Playa del Rey, CA, 5:30 pm PST, February 13, 2021. By Haley Caranto, admitted student.

Silver Linings

An archive of projects, pics, stories, events, and updates from the year our campus was completely on the cloud. 🌤️

Vacaville, CA, 5:13 pm PST, February 12, 2021. By Stephanie Smith, staff.

Vacaville, CA, 5:13 pm PST, February 12, 2021. By Stephanie Smith, staff.

A “silver lining” is what we call a positive aspect of something difficult. Like the silver lining of a dark storm cloud. Though we were disappointed when the pandemic kept us apart from spring 2020 to spring 2021, we knew that artists, designers, architects, and writers are distinctly equipped to find the creative opportunities—the bright side, the silver linings—of a low point. We are the people who help the rest of the people see problems in a new light.

This page was our space to try to make the best of a bad situation by tracking our creative achievements, breakthroughs, inspirations, events, and stories. It was our way of simply sharing space with each other in the cloud as we waited to be able to return to campus.

We’ve left Silver Linings here as a time capsule of that historic and challenging moment. Because whether we’re on campus or off, together in the Bay Area or distributed around the world, it’s worth remembering that CCA’s creative community will always find the silver lining.


Silver Linings has wrapped, but a few things are sticking around

We completed Silver Linings with our spring 2021 virtual commencement experience (graduates all received a piece of silver-colored regalia!), but we'll always have your cloud pics and the soundtrack to an ~unprecedented year~. Plus, the Silver Linings news and event roundups remain as archives on this page, so you can (re)read inspiring community stories from our fully remote semesters.

Great tunes

The Silver Linings Spotify Playlist was designed to inspire and connect us from afar, but it remains a supremely listenable gem regardless of global events. Give the songs a spin, and then tell us your favorite on Instagram (@cacollegeofarts).

Virtual Events Archive

There’s room for everyone up here

One of our favorite silver linings of a remote semester was that our international guest lectures, scholarly critiques, event series, artist interviews, and social gatherings were virtual, open to the public, and accessible to more of us than ever before.

News Archive

Let’s cloud hop, shall we?

Scroll through selections of past featured work, made by students all around our campus on the cloud.

May 2021

Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

May 10

Congratulations, Class of 2021! Celebrate our newest alums by watching the 2021 Commencement Video, featuring artist performances and community reflections, as well as formal speeches by President Stephen Beal, Honorary Doctorate Sir Jony Ive, this year’s distinguished alum, and undergraduate and graduate student speakers.

Big grant, bigger impact. Alum Camila Wandemberg (BFA Individualized Studies 2020) was recently named recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Swarovski Foundation. This grant will further Wandemberg’s work in developing sustainable alternatives for textile processes in her home country of Ecuador, helping local artisans and communities establish a circular economy.

Care-full curation. MA Curatorial Practice and the Wattis Institute present Contact Traces, an exhibit that questions assumptions of care as an act of benevolence and “cries out against a ‘return to normal,’ suggesting that a society in which care is fully recognized could be more just and sustainable.” On view through June 6.

Reaching new heights. Read about the collaboration between renowned artist Jim Campbell and CCA Film and Fine Arts professors and students. In January 2021, Campbell and his studio, White Light, launched an ongoing Midnight Artist Collaboration series, which showcases the work of young emerging Bay Area artists every night from midnight to 1 am on Salesforce Tower. A number of the recent projections were created by CCA students or recent alumni.

A look back at lockdown. Looking Back, Looking Forward, an exhibition from CCA Libraries, shares work by students made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown in spring 2020. Now, a year later, these artworks resonate with renewed, prescient somberness, reflecting circumstances that were new or heightened then but have since become part of our daily reality.

Illustrious interview. Alum Samuel Rodriguez (BFA Illustration 2006) spoke with Experimenta in a Q+A about illustration, process, and developing one’s own style.

Overdue recognition for Okamura. Point Reyes Light’s analysis of honoring the Asian American legacy of West Marin includes a nod to former CCA professor Arthur Okamura, “whose artwork is in collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian, [and] cultivated the abilities of thousands of students during his decades as a professor at California College of the Arts.”

Championing arts education. Alum Lorelei Linklater (BFA Painting/Drawing 2015)—an artist, children’s educator, and actress best-known for her performance in the 2014 drama Boyhood—discussed the importance of arts in American education with OCNJ Daily, who notes that “since graduating, Linklater has become a celebrated multimedia painter.”

Empowerment superpower. MFA Comics Adjunct Professor Melanie Gillman shared their story of success within the comic book industry and offered insights on how to draw a path toward broader representation at an event presented by Stonewall Hall and the LGBT Resource Center (which also mailed all attendees a free copy of Nonbinary, a minicomic created by Gillman that discusses the process of coming out and living as a nonbinary person).

MFA Writing student Emilio Gallegos and his dog in the De Haro Garden Space.

May 3

National Poetry Month. Our newest Instagram Live closed out April’s #NationalPoetryMonth with a reading by graduate student Emilio Gallegos (MFA Writing 2021), presenting his work Still Not There.

A hidden journey, a home. From Colombia, to California, to a virtual Fashion Design 3 course that changed everything—Melissa Rodriguez (BFA Individualized Studies 2022) shares the hidden journey that helped her uncover a new definition of home.

Art history reading recommendation. Don’t miss the story of professor emeritus Marguerite Wildenhain’s Pond Farm studio and classroom, featured in The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s series Where Women Made History. “As one of the most influential ceramicists of the midcentury American Studio Pottery movement, Marguerite Wildenhain understood what it took to perfect one’s craft. Producing great art meant putting your whole self into the work, and not caring about what others thought about it.”

TL;DR: 💥 “To make art, you have to care a great deal and not give a damn.” 💥 — Marguerite Wildenhain

For your ears only. “After a year of screens and video saturation, Diné composer, performer, and installation artist Raven Chacon wants you to go on a walk,” writes SFCV about the Wattis Institute artist-in-residence, whose latest project, Radio Coyote, explores sound collage. The experimental programming continues through June 30, at 88.1 FM or

Thesis turned trilogy. Alum Alka Joshi (MFA Writing 2011) began working on her hit novel The Henna Artist in graduate school at CCA. It was her thesis project, but the process for developing the project included 10 years of research, writing, and trips to India. Since its publication last March, The Henna Artist has become a favorite of Reese Witherspoon and is being turned into a TV show, and the second book in the trilogy, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, will be released this June.

CCA to zines. The new issue of the SF Bay Area Comics & Illustration anthology Lazer Zine is live and features a smattering of work by CCA graduate and undergraduate alumni alike. For the 72-page publication, contributors reflected on and created comics inspired by their “Mixed Emotions.” #mood

Advice for bravery in art. Alum Vernon Keeve (MFA Writing 2013) gave tribute in Berkeleyside to former teacher and California Poet Laureate Al Young, who passed away at age 81 on April 17. Keeve says Young helped his poetry become more intimate. “Instead of wanting to hide on the page,” Keeve says, “Al taught me how to be more authentic. He said to face things that hurt you, don’t run away from trauma on the page.”

Advice for bravery in life. Alum Julie Lythcott-Haims (MFA Writing 2016) spoke with NPR’s Fresh Air podcast about her newest nonfiction book, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, and dug into basics for achieving adult status, such as: showing up, being gracious to other humans, managing your money well, stop trying to please others by sacrificing yourself, and much more.

April 2021

April 26

A Guggenheim fellowship. Alum Elizabeth Malaska (BFA Painting/Drawing 2006) was recently named a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow. Malaska is one of 184 artists, writers, scholars, and scientists chosen for the prestigious fellowship following a rigorous peer-review of almost 3,000 applicants.

