monday, May 9, 2011 by Lindsey Westbrook

Technically it's not a dump, it's a transfer station: the 44-acre Recology site where most of San Francisco's garbage and recyclables pass through on their way to either a landfill or a recycling plant. To those who work there, know it, and love it, it's the dump. And for many local artists, including an impressive array of CCA alumni and faculty, it has been the site of a four-month-long scavenger hunt. Recology hosts a one-of-a-kind, intensely competitive residency program where for four months, 40 hours a week, a few lucky artists find inspiration, a literally endless stream of raw materials, a wide array of tools, and 2,000 square feet of studio space, leading up to a culminating exhibition event. The program just celebrated its 20th year. Not all of the artists make work that is specifically about reuse, but no one leaves without having been profoundly affected by the experience, without thinking about life and culture (and trash) in entirely new ways.

On May 20-21 Recology will host the final exhibition of current residents Alex Nichols (soon-to-be alumna from CCA's MFA Program in Writing), Scott Kildall, and Niki Ulehla. That such an obviously object-oriented residency welcomed Nichols, a writer, is an indication of how it continues to evolve and push the envelope of what "art" and "scavenging" mean. Some of the best-known works to come out of the residency have included Nathaniel Stookey's Junkestra (2007), which subsequently performed to a sold-out audience at Herbst Theater in San Francisco and released a recording, and the Styrofoam Hummer made by Andrew Junge (MFA 2002), which has gone on to tour numerous exhibition venues all over the country and has achieved legendary, mythical status among the dump workers.

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Posted on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Jay Nelson, "The Golden Gate" (Electric Camper Car), 2009 (photo by Jack Halloway)

On Tuesday, April 19, a Google Street View car was spotted in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. If the crew was lucky, it might have glimpsed San Francisco's most unique vehicle, an old, white hatchback that looks like a snail.

The Honda CRX with the distinctive wooden shell on the back belongs to Jay Nelson (Painting/Drawing 2004), artist and surfer. "I got the car for 200 bucks," he says. "I wanted to create a multifunctional work vehicle/camper. It became a kind of accidental artwork. Vehicles have no boundaries, so they can reach out and create an audience instead of needing the audience to come to them. When you build a house on the back of a car, everyone has an opinion about it, and it becomes a starting point for conversation." The vehicle (along with its owner) was featured on the cover of ReadyMade magazine earlier this year.

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Posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Happy Earth Day, CCA!

California College of the Arts is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review, an education service that helps students select and apply to colleges.

CCA's inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges: 2011 Edition reinforces the college's reputation as an exemplary institution of higher education committed to sustainability.

The news, which USA Today reported Wednesday, April 20, arrives just in time for today's Earth Day celebration—and brings to a close CCA's Earth Week festivities with a remarkable bang!

The Guide to 311 Green Colleges, the first and only free comprehensive college guidebook to focus solely on high-ranking U.S. colleges and universities, showcases outstanding commitments to environmental sustainability in and out of the classroom (e.g., environmentally related practices, policies, and academic offerings). The 220-page guide contains profiles of 308 institutions of higher education in the United States and three in Canada, all of which demonstrate a significant commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 by Simon Hodgson

Jill Bliss and LucyView slideshow 

Jill Bliss's latest Chronicle Books publication, Drawing Nature: A Journal, unites three of her passions: design, teaching, and nature. Bliss, who received her MFA in 2004 from CCA's Graduate Program in Design, has now been collaborating with the San Francisco-based publisher for seven years. "This new journal is based on classes I've been teaching in local parks here in Portland, Oregon.

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Posted on Monday, April 11, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Industry guest Christine Marcellino (Alite Designs) reviews prototypes and form studies by student Haley Toelle

Ask not what your function can do for your fashion, but rather what can your fashion can do for your function. — Anonymous

Interdisciplinary Curriculum: Best of Both Worlds

“Form over function” has taken on a whole new meaning for the students who completed last fall’s undergraduate “Fashioning Functional Gear” course. The interdisciplinary studio united the Fashion Design and Industrial Design programs in eco-conscious investigation and technological innovation.

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Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Jason Engelund

courtesy WAZO Design Institute

2011 is the inaugural year of the IMPACT Social Entrepreneurship Awards program, one of the anchor initiatives of CCA's Center for Art and Public Life. This program enables interdisciplinary teams of CCA students to develop and implement social innovations through their studies in art, architecture, design, and writing. We are pleased to announce the winning IMPACT Teams for 2011! Each team has been awarded $10,000 toward their project.

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Posted on Thursday, March 24, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Students, staff, and faculty can get involved in many ways! [photo: Jim Norrena]

All CCA students, staff, and faculty are invited to celebrate sustainability and the environment by participating in Earth Week @ CCA, which runs from April 17 to 22.

As we continue to "Dream Big" at CCA, the Office of Student Life and the President's Sustainability Steering Group have put together a series of events and initiatives to celebrate sustainability and the environment!

Here's how to get involved in Earth Week @ CCA:

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Posted on Monday, March 21, 2011 by Samantha Braman

Growing up on a wildlife preserve in California surrounded by farms, homesteaders, nature writers, and the Tahoe National Forest, Maria Ryan (Sculpture 2005) spent most of her time outdoors. When she got to CCA and heard about the availability of Center Student Grants, an idea germinated, and the outcome proved life-changing. She used the grant money to spend the following summer studying plants in the Sierra Nevada and teaching a complementary course, titled "Quilting Indigenous Plant Life of the Sierra Foothills." The project combined her love for nature, handwork, and textiles, and in the end led to the production of a public artwork.

"I used an abandoned building as a community center where I held classes for local children. I hired two guest teachers: one a Maidu woman, who taught the ecological and botanical value of each indigenous plant, and the other Louis Bluecloud, a skilled Mohawk artist who gave lessons in graphic pattern design by stenciling.

"Writing the proposal and seeing this project to completion, I recognized the strength that any project acquires through collaboration. I gained priceless experience, working to engage various factions of the community and utilizing local institutions as assets in the creative process."

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Posted on Tuesday, March 1, 2011 by Jim Norrena

Last month the humanities and sciences division at California College of the Arts presented Water Works, an exhibition on the Oakland campus that showcased collaborative and independent student projects that featured water as the running theme.

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