Featured News

Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 by Brenda Tucker

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently announced the recipients of the 2006 SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art) Art Award. Four of the five winners have a CCA affiliation: faculty members Kota Ezawa and Amy Franceschini, alumna Mitzi Pederson (MFA '04), and current MFA student Leslie Shows. Sarah Cain was the other recipient.

The biennial award honors local artists of exceptional promise with an exhibition at SFMOMA, an accompanying catalog, and a modest cash prize.

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Posted on Thursday, January 18, 2007 by Brenda Tucker

For years, alumni and friends of the college have been asking for CCA merchandise. Now, just in time for the college's centennial, a wide variety of products featuring the CCA logo are available through CafePress.com.

Sweatshirts, T-shirts, caps, bags, license-plate frames, tote bags, and mugs are a just a few of the products you will find. Choose among three different designs: classic, centennial, and alumni.

Profits from the sales will benefit the CCA scholarship fund.

Visit CafePress.com.

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Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

Animal Subjects, an interdisciplinary course designed to examine a wide range of stories, theories, and images of animals in history, is the 2006 winner of the Animals and Society Course Award from the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Respect of Life and Environment.

This award is granted each year to three college undergraduate and graduate courses worldwide. The award includes a $1,500 prize, which will be used to expand CCA's library with resources relating to animal subjects.

Animal Subjects is part of the Critical Studies Program under the category of Methods of Knowledge, which are interdisciplinary humanities seminars required of all CCA undergraduate students in their third or fourth year. These courses are designed to teach critical thinking and to show students historical and cultural contexts.

Kari Weil, chair of Critical Studies and associate professor of Writing and Literature, teaches the course. By teaching Animal Subjects, she hopes for students to "sometime in their work try to make the empathic leap of envisioning a nonhuman perspective." The course evolved from her work on horse-human relations in 19th-century France, but has grown both in response to her research and student interest. Weil tries to integrate students' areas of study into the course. Last year the class took a field trip to the Oakland Zoo, where they learned about zoo design and conservation, which incorporated architecture and design.

Weil has been teaching at CCA for six years, and this is the fourth time she has taught the Animal Subjects course. She is near completion of the book The Equine Other in Nineteenth-Century France, a study that looks at the discourses around and representations of riding and breeding horses. Parts of the book are already published as articles. She also has a forthcoming essay called "Animal Death and the Struggle for Ethics" in a special issue of Configurations, a journal dedicated to animal and agricultural studies.

To learn more about the Critical Studies Program, see Critical Studies.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Design Within Reach (DWR) is collaborating with California College of the Arts during the fall 2006 semester for a course on contemporary seating design. The course, Production Furniture Design, is offered by the Interior Design Program and addresses issues in the creation and production of sustainable seating for the contract and residential markets.

The curriculum was developed through a collaboration between adjunct professor Brian Kane, an award-winning furniture designer in the Interior Design Program, and DWR executives, who are providing guidance to young designers throughout the semester.

"Cultivating and supporting emerging design talent at institutions like California College of the Arts is one of the most fulfilling aspects of what we do," said Ray Brunner, CEO of Design Within Reach. "We hope to challenge young designers to create innovative and sustainable designs that will endure for generations."

Student designers are creating four separate projects that examine all aspects of developing and creating sustainable seating solutions.

Tony Meredith, a student in the class, wrote: "The DWR furniture production class is a great opportunity for students to truly be supported by a sponsor in a very open and engaging way. Their multiple-person presence at the critiques and meetings has been incredibly helpful to us in our quest for an interesting, meaningful, manufacturable, and sustainable chair for their product line. It's been great to take much of the knowledge that I've gained in other classes here at CCA and put it to real world use."

The course curriculum includes an awareness of the contract and residential markets and how they work, the product development process in those industries, the manufacturing and material processes commonly used, ergonomic and human factors considerations, and full-scale product detailing and model making.

Design Within Reach's Jennifer Morla, creative director, and Karen John, vice president of design and general merchandise, will participate in the midyear and final course evaluations.

You can read about the course in the DWR blog. The blog entry on the final critique links to earlier entries, and student Tony Meredith reflects on the course in a later entry.

For more about Design Within Reach, visit www.dwr.com. For more about the Interior Design Program, see Interior Design.

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Posted on Friday, November 3, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

Leanne Wierzba's design

Senior Fashion Design student Leanne Wierzba was recently awarded a three-month internship with Anne Valérie Hash in Paris. The internship was one of six grand prizes from the 2006 Arts of Fashion Symposium, where internationally renowned fashion experts from cities such as Paris, Brussels, Vienna, and London judged aspiring fashion designers.