A distinguished guest Legendary designer Sir Jony Ive KBE will receive CCA’s Honorary Doctorate degree during the college’s annual commencement ceremony in recognition of his devotion to design as a craft, which ties to CCA’s 114-year legacy of forward-thinking making in the arts and crafts. Sir Jony, who is responsible for the design of some of the world’s most profoundly influential products—the iMac, PowerBook, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods—will deliver the commencement address during an interactive viewing on Monday, May 10. CCA is also pleased to announce Sir Jony as the honoree at our annual gala, happening virtually on Friday, May 14, at 5 pm PT.

Commencement traditions. From the tam and gown’s little-known origins to a particularly relevant Honorary Doctorate address that’s more than two decades old, these stories behind the college’s commencement quirks are so CCA.

Five questions with Raven Chacon. Capp Street Artist-in-Residence Raven Chacon conducted a Q+A with I Care If You Listen and spoke about the intent behind Radio Coyote, streaming now through June 30 through the Wattis Institute.

“Radio Coyote started with an initial idea to bridge the Southwest (New Mexico and Arizona) with the San Francisco Bay Area,” Chacon says. “There are already many musical links: musicians from California who come through Albuquerque on tour and vice-versa. Other collaborations and friendships have evolved since. But also in our individual isolations, we all have recognized our shared concerns about the outside world. What is happening in our neighborhoods, or in other neighborhoods, or in the nation’s capital? I wanted Radio Coyote to be a vehicle for sharing these thoughts, whether through music or interviews or other live radio actions.”

Tune time. Check out a new Tiny Desk concert featuring pop singer Rina Sawayama, written about by recent alum Alex Ramos (BFA Animation 2021), who also serves as editor-in-chief at Sunstroke Magazine, an independent publication that centers Generation Z, culture, and activism.

April 19

Best in the continent. Congratulations to graduating students Conor Daly, Maria Antonieta Ramirez, Navya Sharad, and Valeriya Velyka. The four were recognized among the top 50 Architecture and Interior Design graduates in North America by a new list called the Metropolis Future 100.

A grant for good. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts recently launched a new program called the YBCA 10, which awards $50,000 to 10 artists to “develop creative prototypes that center the health and well-being of communities through a focus on racial equity, climate justice, and their intersections.” The inaugural class, which includes alum Dorothy R. Santos (MA in Visual and Critical Studies 2014), are artists advancing the essential role of art in social and cultural movement and interested in developing new systems for building regenerative communities.

Earth Day, every day. Faculty members Janette Kim, Ren Fiss, Curtis Arima, and Kim Anno have started the E-school at CCA, an environmental justice collaboration across divisions that topples figureheads and centers frontline communities. The “E” in E-school stands for eco and its aim is to collaborate with the Earth itself.

Architecture in conversation. Master of Advanced Architectural Design students Leandra Burnett and Kurt Pelzer sat down with visiting MIT professor Ana Miljački to discuss her work with MIT’s Critical Broadcasting Lab and the architectural exhibition as a medium. “I think transformation is not always recognizable to those who already have the authority to sanction it as such,” she says.

Art in conversation. A new group show titled The first swing of the bat, curated by Gallery46 and Paint Talk, pulls together a broad collection of language and conceptual framework. Each artist, including alum Sophie Lourdes Knight (BFA Painting/Drawing 2014) brings a distinct language to the show, writes FAD Magazine.

Cool neighbors. The San Francisco Chronicle’s latest housing guide for where to live in the city included a CCA shoutout, noting that Dogpatch and Potrero Hill “are among the most well-rounded in the city, with a distinct youthfulness and creative undercurrent owing to a California College of the Arts campus, the Minnesota Street Project arts foundation, the Museum of Craft and Design, and two popular indie music venues in the Bottom of the Hill and Thee Parkside.”

So metal. Watch Juice Pro Wrestling podcast’s new episode, featuring professor Ed Luce, who talks comics, teaching, his Ignatz-nominated comics series Wuvable Oaf, and his love of heavy metal.

Water works. Pre-register to attend a free online conversation with the artists of Water, an exhibit of contemporary art on view at Vesterheim National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School. The April 24 event features alum Pamela Fingado (BFA Interdisciplinary 1981), whose multimedia contribution uses water as a metaphor for emotional spirit.

End-of-semester stories. Don’t miss our Instagram Live stories—from Ann Li’s performance, The Object is Present, to short conversations between graduating BFA students and classmate Daniela Segovia.

Installation view of a large-scale watercolor painting. In this triptych, crowds run toward the foreground with ominous skies in the background.

Wendy Liang, 2020, 2021. Watercolor on paper.

April 12

~IRL~ exhibitions (yes, yes, you read that right). The 2021 MFA Showcase exhibition is now open for in-person visits at 360 Kansas Street. Through April 29, explore a new exhibition featuring a selection of work by 16 emerging artists from California College of the Arts’ graduate program in fine arts. CCA’s entire 25-student MFA graduating class will showcase their work online beginning Monday, May 10.

And opening May 9 at the CCA Wattis Institute, California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice (CURP) presents Contact Traces, an exhibition considering the urgency and significance of care. Artists Derya Akay, Lenka Clayton, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ilana Harris-Babou, and Jenny Kendler offer complementary and divergent positions on the messy processes of caregiving—especially topical as we work toward a post-pandemic world. This exhibition is curated by the CURP class of 2021: Leandra Burnett, Katherine Jemima Hamilton, Shaelyn Hanes, Youyou Ma, and Emily Markert.

Spinning local history. The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Writing and Literature Associate Professor Jasmin Darznik about her newly released historical novel The Bohemians, a coming-of-age story about photographer Dorothea Lange set in 1920s San Francisco. Darznik animates free-spirited visionaries like Lang, Maynard Dixon, Imogen Cunningham, and others, who created a vibrant hub in the city’s North Beach neighborhood. “The novel is elegiac in a way, but it’s also a celebration of the city’s artistic spirit. Looking back gives us an opportunity to think how we can bring that spirit back because it’s been such a vital part of our history and who we are,” she says.

High-tech partnership. We’re excited to announce the Architecture division’s new Academic Alliance with Autodesk Technology Centers. Beginning in spring 2021, students have the opportunity to work within the company’s workshops and studios under the supervision of CCA’s Architectural Ecologies Lab (AEL) and the Digital Craft Lab (DCL) lab directors. This Alliance further cements Autodesk Technology Centers’ ongoing work with CCA Architecture. Since 2014, Autodesk Technology Centers have hosted CCA design research ranging from the AEL Buoyant Ecologies Float Lab breakwater project to the Presidio Culvert Reef oyster restoration project.

Monuments on Ohlone land. Oakland artist Katie Dorame (MFA Painting/Drawing 2011) pays homage to the Ohlone people through illustrated monuments, displayed as posters in Muni shelters along Market Street. “I made these future, imagined monuments to honor Native Californians and their contributions to everything around us,” says Dorame, a member of the Gabrielino-Tongva tribe.

Architectural team honored for residential design. Robert Wallis (BArch 1997) and his team at Wallis Design Studio Architects in Nevada County were recently recognized by Home Builder Digest for being among the best residential architects in the outer Sacramento metro region. The prestigious acknowledgment — coming from colleagues in a highly competitive field — came as a pleasant surprise to Wallis, who had no idea the publication was reviewing his work.

Why don't we live together? Researchers (and CCA faculty) Neeraj Bhatia and Antje Steinmuller are studying co-living from the ground up in San Francisco’s hot realty market. They bring an international perspective to their Urban Works Agency, based here at CCA, as they look to alternative housing solutions, such as "share houses" across Asia, resident-generated building groups in Germany, and communal living in Northern California.

