Featured News

Posted on Friday, December 5, 2014 by Jim Norrena

The Center for Art & Public Life (The Center) and the MBA in Design Strategy program, both at California College of the Arts, last month co-organized TechRaking 7, an annual hackathon series put on by The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), which focused on the intersection of journalism and design.

TechRaking 7, the first within the series to work exclusively with college students (and CCA as its official partner), had CIR CEO Joaquín Alvarado reaching out to CCA to pose the question: How can we rethink human interaction around the news within our communities?

CIR enlisted colleagues from two of its local media partners -- Bruce Koon of KQED and Martin Reynolds of the Bay Area News Group (BANG) -- to challenge CCA students with some of their toughest community-engagement issues. For example, how might:

CIR create new ways for people to communicate about the role of guns in their neighborhoods?
BANG offer a more participatory model that empowers residents to share overlooked topics?
KQED develop cross-regional tools to communicate better the personal effects of the growing technology industry?

Far be it for anyone at CCA to turn away a challenge, thought leaders at The Center decided to enlist the help of CCA students -- working in small teams representing a wide range of disciplines -- to collectively come up with innovative solutions that could encourage greater public participation in today's changing news gathering and distribution policies and procedures.

In short, TechRaking 7 challenged students to give the concept of the traditional newsstand a much-needed facelift.

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Posted on Monday, December 1, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Read this feature and many others in the fall 2014 issue of Glance, the college magazine.

Architecture faculty member Douglas Burnham’s architectural firm, envelope a+d, created the interim use of the CCA's back lot on CCA’s San Francisco campus.

“We conceived of the back lot as a kind of gridded game board populated by both designed and off-the-shelf movable playing pieces: greenery in tubs, 8-by-40-by-10-foot steel storage containers, a 100-foot-long picnic table that breaks down into modular components, trees in mobile planters, bicycle storage components, and so on," explains Burnham.

"The concept is that for the inaugural academic year, 2014–15, a “starter set” of pieces has been assembled with an emphasis on social uses of the space. In the fall, there is only one square of the board associated with a studio course: a demonstration-studio enclosure created with a pair of double-stacked containers.

"The coursework doesn’t actually take place in the containers, but outside, with the containers serving as spatial enclosures, and as storage when class isn’t in session.

“Next fall, more playing pieces will be provided, increasing the outdoor studio options and refining the campus-life components based on what we learn from this year’s experience.

"And at the end of every year, we’ll push all of the playing pieces to the edges of the lot and erect a big tent to house commencement events.”

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Posted on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Sienna DeGovia (Sculpture 1999) is a sculptor and food stylist based in Los Angeles, with 15 years of commercial experience styling food for film, TV, and print. 

Unlike many of her peers, she comes to the field from a three-dimensional art stance rather than a purely culinary one. 

Unique Specialty Pays Off

Her specialty is highly decorated baked goods and anything sweet, though she enjoys styling all of the food groups and beverages, too. 

Her list of clients includes Mad Men, The Muppets, Coca-Cola, Target, Disney, and Bon Appetit.

It was at CCA that DeGovia started creating artworks using food as a medium, specifically as a means to elicit emotional responses. She articulated for herself the connection between beauty and food that has characterized all of her work since.

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Posted on Monday, November 17, 2014 by Laura Braun

In September the CCA community was elated when news broke that beloved art and drafting supply retail store ARCH would be moving to CCA’s San Francisco campus.

A few months earlier, the shop and its loyal customers were taken aback when ARCH became the latest San Francisco institution to be served with an eviction notice.

ARCH, which opened its doors in 1978 and for the past 13 years served the San Francisco CCA community from its nearby Potrero Hill location, was disappointed, but took the opportunity to revisit an old idea -- operate from CCA’s campus.

“It goes back 15 years,” said Susie Coliver, ARCH’s owner and founder.

“When we had to move out of Jackson Square in 2001, then Architecture chair David Meckel was the first person I called, and I said, ‘David, don’t you have a little bit of space for us? Can’t you find a space for us?’

“And he said, ‘It would be great, but it’s not in the cards and we have all sorts of master planning to do and who knows, maybe someday, but not now.’"

See images of ARCH at CCA »

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Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 by Matthew Harrison Tedford

While still in high school, Claudia Alvarez (MFA 2003) began a job at the UC Davis Medical Center that would shape the rest of her professional and artistic life in unexpected ways.

Visit the artist's website »

As a patient escort, she encountered a diverse group of people, many of whom had very rare diseases and long-term illnesses. One of her first assignments, she recalls, was taking a body to the morgue.

But it was working with the living that caused Alvarez to look at life differently. “To make them laugh, for even five minutes, inspired me to think about life in different ways.”

