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Posted on Wednesday, June 7, 2006 by Kim Lessard

A kaleidoscope view of marine life

CCA graduate design students spent the spring semester exploring innovative ways of integrating art and design with the natural sciences in order to enhance the educational experience of visitors to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

The project was a collaboration between two CCA graduate courses: The Teaching and Documentation Project, taught by Linda Yaven, and Graduate Design Studio 2: Form + Language, taught by Raul Cabra.

The purpose of the project was for students to experience research and prototype testing—a crucial component of the design process—in an educational context.

Currently occupying a temporary space in downtown San Francisco while its new building (designed by Renzo Piano) is built in Golden Gate Park, the Academy became interested in how faculty and students from a lively design laboratory like CCA might bring new insights to their design rationale, working methods, and strategies. After observing the physical structure and spaces of the museum and how visitors interact within it, the students identified ways in which art and design might alter or enhance visitors' experiences. They then created and tested prototype installation aids.

Some of the students, like Chanida Buranatrakul and Maria Johansson, worked at solving specific problems they identified within the museum's spaces, such as finding an alternative to the sometimes hard to follow exhibition map. Others sought to simply add a dimension to visitors' experience of the natural history museum—Navid Ghaem's oversized kaleidoscope positioned in front of an aquarium of colorful fish, for example.

Zara Logue and Adelaida Mejia created a tentlike structure for younger visitors that resembled a jellyfish within a vast room of aquariums. Made out of translucent recyclable plastic, the structure drapes around floor pillows in organic shapes and casts an ethereal orange glow of reflected light from the tanks. Called the "Storytelling Pod," it offered a cozy, restful place within the larger open space. While testing the prototype, the students found that children were much more at ease when being read to within the dwelling and that parents instinctively tended to join their children, adding to the sense of calm and comfort.

Seeking ways in which the museum store could be an educational environment, Tom Hall and Andriyanto Wibowo designed a kid's game using probably the least expensive toy in the store, the low-tech, no-frills, injection-molded plastic insects. Centered on an in-store display, "Bugs Battlefield" is a sort of wildlife rock/paper/scissors, in which kids lose or gain points if they are prey or predator, slow or fast.

Other students who created projects for the class included Ryan Alexiev, Nathan Davis, and Azusa Oda.

This is the first year that CCA students in the MFA Program in Design have collaborated with the Academy of Sciences. Previous collaborations have taken place with K–12 schools. The institutional collaboration was initiated by CCA faculty member Marina McDougall along with Academy exhibition director Linda Kulik, with the encouragement of CCA president Michael Roth and Academy director Patrick Kociolek.

The museum staff seemed delighted and intrigued by the results. When the students presented their findings, what started as a two-hour final critique became a lively three-hour dialogue on the impact of design on how a natural history museum serves its visitors and the community.

Kulik commented, "Staff who interfaced with the students enjoyed their fresh perspectives and unique design approaches." For CCA the Academy offers what one participating graduate student described as a lifetime of design challenges.

Further CCA and Academy collaborations are in the works.

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Posted on Monday, June 5, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

CCA fashion design alumna Sumie Yamashita ('06) was chosen as a 2006 finalist in the Target/Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Design Initiative.

Yamashita was one of 10 national finalists who were awarded $1,000, as well as an interview for a paid one-year design internship with the Target Corporation in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2005, as a junior, Yamashita was a Best in School winner in the CFDA Junior Scholarship Competition.

The Target/CFDA Design Initiative is a highly competitive, nationwide program open to students from selected fashion design schools. This year, 18 schools were invited to participate. Only three to six students from each school may apply. Students are judged on a portfolio of their fashion projects, which are divided into categories, such as women's wear or men's wear.

For more information on CDFA, visit www.cfda.com. For more information on the CCA Fashion Design Program, see Fashion Design.

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Posted on Friday, May 19, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

On June 1, the third volume of Eleven Eleven, the annual journal of literature and art at California College of the Arts, will be available to booksellers through Small Press Distribution. The journal can also be ordered directly by emailing eleveneleven@cca.edu.

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Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2006 by Kim Lessard

Architecture alumnus Chad De Witt's firm, DEWITT Residential Design & Interiors, is the interior designer for Sunset magazine's 2006 Celebration Idea House. The architects are Siegel & Strain Architects, and the builder is Clarum Homes.

The first to be built in the backyard of the magazine's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, the 2006 Idea House will be unveiled at Sunset's ninth annual Celebration Weekend, May 20?21, and is open for tours May 26–June 18. Hours are 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Friday–Sunday.

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Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Gregory Gavin (MFA '93) has been the April 2006 artist in residence at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. At the beginning of the month, Gavin set up his mobile studio in the museum's Kimball Education Gallery to create "De Young River: Universal Solvent." As part of the month-long project, visitors have been invited to view the evolving river/landscape sculpture and make art to add to it.

Gavin creates large-scale sculptural installations in public spaces—often containing running water—and invites the public to add to them spontaneously using a variety of materials. His goal is to reclaim art production as a social activity for both children and adults, with the potential of luring people of diverse backgrounds into casual conversation and dialogue.