Oscar-nominated connections. At the upcoming Academy Awards on April 25, join Oakland writer Samuel Sattin (MFA Comics 2015) in rooting for the animated film WolfWalkers, which is nominated in the Best Animated Feature category. The material has a personal connection for Sattin, who adapted the story into a graphic novel—using writing skills honed here in the Bay Area to reach audiences worldwide. “It really came together as its own thing, rather than as a slapdash collage of images from the film, which would have been beautiful but wouldn’t have worked as a comic,” Sattin said of the adaptation.

Musical futurism. Designing The Future of Music, a program founded by Graphic Design alum Lawrence Azerrad, facilitates conversations and creative decisions across disciplines of design within the sphere of music. A new virtual exhibition explores this project, which is rooted in an international collaboration between students from CCA and the Royal Academy of Art’s Global Innovation Design program in summer 2020.

Sage advice on “adulting.” In our alum spotlight, bestselling author and writer Julie Lythcott-Haims discusses her new guide for adults of all ages. Because, as it turns out, adulting is hard. Even for adults.

April 5

New Chimeras! CCA’s newest offers of admission went out April 1. Welcome to CCA, new admits! Congratulations. 🎉 We can’t wait to create and change the world with you. ‘Gram us @cacollegeofarts once you’ve accepted your offer so we celebrate together.

Graphic novels that illuminate. Comics Assistant Professor Thi Bui’s illustrated memoir—part autobiography, part immigrant tale—The Best We Could Do, chronicles family life before and after the Vietnam War. The Washington Post recently included it in its reading list of graphic novels that illuminate anti-Asian racism through personal experience.

In-depth conversations. Ocula magazine’s April issue featured an edited version of the Wattis Institute’s February conversation between Cecilia Vicuña and Daniel Borzutzky. The original conversation was part of the Wattis’s year-long research season, Cecilia Vicuña is on our mind, which uses Vicuña’s work as a lens to think about our contemporary moment.

Fighting the good fight. During Comic-Con International’s WonderCon@Home2021 virtual event, Associate Professor Justin Hall moderated a panel of queer comics creators who expolore the form as a source of social power and community. Their discussion, titled LGBTQ+ Comics and Social Activism, is now available online.

Small scale, big impact. Alum Elisheva Biernoff (MFA Painting/Drawing 2009) has a new exhibition on view this month at San Francisco’s Fraenkel Gallery. Elisheva Biernoff: Starting from Wrong presents 12 hyper realistic paintings that are re-creations of vintage snapshots and true to the small size of standard Polaroids. “The paintings capture casual, even banal moments—people on road trips and beach vacations squinting into the sun, and oddly cropped landscapes—yet they take on a deeper gravitas through Biernoff’s scrupulous sustained attention,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle.

Officially official 🇺🇸. CCA was recently recognized as a Voter Friendly Campus by the Campus Vote Project and NASPA, the professional association for student affairs administrators in higher education. CCA was one of just two art and design colleges out of 235 schools in the U.S. to meet the rigorous criteria to be named a Voter Friendly Campus this year. A huge thank you to the students, faculty, and staff comprising Creative Citizens in Action (CCA@CCA), which led the Voter Friendly Campus Initiative.

Smithsonian shout-out. Fiber artist and alum Kay Sekimachi (Textiles 1955) was named in Smithsonian magazine’s list of “Five Women Changemakers in American Art,” which told her story of first being introduced to the weaving room on campus: “Fascinated by the sight of the loomers at work, Sekimachi immediately decided to spend all of her savings on a loom. She would soon push the limits of what weaving could produce, creating sculptural forms out of textiles and ultimately resurrecting the medium as a form of art. Sekimachi’s incredible ingenuity behind the loom earned her the respected title of the ‘weaver’s weaver.’ ”

In the know. Alum Lauren O’Connell (MA Curatorial Practice 2014) made the Phoenix New Times’ list of 15 women curators to know in Arizona. The newspaper noted that “O’Connell’s curatorial practice focuses on promoting inclusion through elevating under-recognized histories and facilitating new artworks. She has worked on retrospective exhibits on modern and contemporary artists, and is currently working on a retrospective and catalog about painter Dorothy Fratt.”

Glass class. The glassblowing of alum Conrad Williams (BFA Individualized Studies 2004), who also studied with world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly early in his career, was featured in Naples Florida Weekly for his multifaceted community practice.

Blockchain bust. Assistant Professor Christine Tien Wang spoke with How Stuff Works about her critique—informed by conceptual artist and philosopher Adrian Piper’s 1993 essay The Logic of Modernism—of the NFT phenomenon and its impact (or lack thereof) on the traditional business of art.

Mystery man. Numéro magazine featured the life story of alum John McCracken (BFA Painting 1962) and how his work took a decisive turn in the late sixties when he designed objects resembling colored boards placed against a wall. He’s now famous for the approach: the late McCracken, you may remember, was hot gossip last fall when he was rumored to be behind that mysterious monolith in Utah.

March 2021

March 29

Radio Coyote. On April 1, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts’ Capp Street Artist-in-Residence Raven Chacon launches Radio Coyote, a 24/7 online and FM radio station with a range of compelling programming, including music, archival lectures and recordings, interviews, and improvisational content. Save the station now and listen in through June 30!

Spring reading. History of Art and Visual Culture Assistant Professor Monica Bravo’s first book, Greater American Camera: Making Modernism in Mexico, will be published by Yale University Press in June, with support from the Terra and Wyeth Foundations for American Art. In her book, Bravo studies work by four modernist photographers who traveled from the U.S. to Mexico during the interwar period and examines the vital role exchanges between these expatriates and their Mexican contemporaries played in forging a new photographic style.

Future plans. Jamie Rose Valera (BA History of Art and Visual Culture 2021) was accepted into Boston University’s graduate History of Art and Architecture program and will start this fall. Her recent research interests span between the 19th and 21st centuries in the West, and she investigates the notion of art as archive. She’s been recognized through notable awards such as the R.A. Brown Memorial Scholarship and a CCA All-College Honors Award. Congratulations, Jamie!

Exploring urgent liminal states. Professor Caroline Landau re-created a Newfoundland iceberg out of glass, a process documented by videographer Oliver Rye for the Glass Meet the Future Film Festival, happening now through April 4. Landau’s piece illustrates the condition of the melting North. “The glass vessel can both mimic the ice and contain the absence of the liquid lost,” she says. “This work explores liminal states of material existence, the vulnerable line between comfort and discomfort, and the delicate space between fragility and strength.”

New Diedrick. Alum Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014) shares with VMan his conceptual process and how his powerful textile practice is often inspired by cultural and personal historical events. His new exhibit at Jack Shainman Gallery, blessed are the mosquitoes, opens June 24.

Remembering a rarity. Alum Terry St. John (MFA Painting 1966), who recently passed away at age 86, was remembered fondly in the San Francisco Chronicle. “St. John—who was prone to peeling the paint off a canvas and starting over, eliminating months of work if he did not like what he saw—was a legendary plein air painter… He was the rare artist and art scholar who held the three most important art jobs at the same time: painter, educator and museum curator.”

Thrower throwback. A new book titled Edith Heath: Philosophies examines the work of the visionary San Francisco ceramicist (and CCA professor emeritus) and her lasting impact on the form. The tome features a historical timeline, essays, in-depth commentary, and images from Heath’s life—including a photo, as seen in a Dwell magazine article about the book, of Heath examining a clay-rich wall of earth with her ceramics class at CCA (at the time, California College of Arts and Crafts) in the mid-1950s.