The event was hosted by the University of North Texas, School of Visual Arts, and over 100 students from 43 U.S. colleges and universities participated.

The symposium began with a four-day series of master class workshops, which included seminars, debates, and lectures on various topics in the fashion industry, including copyright law, blogging, international scholarship, and business.

The event concluded with a runway-style fashion show featuring the designs of 40 candidates competing for the six grand prizes.

Students were asked to create fashion illustrations depicting the way to express the mind and the body. Of all the submitted illustrations, about 50 finalists were chosen to present their designs at the event. Wierzba presented a complete outfit, with a cutout bustier, skirt, and ankle boots, which was intended to express the feminine archetype in art and fashion and the Freudian slip. The outfit was made from ivory satin, with pleated portions in charcoal grey chiffon.

Wierzba describes her style as very personal: "It is about my experiences, concrete and otherwise. It comes out of history, memory, and the realm of dreams. I am driven by concepts that relate mostly to psychology and social behavior."

The three-month internship in Paris will most likely begin in May, at the end of the spring semester.

For more information on the Arts of Fashion Foundation, visit Arts of Fashion. For more information about CCA's Fashion Design Program, see Fashion Design.

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Posted on Wednesday, November 1, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

North Pitney and Erin Elliott

Five CCA Media Arts students participated in Yahoo!'s University Design Expo, an annual event that explores how humans interact with technology and showcases student projects illustrating future uses for technology services and devices.

Yahoo!'s User Experience & Design (UED) group and Yahoo! Research hosted the annual event on July 31 at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale.

CCA and four other interdisciplinary graduate design programs were invited to participate: New York University, Interactive Telecommunications Program; Royal College of Art (London), Interaction Design Program; UCLA, Design and Media Arts Program; ESDI (Rio de Janeiro), Graphic Design Program.

Yahoo! provided CCA with $10,000 to create and present five projects. Professors Barney Haynes, Todd Blair, Allison Sant, and Anthony Burke led the students and encouraged out-of-the-box thinking in creating their interfaces.

Media Arts students Erin Elliott, Kate Richards, North Pitney, Rhonda Holberton, and Lucas Ketelle created projects for the expo. Projects ranged from Richards's living grass interactive project, in which users could run their hand over grass to trigger a video showing the world from a bug's perspective, to Elliott and Pitney's lollipop project, which consisted of lollipops with sensors that, when licked, controlled the movement of robotic babies.

"The mouth is underused in interactive art and design. This is a good example of a fun way to show you how you can use your mouth to control computers and machines," said Elliott.

The expo was launched 17 years ago by Joy Mountford, who was looking for a way to promote new ways of thinking about computers and design among engineers. She began the expo while at Apple Computer, but has recently moved to Yahoo! and has kept the expo going. She estimates 1,800 students have participated over the years.

CCA has received an invitation to participate in the event next year as well.

For more information about the CCA Media Arts Program, see Media Arts.

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Posted on Thursday, October 12, 2006 by Kim Lessard

Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner, who teaches in the MFA Program in Writing and the Writing and Literature Program, has been selected as a National Book Award finalist in the poetry category, for his book "Angle of Yaw" (Copper Canyon Press).

The announcement was made yesterday by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti at City Lights Books in San Francisco.

The winner in each of the four categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature—will be announced at the National Book Awards benefit dinner and ceremony in New York City on November 15, 2006. The dinner will be hosted by writer Fran Lebowitz.

Each winner receives $10,000 plus a bronze statue; each finalist receives $1,000 plus a bronze medal.

The finalists were selected by four panels of judges. Their decisions were made independent of the National Book Foundation, and their deliberations were confidential.

The judges for the poetry category were James Longenbach (chair), Jimmy Santiago Baca, Li-Young Lee, Claudia Rankine, and C. D. Wright.

To be eligible for a 2006 National Book Award, a book must have been published in the United States between December 1, 2005, and November 30, 2006, and must have been written by a United States citizen. This year the judges chose from a record 1,259 entries submitted by publishers.

About Ben Lerner

Ben Lerner is from Topeka, Kansas. His first book, "The Lichtenberg Figures," won the Hayden Carruth Award from Copper Canyon Press and was named by Library Journal as one of the best books of poetry published in 2004.

A former Fulbright Scholar in Spain, Lerner cofounded and coedits "No: A Journal of the Arts."