The public is invited to a final celebration on Friday, April 28, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the Kimball Gallery. Live music will begin at 6:30 p.m. Gavin will give an artist's talk at 8 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium.

The project will be on display through Sunday, April 30.

All events take place in the free area of the museum.

About the Artist-in-Residence Program

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Artist-in-Residence Program brings working artists into the museum setting. This program enables museum visitors to meet artists and gives artists an opportunity to work with the public.

By watching an artist work, talking with an artist, and engaging in art-making activities, visitors learn more about various techniques and processes, thus gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for the art on view.

For more information, visit www.thinker.org/fam/education.

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Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

The CCA Architecture Program has received a prestigious National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) prize for its studio curriculum in comprehensive building design. Individual faculty members were honored for their work at the recent design awards sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

NCARB Prize Goes to Studio Curriculum

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Posted on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

The American Association of Museums has awarded the CCA Wattis Institute second prize in the category of exhibition catalogs for the design of Monuments for the USA. Graphic Design student Michael Morris ('04) designed the catalog. Morris also designed the poster/custom cover, which was screen-printed by Printmaking faculty member Thomas Wojak ('92).

The 25th annual Museum Publications Design Competition drew more than 900 entries from museums across America and around the world.

The Wattis was honored in the category of institutions with budgets of $500,000 or less.

Monuments for the USA presented proposals for political and social monuments for the United States of America, including drawings, diagrams, maquettes, photocollages, and written descriptions. The exhibition was on view in spring 2005 and was curated by the director of the CCA Wattis Institute, Ralph Rugoff.

"This award shows what a wonderful advantage the Wattis Institute enjoys from being part of the art and design culture at CCA. I am very proud of Morris's work as a designer, especially as this was his first exhibition catalog. He found a concept that worked with 60 very different proposals by 60 very different artists," said Rugoff.

More information about the competition can be found at www.aam-us.org.

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Posted on Monday, April 17, 2006 by Brenda Tucker

Two CCA graduate students have been accepted into the 2006 residency program of the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Media arts students Patricia Esquivias and Marcella Faustini were selected from 1,643 applicants worldwide. Both are in the college's MFA Program in Fine Arts.

Open to only 65 students each year, this summer program is an intensive nine-week residency for advanced students, giving them the opportunity to work with a visiting faculty of leading contemporary artists.

"The Skowhegan residency is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that can be a launching pad for emerging artists," said Lawrence Rinder, CCA's dean of graduate studies. "I'm thrilled that the high caliber of the work of our students continues to be recognized by the Skowhegan jury."

Founded in 1946 on lakeside farmland in rural Maine, Skowhegan has served as an important resource for artists and a catalyst for the advancement of their work. Founded by artists, and still governed by artists, Skowhegan provides a rigorous, supportive atmosphere in which emerging artists are encouraged to work and explore, free from the expectations of the marketplace and academia.

From Ellsworth Kelly and Janet Fish to Sanford Biggers and Jennifer Zackin, Skowhegan alumni represent a diverse line of some of the most influential artists of the last five decades.

The 2006 Skowhegan residency program runs June 10 through August 12.

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Posted on Thursday, April 6, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

Students Paul Trillo and Noah Cunningham have won VH1's and IFILM's "Show Us Your Junk" Contest, a viewer-generated video competition. Their video, "Disaster Series," is about Cunningham's bad luck and clumsiness and shows some worst-case scenarios in everyday tasks.

The two Media Arts students initially produced the 1 minute 26 second video for fun, and later did the sound design in Richard Beggs's Sound for the Moving Image course. All of the sound in the video was produced through the Foley technique, through which sound effects are added to a film's sound track.

The student's video aired on VH1's "Web Junk 20," a show devoted to comical Internet video clips. The video is also available for viewing at IFILM's website.

For their work, Trillo and Cunningham won an HP digital media center with Intel technology and a Sharp Aquos liquid crystal television.

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Posted on Tuesday, March 14, 2006 by Hannah Eldredge

CCA Writing and Literature professor Marianne Rogoff's story "Raven" appears in The Best Travel Writing 2006, an annual anthology that celebrates the world's best travel writing.

"Raven" is about the author's journey to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and the people she gets to know there.

Rogoff and other contributors will read at Book Passage, Corte Madera, on Sunday, March 19, and Get Lost Books, San Francisco, on Wednesday, March 22, both at 7 pm.

Her story "Human Nature" is also forthcoming at www.travelerstales.com.

Rogoff comments, "I've always admired Travelers' Tales publications for being the most literary in the genre, so I'm thrilled to have my story selected for The Best Travel Writing series . . . and for a story that was so much fun to research."

About Marianne Rogoff

Marianne Rogoff is an adjunct professor in the Writing and Literature Program and has taught at CCA since 1994.

She is the author of a memoir, Silvie's Life (1995), which is forthcoming in Portuguese translation from Gradiva Editions. Rogoff will be speaking at the Lisbon Bookfair and other venues at the end of May in connection with the Portuguese edition.

She is the winner of two Marin Arts Council fiction grants and has published numerous short stories, essays, and book reviews.

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