People are talking. CCA was listed as a desirable candidate to set up a satellite site at the Time Century Jewelry Center in downtown Miami. It’s an honor just to be name-dropped. ✨

March 22

Paving the way for more Black artists. Glass student Jason McDonald—who was recently featured in the second season of Blown Away on Netflix—spoke to Bay City News reporter Gina Gotsill about using his craft to study identity, racism, and representation. “I live in a culture that doesn’t value brown skin,” McDonald says. “When you have elected officials that are openly racist, there are issues you need to talk about openly. I choose to talk about my experience as a Black man in a racist nation. It has been really powerful to be unapologetically Black.”

The article also gave a nod to CCA student Katie Johnson, who shot and edited the audition video that McDonald sent to Netflix, as well as Nate Watson, CCA faculty and executive director of San Francisco’s Public Glass, which Watson opened to CCA students after campus closed during the pandemic.

Finding a home, giving others a voice. “Art is my home,” says alum Omid Mokri (BFA Illustration 1985), a contemporary Iranian artist living in San Francisco. Mokri was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Datebook feature on “10 artists who shed light on mass incarceration.” His solo show at Huma House in Los Angeles opens in April.

Going to the max. Alum Carmen René Smith (BArch 2011) spoke with House and Home about the power of maximalism and her portfolio of work as principal designer for Aquilo Interiors, which the publication calls “as captivating as it is rule-breaking.”

A spirit of disruption. Adjunct Professor Cathy Lu’s sculpture installation Customs Declaration, made of ceramic fruit and steel cable net, is featured in San Francisco Art Institute's 150th anniversary show. The exhibition, titled A Spirit of Disruption, was curated by Leila Weefur and Margaret Tedesco, who told Hyperallergic, “This exhibition is focusing on celebrating the history of the institution and prioritizing untold stories from those who haven’t historically been included or made visible.”

Robust storytelling. After studying graphic design at CCA, alum Lindsay Daniels (BFA Graphic Design 2013) gravitated toward filmmaking “because I didn’t feel that print gave me enough room to tell the kinds of stories I wanted to tell,” she says. “For me, it’s about creating a more robust, compelling experience. Film lets me connect with people on a more emotional level.” She’ll now bring that vision to FANCY, the film company recently announced.

A near-blank canvas for the future. Adjunct Professor Forest Young, who taught CCA’s inaugural MFA course in Future Design, spoke with AIGA’s Eye on Design about radically redesigning a more inclusive future. He also shared his own sort of silver lining of last year: “Had I not experienced 2020, I would still be living in Harlem, recovering from crisscrossing the country the last few years, operating in auto-pilot. I would be looking for a kind of life resolution from conventional avenues and channels. I would not have been given this near-blank canvas to reimagine what a life could be.”

New comics. Introducing: Electric Squeak! This publication debuting from CCA’s MFA in Comics program will be a biannual digital must-read, featuring work by the current Comics cohort. We can’t wait. :)

Doing the work. Fashion Design Chair Lynda Grose spoke with Vogue about the continued challenge of creating a standard of end-to-end sustainability in fashion. “The business system is utterly dependent upon exponential growth and incremental product improvements cannot keep pace with this growth,” she says in critique of sustainability certifications.

Cheese graters (and other ceramics tools). While some ceramics tools are ancient, others are ready and waiting in unexpected places—like your kitchen cabinet. Three makers from the CCA Ceramics program share their favorite tools and why they love them, starring selections from Studio Operations Manager Craig Petey, Assistant Professor Kari Marboe, and Professor Arthur Gonzalez.

Songs that move us. Associate Professor Bryan Keith Thomas shares a song that “expresses his unshakeable faith and the confidence he feels in the souls of other Black folk,” in a recent KALW My Mixtape spotlight.

Artist & curator bonds 🌟 A new exhibition at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art introduces new work by Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014), curated by Lauren O’Connell (MA Curatorial Practice 2014). The pair of alumni discuss working together for the exhibition, the relationship between fine artists and curators, and the various stars that aligned for them while attending CCA.

March 15

New to stream. 🎥 Students, faculty, and alumni reflect on CCA’s Master of Advanced Architectural Design program, a STEM-designated, post-professional degree for advanced students and mid-career architects.

Grammy Gold. Congratulations to our newest CCA-affiliated Grammy award winners: CCA Film Professor Rob Epstein and alum Lawrence Azerrad (Graphic Design 1995).

Epstein took home a 2021 Grammy in Best Music Film for the documentary Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, which examines the iconic singer’s life and career—from her folk-pop start in the 1960s to a present-day sojourn in her ancestral hometown in Mexico to be with family. This is Epstein’s first Grammy Award. As for Ronstadt? She’s won 10.

And Kudos to Azerrad, whose inside-the-box thinking won him a second Grammy in the category of Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package. The art director and graphic designer co-created an interactive pop-up book to bring Wilco’s album Ode to Joy to life. Azerrad is no stranger to musical collaborations: His Los Angeles-based firm LAD Design regularly partners with cultural institutions, brands, and musicians.

Self-direction. Our newest alum feature spotlights director Shane T. Watson (MFA Film 2017). “There’s a sense of me infused in every piece of anything I write because I write what I know, and what I know is myself,” says the former Student Oscar nominee. Read about what he’s working on now, his advice for CCA students, co-founding the Black X Film Festival, and more.

High-profile appointment. Xiaoyu Weng (MA Curatorial Practice 2009) makes a highly-anticipated move from the Guggenheim Museum to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). Taking the helm of the AGO’s modern and contemporary art department, Weng is considering what it means to “lead a global discourse in contemporary art” and how exhibitions can “bring in multiple perspectives and look at history differently.”

A legacy of painting. CCA Painting Chair Linda Geary received a second Pollock-Krasner grant, which advances the work of visual artists in memory of the late, great painter Lee Krasner.

Predictions on mental health and work. For the Wall Street Journal, Julie Lythcott-Haims (MFA Writing 2016) and other experts weigh in on mental health support in the workplace post-pandemic. “In five to 10 years, I think every employer will have to offer resources to support folks’ mental health,” says Lythcott-Haims. “Millennials and Gen Z are going to demand it.”

Hyperallergic has the scoop on the newly-formed Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), San Diego, directed by alum Andrew Ütt (BFA Individualized Studies 2005). Merging the San Diego Art Institute and the Lux Art Institute, the ICA’s mission is to “be everywhere and for everyone,” says Ütt, presenting a year of thematic programming responding to the environment and honoring San Diego’s status as a border town with a rich Latinx history. The ICA opens August 21.

March 8

Startup support. DMBA student Ben Lang and his company Native Chats, a multilingual messaging platform with real-time translation, have been selected to join the first nationwide cohort of Google for Startups Founders Academy for Black, Latinx, and military veteran founders. The highly selective, six-month program is designed to help underrepresented founders generate revenue and obtain investment capital for their high-potential startups.

Decolonization in action. Read Senior Adjunct Professor William Littman’s writeup for PLATFORM about how the CCA Architecture division’s efforts to decolonize architecture practice manifested in his history of architecture and history of interiors courses last semester, including shifting “away from a primary focus on major styles and ‘great’ architects to a course that was more diverse, global, and incorporated both high-style and ordinary buildings.”

Love and optimism. Alum Chelsea Wong (BFA Printmaking 2010) spoke with It’s Nice That about her recent work with watercolors and acrylics, and her motivation for creating positive and diverse art in response to a difficult year. “I want people to feel strong and happy,” she says. “As a figurative painter it’s important for me to include diversity in my paintings. I grew up in a multi-racial and ethnically merged family. As a child, I didn’t see many Asian role models in the media.”

