Featured News

Posted on Thursday, February 20, 2014 by Simon Hodgson

Filmmaker and CCA alumnus Banker White (MFA 1999) has traveled as far as West Africa in his journey to develop communities and tell stories. But his latest work originated rather closer to home. In his documentary The Genius of Marian, due for theatrical release in April 2014, he follows his mother, Pam, as she deals with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“In 2008, seven years after my grandmother passed away after a battle with Alzheimer’s, my mom, Pam, announced that she was going to write a book about her. Marian Williams Steele was her mother and my grandmother. She was a well-known artist. I painted with her my whole childhood.

“As her only grandkid who identifies as an artist, I knew immediately that I was going to be involved. So I started going back home to Massachusetts twice a year to help my mom with the book and to archive Mana’s paintings.”

But what began as a collaborative mother-son book-writing project evolved into something very different, as Pam herself started to experience signs of dementia, and soon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “In 2009, I stayed at my parents’ house for three months, just to figure out what was going on,” says White. “It was clear that both my parents needed help. My mom was delusional and had periods of violence. I realized I needed to move home.”

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Posted on Monday, February 10, 2014 by Rachel Walther

Meet ChuCha Santamaria: dancing siren, disco singer, and larger-than-life alter ego of CCA alumna Sofía Córdova (MFA 2010). Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Córdova has developed an artistic practice spanning sculpture and photography, installation, and video, but it is her music and performances as ChuCha Santamaria that have attracted the most attention.

In 2011, she and her husband, the musician and artist Matthew Kirkland, released their debut album ChuCha Santamaria Y Usted. (It was the central piece in an installation/performance cycle.) Reviewers were dazzled. “Fantastic, vital . . . imminently catchy,” wrote East Bay Express critic Ellen Cushing. “Singer/wordsmith Sofía Córdova sings in inglés, español, y Vocoder, carefully unfolding her melodies with stately restraint,” enthused PopMatters reviewer Josh Langhoff.

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Posted on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Jim Norrena

(l-r) Pratibha Parmar, Alice Walker, and Geena Davis [photo: Jim Norrena]

Pratibha Parmar is a British filmmaker, director, producer, and writer who is known internationally for her political and often controversial documentary film work. She’s also a stalwart activist within the global feminism and lesbian rights movements.

In short, her accomplishments and commitment to making art that matters makes her an ideal visiting artist (MFA in Film) here at California College of the Arts.

Before she was born, Parmar’s family emigrated from India to East Africa, and then later immigrated to London, where she was raised and went on to study at Bradford and Birmingham Universities where she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Dustin N. Smith

California College of the Arts is a featured partner for the 2014 Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) Bridges: Spanning Tradition, Innovation & Activism conference March 26-29.

Bridges will investigate the intersections between traditional and emerging technologies and how these tools are vehicles for creating meaningful and critical discourse around contemporary issues in printmaking.

The event includes dozens of Bay Area participating organizations such at Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Kala Art Institute, 826 Valencia, Berkeley Art Museum, Crown Point Press, San Francisco Center for the Book, and many others.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

Eleven Eleven is a graduate Writing course; a journal of prose, poetry, and art; and a force to be reckoned with on the national -- even international -- literary scene. It’s the reason Candace Hoes (MFA Writing 2014) decided to attend CCA, and she’s taken the Eleven Eleven course every semester she’s been here: “I’ve been the managing editor, webmaster, Ad/Swap coordinator, fiction editing team member, and Koi Pond* coordinator.”

Eleven Eleven is also a network, as faculty editor Hugh Behm-Steinberg explains. “It’s a web of connections and relationships among writers, translators, visual artists, publishers, and galleries. And us: the faculty and staff and students.”

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Posted on Friday, January 24, 2014 by Jim Norrena

(inset l-r) Emi Watanabe, Kyaligaba Frank, and Andrew Maxwell-Parish

California College of the Arts Hybrid Lab manager Andrew Maxwell-Parish spent his holiday break far away from the college, helping a community he’d never met before. 

After crowd-sourcing funds from friends and family in order to travel to Kampala, Uganda, he and his "instructables" colleague Emi Watanabe flew half-way around the globe to meet Paola de Cecco, who is in charge of the 3D printers owned by local Kampala-based nonprofit, Village Energy. 

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Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014 by Jim Norrena

From CCA to IDEO to Plum Organics . . . see where an arts education is taking this alum!

Career Success: A Media Synopsis

In June 2012 the New York Times sunk its teeth into Neil Grimmer (BFA Sculpture 1995) and his human-interest, business-savvy success story with Plum Organics, the organic baby-food company that has reshaped the industry by changing not only what we're packaging but also how we're packaging it. 

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Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 by Lindsey Westbrook

On a crystal-clear June evening in summer 2013, the sun is setting in Marfa, Texas, and a dozen CCA students -- together with a dozen more students from two art schools in the Netherlands -- are settling into the evening rhythms of their tent city.

The tents are cozily nestled in the courtyard of a former officer’s club, long abandoned by the US military. Elsewhere in the building complex, an old bar has been converted into an ad hoc Internet lounge. A spookily empty ballroom houses a broken-down old piano. The kitchen has accommodated the making of many a communal dinner.

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Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 by Allison Byers

Hydra Cities students and faculty at the Parthenon in Athens.

In summer 2011, MArch student Liz Lessig (MArch 2012) embarked on a summer travel studio in Athens. This opportunity, in addition to being a great learning experience, led her to form a close bond with Architecture faculty member Nataly Gattegno, who became Lessig’s thesis advisor as well as a friend and mentor.

Hydra Cities: Meeting Nataly Gattegno

It was the summer before her thesis year when Lessig took part in Hydra Cities, a summer study-abroad studio course in Athens led by Nataly Gattegno. Gattegno is currently an associate professor and chair of the Master of Architecture Program, and she was born and raised in Athens.

The course began in San Francisco, as the students investigated the history, culture, and ecosystem of the Mediterranean and Athens. They then traveled to Athens for two weeks.

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Posted on Wednesday, December 18, 2013 by Jim Norrena

Carol Ladewig (MFA Painting/Drawing 1991) is a Bay Area artist worth knowing. Aside from her delightful demeanor, her decades-long experience within Oakland’s art scene is formidable: artist, activist, gallerist, curator, teacher, and more.

But to know Ladewig requires us to first revisit some of Oakland's history.

Oakland's Pardee Artists

In 1932, at the southwest corner of 16th Street and San Pablo Avenue, a three-story commercial building, then known as the Wetmore Pardee Building

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