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Posted on Thursday, October 5, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

Donald Fortescue, *Self Contained*, 2001

The FOR-SITE Foundation has awarded its first Educator Fellowship to Donald Fortescue, associate professor and chair of the Wood/Furniture Program at CCA. Fortescue has been awarded the opportunity to organize a graduate-level course at the FORE-SITE residency site near Nevada City for fall 2007 and will also receive a monetary award to cover materials, supplies, and transportation.

"I am honored to be awarded FOR-SITE's first Educator Fellowship. It is exciting to be challenged to set up a practicum at FOR-SITE and to make connections between the urban institution of CCA and the edge-of-wilderness collaborative site provided by FOR-SITE. I can't wait to get up there next year with my students and see what comes out of the experience," said Fortescue.

The FOR-SITE Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place and provides learning opportunities that extend beyond the parameters of traditional academic curricula.

The foundation's board of directors awards an annual fellowship to a gifted educator affiliated with one of the foundation's educational partners.

For more information on the FOR-SITE Foundation, visit FOR-SITE Foundation. For more about the CCA Wood/Furniture Program, see Wood/Furniture.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 12, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer, CCA's spring 2007 writer in residence, has been selected as the recipient of the 2006 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets. The $100,000 prize recognizes proven mastery in the art of poetry. The judges for the award were poets Robert Hass, Fanny Howe, Susan Stewart, Arthur Sze, and Dean Young.

Robert Hass, on selecting Palmer to receive the award, wrote, "Michael Palmer is the foremost experimental poet of his generation, and perhaps of the last several generations—a gorgeous writer who has taken cues from Wallace Stevens, the Black Mountain poets, John Ashbery, contemporary French poets, the poetics of Octavio Paz, and from language poetries.

"He is one of the most original craftsmen at work in English at the present time," Hass continued. "His poetry is at once a dark and comic interrogation of the possibilities of representation in language, but its continuing surprise is its resourcefulness and its sheer beauty."

Palmer will give a public reading at CCA in February 2007 as part of the Graduate Lecture Series.

About Michael Palmer

Michael Palmer was born in New York City in 1943 and has lived in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including "Company of Moths" (New Directions, 2005), which was short-listed for the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize; "Codes Appearing: Poems 1979–1988" (2001); "The Promises of Glass" (2000); "The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972-1995" (1998); "At Passages" (1996); "Sun" (1988); "First Figure" (1984); "Notes for Echo Lake" (1981); "Without Music" (1977); "The Circular Gates" (1974); and "Blake's Newton" (1972). He is also the author of a prose work, "The Danish Notebook" (Avec Books, 1999).

Palmer's work, which is both alluringly lyrical and intensely avant-garde, has inspired a wide range of poets working today. Palmer draws on many disparate poetic traditions to create a new voice, a voice that has opened ways to write out of the confines of specific schools of poetry. Palmer has brought his powers of synthesis to his collaborations with artists in several mediums. For over 30 years he has collaborated with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, and he created the text for their piece "Danger Orange." Visual artists he has collaborated with include Gerhard Richter, Micaëla Henich, Sandro Chia, Jess Collins, and Augusta Talbot.

Palmer has also translated work from French, Russian, and Portuguese. He edited and contributed translations to "Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain: Twenty Contemporary Brazilian Poets" (Sun & Moon Press, 1997) and "Blue Vitriol" (Avec Books, 1994), a collection of poetry by Alexei Parshchikov. He also translated "Theory of Tables" (1994), a book written by Emmanuel Hocquard, a project that grew out of Hocquard's translations of Palmer's "Baudelaire Series" into French.

Palmer's honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, and the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. In 1999, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

About the Award

The Wallace Stevens Award is given annually by the Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org) to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry. Established in 1994, the award carries a stipend of $100,000.

The previous recipients are W. S. Merwin, James Tate, Adrienne Rich, Anthony Hecht, A. R. Ammons, Jackson Mac Low, Frank Bidart, John Ashbery, Ruth Stone, Richard Wilbur, Mark Strand, and Gerald Stern.

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Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Wen-Hua Hu, Trans-sensing

Every year I.D. magazine searches for the best work from the top design schools around the world. Three CCA alumni from the class of 2005 were recently honored in the Student Design Review 2006.

CCA alumna Wen-Hua Hu (Graphic Design '05) won the competition's top prize for her thesis project, Trans-sensing: Seeing Music, in which she developed a complex graphic system to explore what it would be like to see music. She based the project on the idea of synesthesia, literally "joined perception," the rare neurological condition in which the senses cross.

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