Advice on ~adulting~ Alum Julie Lythcott-Haims (MFA Writing 2016) is the author of the New York Times bestselling book How to Raise an Adult and her award-winning memoir Real American. Next up: the recently announced Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, set to release in April. The book’s goal is to “inspire younger readers to dig deep in seeking their own personal and professional happiness.”

Exploring histories. Aperture Foundation, in collaboration with the photography program at Parsons School of Design at The New School, announced it will present an artist talk on May 6 with CCA alum Dionne Lee (MFA Fine Arts 2017). Lee will discuss her practice and the complex topics addressed in her work. “I’m interested in the history of landscape photography and history, and authorship,” Lee says, “and who has historically captured these types of images.”

Going home. Alum Tajo McBurnie (BFA Painting & Drawing 2019) painted a vibrant mural on a home in the Tiny House Empowerment Village. This project in Oakland operates as a transitional housing center, providing 26 tiny homes for unhoused youth.

An in-depth discussion. The Comics Journal featured a conversation between Comics Adjunct Professor GB Tran and History of Art and Visual Culture Associate Professor Jeanette Roan. They discuss Tran’s journey from creating comics as a kid to becoming an award-winning artist as an adult. Tran’s graphic memoir Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey was nominated for an Eisner for Best Reality-Based Work and made Time Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Graphic Memoirs of all Time.” Of determining the scope for the 2011 book, Tran says, “I’m trying to tell the smallest story possible, and the smallest story in Vietnamerica is my parents’ journey, and the perspective of me learning about it.”

Editors unite! Join the collective movement to close the online information gap about gender, race, feminism, and the arts during two local Art+Feminism Edit-a-Thons happening this week: SFMOMA on March 9, from 4-8 pm PT, and UC Berkeley on March 10, 1-5 pm PT. Past A+F edit-a-thon activists have created and improved more than 84,000 articles on Wikipedia and other sister projects.

March 1

Hall of Fame status. ✨IwamotoScott Architecture, the architecture and design firm of Professor Craig Scott and Lisa Iwamoto, is being inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame, a prestigious honor from Interior Design magazine that “recognizes the individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth and prominence of the design industry.”

Big gig. Recent alum Carl Edward Mongan (BFA Animation 2020) has been selected to join the new class of Nickelodeon’s annual Writing and Artist Programs. On the Storyboard Track, Mongan will work with Nickelodeon for six months, learning from the studio’s lead artists and working on an animated series in various stages of production. Alumni of the Nickelodeon programs have gone on to work at Nickelodeon and other various networks, including HBO, DreamWorks, Netflix, Disney+, PBS, Cartoon Network, and more.

Superdoom signing. Creative group Superdoom has signed alum Heidi Berg (BFA Graphic Design 2008) as a director for its U.S. commercial production. “Just before completing their degree,” writes Creative Cow, “they were exposed to the intersection of graphic design and film present in title sequences, and were hooked.” Berg has created mind-melding cinematic narratives for brands and entertainment properties like Netflix, BMX, and Nike, and they’ve earned two Emmy nominations for their work on the title sequences for The Politician and The Alienist.

Alumni connections. Alumni Woody de Othello (MFA Fine Arts 2017) and Jessica Silverman (MA Curatorial Practice 2007) have teamed up to show de Othello’s show-stopping work at Art Basel Miami Beach two years running. San Francisco Chronicle wrote about how the dynamic duo met at CCA: “She spotted his work at a student open-studio and was immediately enthralled, and within a year she had signed him and given him his own solo show at [her] San Francisco gallery.”

New work, new ideas. Alum Sara Ahli’s (BFA Fashion Design 2015) sculptures, on view now in a new show at Foundry in downtown Dubai, “were created specifically for the exhibition, produced in her studio over the past two weeks,” writes the National News. Called Balloon Stacks, they “were made by filling balloons with plaster and then compressing them in a vacuum bag or with panels. After seeing the resulting shapes, she was reminded of body parts and skin texture, which led her to paint some of the works in flesh and blood colours.”

Reading recommendations. InsideHook’s list of seven ways to pay tribute to the late Lawrence Ferlinghetti, legendary leader of the Beat Generation, included “Buying more poetry,” specifically the collection Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues by distinguished professor Ishmael Reed.

Life on canvas. Alum M. Louise Stanley (BFA Painting 1967, MFA Painting 1969) “captures the imagination and confronts social issues through a humorous storytelling style of art that has made her a Bay Area legend for half a century,” writes Bohemian. MarinMOCA is celebrating Stanley’s 50 years of work in a new retrospective exhibition M. Louise Stanley: No Regrets, on view by appointment now through April 18.

CCA Pre-College apps are open! High school makers can make friendships and gain new skills at CCA this summer, much like alumni Crystal Morey (BFA Ceramics 2006), Claire Taggart​ (BFA Painting/Drawing 2006), and Shannon Danielle Taylor (BFA Illustration 2006), who forged practices and friendships that will last a lifetime thanks to Pre-College.

A space for young artists. Artist James Koskinas spoke with Art Business News about attending art classes at CCA while he was in high school and how the courses helped launch his decades-long art practice.

A special shoutout. The Artian, “a transdisciplinary training company,” spotlighted CCA’s DMBA program in its recent editorial about how art can help bridge the management gap: CCA “offers an MBA program, with the belief that, as an arts school, they are uniquely positioned to teach innovation through questioning, listening, and focusing on human needs in technology.” We couldn’t agree more. ;)

February 2021

February 22

Making history. On the 50th anniversary of Critical Ethnic Studies, a program that grew out of the longest student strike in U.S. history, we mark Black History Month—and it’s different this year. “For a lot of people, among them people who identify as Black, the filters are coming off,” says Jacqueline Francis, chair of Visual and Critical Studies.

New exhibition. Dean of Humanities & Sciences Tina Takemoto spoke with SF/Arts about their recent experiential film about Margaret Chung, the first American-born Chinese female physician. The film is now on display at the Chinese Culture Center alongside artistic work from 10 other LGBTQ+ artists from the Asian diaspora. The new exhibition, WOMEN我們: From Her to Here, aims to explore agency and belonging in queer and feminist communities.

A shocking show. For her site-specific exhibition Future Shock, Assistant Professor Sam Vernon breathes total disruption into MiM Gallery—her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. Future Shock borrows its title from the 1970 international bestseller by futurists Alvin Toffler and Adelaide Farrell, which defined “future shock” most simply as “too much change in too short a period of time.” <raises hand>

An international first. The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga presents, for the first time in Spain, After The Gold Rush, by CCA alum and artist Jules de Balincourt (BFA Ceramics & Painting 1998) and curated by Helena Juncosa. The exhibition, open to the public between March 12 and May 23, presents more than 40 paintings of various formats between 2010 to 2020, covering the last decade of his artistic production.

Neighborhood notes. In the latest updates from Mission Local, Painting & Drawing student Kennedy Morgan gets a shoutout for their delicate charcoal and graphite drawings, which were on view in a three-person exhibition, Ox, Child, & the River, at San Francisco’s Delaplane gallery. Plus, our campus neighbor the David Ireland House is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and a new artist in residence, David Wilson, is creating a series of drawing exercises and a map to discover sites of neighborhood intervention.

Urgent fashion activism. A wave of journalists, fashion designers, and academics call for President Joe Biden to appoint a “fashion czar.” Allbirds, Mara Hoffman, and more have signed on, including scholars and sustainable fashion experts like Lynda Grose, chair of CCA Fashion Design. Signatories of the fashion czar request believe the move would signal a commitment to humane labor and environmentally sound practices, “as well as a recognition of the role of fashion as a driver of the U.S. economy.”