The patients were sometimes children who seemed old as they grappled with extreme infirmity, and sometimes older people who became more like children as they aged. Alvarez’s conception of age expanded; she saw maturity in children and vulnerability in grown adults.

The first time she created a sculpture of a child with an old face, now a hallmark of her practice, “People freaked out. They asked where this eerie figure came from.”

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Posted on Monday, October 27, 2014 by Jim Norrena

The CCA Digital Craft Lab is pleased to announce FORMATIONS 2014, an annual workshop series at CCA of software-based workshops for students and professionals, which will take place place on November 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Hooper Graduate Center (184 Hooper Street) on the San Francisco campus.

FORMATIONS provides a platform for students and professionals in the design disciplines to explore new technologies in a hands-on workshop setting. Each year the focus of the event evolves to reflect emerging architectural research topics in relationship to new media.

Event Details

Registration: 9:30 a.m.
Lunch: 1 to 2 p.m.
Eligibility:  The workshops are open to all students, faculty, and professionals in the design fields.
Cost: Each workshop costs $175 for professionals; $100 for non-CCA students and recent graduates (who graduated within the last 12 months and have a valid ID); $75 for CCA students, faculty, and alumni.
Hardware & Software: Attendees must bring their own laptop to the workshop. See software requirements below.
Questions: Review the FAQ, below.

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Posted on Friday, October 10, 2014 by Kari Marboe

True collaborations come easily, especially when they combine history and clay.

Ceramics faculty member Kari Marboe, Director of Alumni Relations Jessica Russell, Director of Libraries Annemarie Haar, and CCA alumnae Eve Steccati-Tanovitz (Graphic Design 1969) and Arlene Streich (Arts Education 1961; Painting 1966) worked together to reveal the history of the college’s archived woodblocks and incorporate these historical tools at the Ceramic Program’s Open House, which took place as part of CCA’s Alumni Weekend earlier this month.

See more images of the Ceramics Open House »

Story of the Woodblocks

In the late 1960s, Professor Emeritus Vincent Perez was teaching woodblock printing and drawing at what was then CCAC. An Alumni Office staff member in Treadwell Hall (now Macky Hall) asked Perez if he would like to take possession of the woodblocks.

The woodblocks had been previously used to print the college’s publications (course catalogs, newsletters, and diplomas) going back to its founding in 1907 and decades thereafter.

If Perez hadn’t wanted them, they would have been thrown away.

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Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2014 by Laura Braun

In June CCA students from across multiple disciplines participated in CCA+AIR (Audi Innovation Research) Fellowship: Beyond Mobility, an intensive two-week design challenge that brought the Audi Group's leading designers -- and a host of other local designers -- to campus to hear students present about the next phase of creating luxury automobiles.

Architecture faculty members and Future Cities Lab partners Nataly Gattegno and Jason Kelly Johnson and Markus Auerbach from Audi AG’s AIR team spearheaded the event, which called for an interdisciplinary cross-section of program chairs to nominate students, who would then apply for the fellowship.

Auerbach emphasized daily a basic principle to which all Audi designers rely: “Humans have basic needs and rich desires.”

Students worked in teams and were instructed to keep the fundamental design consideration in mind as they envisioned the design of future automobiles for Audi AG, one of the "German Big 3" luxury automakers (along with BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which are the three best-selling luxury automakers in the world).

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Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014 by Rachel Walther

Gaby Brink (BFA Graphic Design 1995) and her wife and business partner, Nathalie Destandau, started Tomorrow Partners in 2007 in West Berkeley.

Brink’s vision to partner her expertise in design with companies and organizations that are seeking sustainable solutions for projects that will benefit communities, locally or globally, has come to fruition.

* * * * *

I knew from a very early age that I was a creative person. There were no artists in my family; my father was a pilot and all of our family was in the airline industry. I didn’t think that art could be a career, but my parents were really supportive.

When in Doubt, Go to CCA

I decided to leave Switzerland and go to the U.S. to learn English and spend a year at an art school. I liked the CCA catalogue best. I moved to Oakland in 1988, and within my first year I discovered photography and decided to stay.

I experimented a lot (this was predigital) and became good at the craft of studio work. Four teachers still stand out for me: Larry Sultan was a big influence -- a great mentor and a really inspiring person!

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Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 by Jim Norrena

Students participate in the exhibition "An Olfactory Archive: 1738-1969"

Congratulations to CCA's Architecture division for its recent Graham Foundation grant award for its 2014 Experimental History Project, an interdisciplinary platform for exhibitions, research, and events exploring experimental practices of architectural and urban history.

About the Experimental History Project

In a written statement prepared by CCA Architecture faculty members Irene Cheng and David Gissen: "We define experimental history as historical inquiry that operates outside traditional scholarly production.

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