Walls as active narratives. Alum Nigel Sussman’s (BFA Illustration 2005) complex, graphic murals are hard to miss. As East Bay pedestrians can confirm, his works encourage engagement, drawing the viewer in with intricate details and interactions between characters and objects, surrounded by colorful movement and meandering pathways. Walls become active narratives that render the attentive viewer a gamer in Sussman’s large-scale play. Don’t miss this 48 Hills feature on how Sussman “delights East Bay pedestrians with Escher-like worlds.

Better education because of the pandemic?Wired interviewed half a dozen professors at the forefront of design, art, and creative technologies—including CCA professors Forest Young and christopher hamamoto—to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic “holds these keys to a better education.”

Expressions of grief. CCA Wattis Institute Curator and Head of Programs Kim Nguyen commissioned artist Divya Mehra to turn their drawings cataloging the madness and sadness of the COVID-19 pandemic into postcards. Of the work, called The End of You, the New York Times writes, “The key players are people of color in service jobs; they’re the only ones who see the end of the world. In the postcard that arrived in my mailbox recently, a waiter distracted by the distant mushroom cloud spills wine as his customer barks, ‘A little HELP!’”

Outdoor sculpture. Golden Bars, a new exhibition of outdoor sculpture works by Los Angeles-based artist and alum Alika Cooper (BFA Painting/Drawing 2002 and MFA Painting/Drawing 2006), was recently featured in Contemporary Art Daily. “For the exhibition, four bronze cages and one neon sculpture dutifully hang on delicate stands. Assembled from fabric fringe and remnants of discarded material, the works duplicate classical decorative motifs embodying a simple exteriorization; a restrained expression or perhaps tension of a hidden inner life.”

Alum spotlight: Social impact designer Megan Moyer. After launching the Design & Innovation team at Sutter Health—one of the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital systems—Megan Moyer (MBA Design Strategy 2015) now uses design strategy to help reimagine care in the 21st century with The Holding Co., a collaboration between IDEO and Melinda Gates’s Pivotal Ventures.

Alum spotlight: Choreographer and filmmaker Kat Cole. Kat Cole (MFA Film 2017) spun a background in dance, film, and arts administration into a dynamic practice that spans music videos to film festivals. She’s currently co-directing UP ON HIGH, a short film series featuring drag artists and contemporary dance in an exploration of queer legacy, and organizing the 7th annual Tiny Dance Film Festival, a collection of dance films that prioritizes works by marginalized communities.

February 15

CCA Scholarship Exhibition. Now online! → Explore the talent of this year’s CCA scholarship recipients studying art, design, architecture, and writing. Congratulations to all our student recipients and an enormous thank you to the hundreds of donors who make scholarships possible at CCA. ❤

“Art still lives in our hearts.” Interaction Design student Deyi Robin Zhao created two ox sculptures to help San Francisco celebrate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Ox. Her sculpture in Sacramento Plaza is a modern take on traditional blue and white porcelain motifs; the second, in Portsmouth Square, channels springtime, strength, and peace.

“Even though I wish we could have the real parade, the ox project really makes me happy,” Zhao says. “We still want to pass the love for our community and tell our community that even though we’re in this hard pandemic year, we’re still here for everybody and art still lives in our hearts with these oxen.”

Love the loom. Coming soon to the Smithsonian American Art Museum: an exhibition of work featuring fiber artist and CCA alum Kay Sekimachi (Textiles 1955), who says she fell in love with the loom while attending CCA. “There’s something very soothing about weaving,” she says, “sitting at the loom and watching something grow.”

Emily wins! “I believe in making information beautiful and accessible,” says Emily Vander Mey, a CCA Interaction Design student who was recently named a winner in the IxDA Student Design Charette. This year’s SDC challenge asked students to explore the potential for private data to enhance global health and well-being.

Legacy building. As the LGBTQ+ film festival Frameline approaches its 45th anniversary, alum Allegra Madsen (MA Curatorial Practice 2007) has been announced as its new director of programming. “I’m excited to be part of the legacy of Frameline and to bring my BIPOC lens to the LGBTQ+ community,” Madsen says.

Future healing. As soon as it’s safe to open, SFMOMA invites visitors to enjoy Conjuro para la sanacion de nuestro futura, a new mural by alum Liz Hernandez (BFA Industrial Design 2015) on the museum’s third-floor landing. “Hernandez speaks to viewers clearly and lovingly in words and images that are powerful in their size and simplicity,” Juxtapoz magazine writes. “She hopes ‘they find a symbol or sentence that really gives them comfort and hope. I want people to feel powerful.’”

Room to grow. “Over 90 percent of the world’s population is breathing polluted air, which causes diseases like asthma and cancer,” says Associate Professor Negar Kalantar in an interview with To help counter these adverse health effects, Kalantar and the team at the tech startup CREO have designed AirIQ, a soilless hydroponic system, as well as other products for plants that use AI, machine learning, and 3D printing to develop modular and autonomous green living systems.

New on SCAFFOLD. Last fall, students in professors Irene Cheng and James Graham’s Architectural Theory course selected images on the theme of “Environment” or “Air” to use as launchpads for short speculative fiction about architecture or urbanism of the future. The assignment helped students practice theory by immersing the reader in a moment or encounter that suggests something specific and meaningful about that future. SCAFFOLD now features five of these stories, as well as the images that inspired them.

February 8

Reading recommendations. The San Francisco Chronicle asked Bay Area authors to recommend books to read this Black History Month, including Writing & Literature Associate Professor Faith Adiele, who “noted that 2020 was a fantastic year for Black literature.” Her selection? Claudia Rankine’s Just Us: An American Conversation, which Adiele says “marries essay, poetry, photographs, oral conversation, research and documents to interrogate the American psyche.”

Event recommendations. Graduate Visual & Critical Studies Chair Jacqueline Francis’s four-part course at MoAD, titled Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America, was included in Architectural Digest’s shortlist of don’t-miss design events happening virtually this month.

Gen Z energy. In an article about 14-year-old Bay Area artist Tyler Gordon, CCA’s Director of Exhibitions and Public Programming Jaime Austin complimented the Gen Z breakout artist. “It’s less common for people at that age to have their own style [like] they do and follow through so consistently,” she says.

Weekend plans. Writing & Literature Professor Tom Barbash—novelist and author of two books about 9/11—will join Vendela Vida, author and founding editor of The Believer magazine, in conversation on February 13 during a free, virtual event.

Great advice. Alum Elizabeth Brunner (BFA Fashion Design 2007) was interviewed for Authority Magazine’s Female Disruptors series about how she started two fashion-forward clothing lines and her most valuable advice to young entrepreneurs.

Design differences. Nike designer and CCA alum Dustin O. Canalin (BFA Graphic Design) designed the Golden State Warriors’ record-selling “The Town” jersey, which was based on the civic Oak tree illustration integral to his experience growing up in Oakland. In contrast, Canalin calls the basketball team’s new “Oakland Forever” jersey insincere.

Research presentation. Architecture Associate Professor Irene Cheng recently spoke at SPUR about the correlation between zoning and segregation, specifically the racist roots of single-family zoning. “Home equity is still a prime source of wealth and a huge factor in the racial wealth gap,” Cheng said.

CCA Maker’s Commons. While we wait for it to be safe to return to campus, studio managers and faculty—along with a small but ambitious group of work-study students—have been hard at work building CCA Maker’s Commons, a creative online space for the entire CCA community. Have you joined yet?

Catching up. Alum Kristine Yuen (MDes Interaction Design 2016) spoke with CCA about her design leadership career at LinkedIn. “I am really proud of the emphasis of social impact in our design work at CCA,” Yuen says. “As designers, we have a huge responsibility to create diverse, inclusive, accessible, and trustworthy products in the tech industry. It’s important to design with humanity and ethics in mind.”

February 1

Poetry in painting. Alum Nicole Hayden (MFA Painting & Drawing 2003) painted a mural of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman on San Francisco’s Page and Laguna streets. The San Francisco Zen Center, located across the street from the mural’s wall, commissioned the work, which channels the powerful address Gorman gave at President Joe Biden’s inauguration earlier this month.

Bringing Dead to life. Indie publisher Cast Iron Books announced it will print volume one of the acclaimed webcomic Hans Vogel is Dead by alum Sierra Barnes (MFA Comics 2019). Until then, read the online comic, an anti-fascist fairytale with elements of history fantasy that Barnes launched in 2015.

An ongoing series goes big. ASU Art Museum presents Body/Magic: Liz Cohen, an exhibition showcasing never-before-seen video, photographs, performance, and ephemera from the Bodywork series by alum Liz Cohen (MFA Photography 2000). For the original Bodywork series, Cohen merged two cars into one customized lowrider and transformed her body to become a bikini model for the car. This ongoing project examines the artist’s identity, as well as femininity and the female form.

A different view of publishing. Check out Graphic Design faculty Jon Sueda and chris hamamoto’s project On Publishing: Graphic Designers Who Publish. This digital experience presents Q+A interviews with designers and small publishers. Readers can explore the publication virtually or click “Make Book,” an option that lets you select which interviews to print on your own, thereby making you the publisher.

Interrogating boundaries with Design. Don’t miss these five examples from MFA Design that demonstrate how collaborative, multidisciplinary design can unlock new possibilities in unlikely places. Then explore the outer realm with former DMBA Associate Chair Susan Worthman as she offers some guiding wisdom for navigating change and uncertainty.

Remembering Diane di Prima. LA Review of Books honored the late Diane de Prima by republishing a 2013 interview with the legendary Bay Area writer (who used to teach at CCA) in which she discussed writing, life, the writing life, and more topics that seem even more relevant in 2021.

Distinctive dwellings. Alumni Melissa Szpik Serrao (BArch 1996) and Jay Serrao (BArch 1995) met as students at CCA and founded their own design and architectural firm in 1998. Comstock’s magazine featured the couple’s “distinctive dwelling” in a new article about architects who use the modernist template to design their own homes. “Design is one of those things for us that is an ongoing effort,” Serrao says.

January 2021

January 25

“Languaging” art and design. Meet Allison Yasukawa, CCA’s new director of multilingual art and design pedagogy. Yasukawa finds similarities between teaching art, teaching a language, and learning how to talk about both. “As a little bit of a troublemaker,” she says in our latest Q+A, “in my art practice I like to look at those points where people are pushing back against expected roles and conventional systems—this kind of pushback happens all the time, but I think it’s often ignored or undervalued.”

Artistic binge-watching. Save season two of Blown Away to your Netflix queue! CCA student Jason McDonald is a contestant on the popular glassblowing competition show. According to his show bio, McDonald “is very proud to be a Black glassblower. He hopes to inspire more artists who look like him, and he’s ready to show off his work.”

Residency opportunity. Applications are open for the Ali Youssefi Project Artist in Residency (deadline is February 16). The current artist in residence of the Sacramento space is alum Veronica Jackson (MA Visual & Critical Studies 2016), whose multidisciplinary, conceptual visual art practice “stems from the position of a Black woman marking space within a landscape that consistently overlooks and devalues her. Jackson’s oeuvre is text-based, autobiographical, and critically elucidates the visualization of gender and race in America, with a special focus on the portrayal, perception, and legacy of Black women in popular media both past and present.”

Trying a new medium. Alum Maximilian Uriarte (BFA Animation 2013), creator of the Marine Corps-themed comic strip Terminal Lance, recently released a new 3D-animated short film about two Marines titled Frag Out, described as “part Beavis and Butt-Head, part Looney Tunes.”

Sew calming. Fashion Design Assistant Professor Greg Climer spoke with SFGate about the therapeutic benefits of working with fiber and thread—as evidenced by the rising interest in embroidery and needlecraft during the pandemic. “It’s a different kind of shutting off your brain,” Climer says. “It’s shutting down the part of my brain that’s worrying, that’s overanalyzing, but it’s very meditative at the same time. As opposed to pushing pause, it’s meditating.”

Virtual group gallery show. Alumni Keyvan Shovir (MFA Fine Arts 2018) and Shaghayegh Cyrous (MFA Fine Arts 2017) are featured artists in When People Decide To End Themselves, a virtual exhibition curated by Project 13.

Billboards for accountability. Alum Michele Pred’s (BFA Interdisciplinary Fine Arts 1990) billboard design in response to the January 6 attack on the Capitol aims to demand accountability now from “politicians that inspired and supported the attack,” according to the project’s Kickstarter page. After receiving full funding for the first billboard, which will go up near Senator Josh Hawley’s office in Saint Louis, Pred is now trying to raise an additional $4,000 to place a second billboard in Washington, DC.

Accessible artmaking for all. Registration for CCA Extension courses is now open! These noncredit, online classes offer professional, intellectual, and creative development for adults. This semester features synchronous and asynchronous options that dive into subjects such as industrial design, watermedia painting, sustainable fashion, and more.

January 18

A generous grant. CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is one of the recipients of the 2020 VIA Grantee Relief Fund, which is awarding a record-breaking total of $1.5 million in grants to artists, collectives, and institutions like the Wattis.

Saving the birds ✅ The colony of rhinoceros auklets (a burrowing seabird closely related to the puffin) on Año Nuevo Island hadn’t grown significantly since the mid-1990s. They were struggling to fledge their chicks because of soil erosion, predation, and trampling by sea lions. So in 2010, researchers from Oikonos, a nonprofit coastal research group, and CCA students and faculty teamed up to prototype and create ceramic nesting habitats for the auklet. The restoration has officially been deemed a success: “Last year, some 600 rhino auklets nested on the island, a 129% increase since the project began,” writes the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Oikonos reports that hundreds of seabirds have raised their chicks in ceramic nests that CCA students help design.

New role. MAK Center for Art and Architecture recently appointed its new director: Jia Yi Gu, visiting faculty in the graduate Architecture program. “She will take on directorial and curatorial responsibilities with her wide-ranging expertise in architectural curation, history, research, and design leadership,” according to Archinect.

New “Neighborhood Characters.” History of Art and Visual Culture Professor Mitchell Schwarzer spoke with the San Francisco Chronicle about new housing developments in the Bay Area that challenge the notion that new apartment buildings are a visual snoozefest. Speaking about Wardenclyffe, a condo building in North Oakland that’s an homage to Nikola Tesla, Schwarzer says, “If you look at our fascination today with video games and fantasy television, there’s an audience in architecture for that kind of wacky stuff.”

Studio views. The latest issue of Luxe Interiors + Design featured alum Rachel Kaye (BFA Painting/Drawing 2004) about her practice, her process of starting with notebook sketches before painting, and what she loves about her San Francisco studio—built by her husband and fellow CCA alum Jay Nelson (BFA Painting/Drawing 2004).

Meaningful places. Baltimore Woods Nature Center is presenting oil paintings by alum Diane L. Menzies (BFA Individualized Studies 1987) in a physical and virtual exhibition, Woodlands and Water: Paintings of Meaningful Places. The paintings are based on scenes near Menzies’s home and in the Adirondack Mountains.

Gallery interaction. Root Division Studio Artist Bonny Nahmias (BFA Sculpture 2016) presents a new body of work in the solo virtual exhibition Shirat Ha’Yam, which is also on view in the Frank Ratchye Project Space through January 22. Viewers have the opportunity to answer a collective question: “What dream did you have at sea?” In response, Nahmias will mail participants a small artwork.

AIA recognition. Architects Rosannah Harding (BArch 2007) and Matthew Ostrow of HardingOstrow were recognized with a Merit Award in this year’s AIA New York Design Awards for their project “Perch.” It offers an architectural proposition for the Brooklyn Bridge, adapting the historical structure to better serve those who walk on it through materiality and design.

January 11

Make art that matters. Alum Breena Nuñez (MFA Comics 2019), whose autobiographical comics explore gender, sexuality, and race, spoke with KQED Arts about zines and feeling seen as an Afro-Latinx comic artist. “Using comics as a way to make people feel less alone, is what I realize at the end of the day is what I’m constantly doing with my work,” she says.

On the radar. Artsy’s January list of “5 Artists on Our Radar” includes alum Troy Chew (MFA Fine Arts 2018) and his Slanguage still-life series. “Painted in the style of 16th- and 17th-century Flemish vanitas still lifes, the works imagine a history in which Black culture was recognized within fine art, especially during a period in which it was excluded and unrepresented.”

Creative heroes. Alum Daniel Lorenze (BFA Photography 2006), head of creative for North America at Just Global, spoke with Little Black Book about his creative hero, the late Larry Sultan, CCA distinguished professor of Photography. “I worked closely with him to develop and hone the conceptual underpinnings of my [thesis] project over the course of several years,” Lorenze says. “Larry was an incredible and thoughtful teacher, and always challenged me to think in new ways, and expand my scope of vision.”

Major metals. Tastemakers at Design Milk featured alum Hannah Jewett (BFA Individualized Studies 2012), spotlighting the artist’s “jewelry for a post-pandemic world: one part Terminator, all dripping metals and menace, and one part Blade Runner, at the meeting point between inorganic materials and deeply sensuous shapes.”

Sustainable business tips. In an interview with ideamensch, alum Elizabeth Brunner (BFA Fashion Design 2007) shared her process, inspiration, and future plans for StereoType, her line of one-of-a-kind, high-end pieces that reuse discarded sample swatches from larger fashion houses.

An exercise of imagination. Bloomberg Green invited architects known for their focus on sustainability, including alum Casper Mork-Ulnes (BArch 1997), to imagine dream homes of a green future. They were to “pick a place in Europe, design a single-family home to suit that climate, and make it produce more energy than it uses.” Mork-Ulnes’s design, Stabbur House, was inspired by Norweigan buildings that have stood for hundreds of years.

A welcome return. In a Women’s Wear Daily article championing “The Return of Designer-Activists in 2021,” Fashion Design Chair Lynda Grose discussed her work in the late 1980s creating the Esprit Ecollection, a women’s clothing line that created products from the brand’s fabric waste; used low-impact dyes and organically grown cotton and linen; and included a small-run of sweaters that were produced by women in rural Appalachia.

Market Street art. Associate Professor of Comics Justin Hall was honored as the fourth and final artist to create work visualising historical LGBTQ moments for the San Francisco Art Commission poster series, which is being displayed on bus stops along downtown Market Street.

Design discussions. Chair of Interior Design Amy Campos contributed thoughts to an interiors + sources article about how to adapt design thinking to ensure a healthier, sustainable, and connected future.

Rethinking history’s first draft. In Mother Jones magazine, Writing & Literature Distinguished Professor Ishmael Reed writes about how the white power curriculum is spread, from the New York Times to Hamilton.

Remaking built environments. On a recent edition of WNYC’s On the Media podcast, Vanessa Chang, adjunct professor of Critical Studies, discussed how pandemics of the past have been instrumental in shaping architecture. She also covered the topic for Slate last spring, writing that “in the deadly wakes of cholera, tuberculosis, and flu pandemics, early 20th century architects saw design as a panacea to the sickness of overcrowded cities. Just as those scourges scarred and then reshaped cities, so will ours.”

Art is always possible. Critical Ethnic Studies Professor Claudia Bernardi spoke with Forbes about her frescoes on paper, developed by burying maps beneath pigments. The practice is informed by her earlier work visualizing and drawing archeological maps of areas in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Ethiopia where human remains were exhumed. “Art is always changing and always possible,” Bernardi says. “Even if the images are sad, the creative process is a remarkable opportunity.”

A fresh start at Clifton Hall. Oakland campus’s 63-unit residence Clifton Hall, which the City of Oakland bought last year, has been transformed into community housing: “The top two floors are permanent housing for at least 42 seniors, the second floor is a 20-household family shelter, and the ground floor provides services and support for homeless families,” the Mercury News reported.

New year, new video. Don’t miss this new video feature about CCA’s three-year Master of Architecture program. Students, faculty, and alumni reflect on the college’s collaborative and hands-on environment, opportunities for cross-disciplinary research, and the benefits of studying architecture in the San Francisco Bay Area.



December 21

Silver Linings is going on winter break and will brighten our outlook once again in mid-January 2021. We wish you a happy—and healthy—holiday season, from the Bay Area and beyond. Miss you already.

December 14

Graduating student work. The Fall 2020 Showcase is now live on Portal! Check out capstone projects from graduating students in programs across the college. We couldn’t be more proud of their dedication, despite all that 2020 wrought. Be sure to visit the showcase on winter break and explore final projects by graduates from every division.

50 years of Critical Ethnic Studies. Founded in 1970, CCA’s Critical Ethnic Studies program continues to be unique as the only dedicated program of its kind at an arts and design college in the United States. Visit Homecoming at Home on Portal to learn more about the program’s history and its community-wide calls to action for the future.

CCA’s first virtual mural. Students in Senior Adjunct Professor Eduardo Pineda’s Mural Project course have swapped bricks for pixels this semester, visualizing CCA’s Creative Accord into a mural for the college’s websites. After interviewing CCA community members, from staff to leadership, about what the principles of the Creative Accord mean to them, the students then set to work. Throughout the semester, their designs changed and took shape in a unique way. “We had only brief communication throughout the process,” says Lauren Brown, an Illustration major, “so when we opened the shared Google Drive it was like a little present waiting for us. Because of this process we were each able to be alone with the piece and surprise the others with what we had contributed.”

Bay Area art. More than 100 CCA community members were selected to participate in this year’s de Young Open exhibition. Faculty member Thorina Rose calls the show “a riotous explosion of imagery that represents the diversity of artmaking in the Bay Area.” The entire Open exhibition can still be explored in a very 2020 way—virtually, online.

Awesome alums.

  • The mural in the windows of Spunk Salon in the Castro was made by former Painting & Drawing student Tanya Wischerath and honors LGBTQ+ activist Martha P. Johnson and homeless advocate Margo Antonetty. The piece is part of the Castro Art Project, which “seeks to connect local artists with closed businesses in an effort to reimagine boarded-up and shuttered storefronts.”
  • Alexandra Grant (MFA Painting/Drawing 2000) has work on view now at the Orange County Museum of Art. The exhibition, Telepathy is One Step Further than Empathy, explores Grant’s ideas about mutual generosity and exchange and features a pop-up shop in the museum’s lobby supporting her philanthropic work through the grantLOVE project.
  • Study Breaks featured Gender Queer author and artist Maia Kobabe (MFA Comics 2016) in a recent feature story, calling their book about the journey to identifying as nonbinary and asexual as a “revolutionary graphic memoir.”
  • Still looking for gifts for kids (or kids at heart)? Adventuretown Toy Emporium owner Annamarie von Firley (BFA Wood/Furniture 1996) spoke with UncoverLA about her fashionable career journey, how she landed in the world of toys, and some of her top gift picks.
  • A textile work Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014) made in February responds to a startling statistic about the ongoing AIDS epidemic. New York Times’s T magazine interviewed him about the piece. Brackens says, “It was inspired by the ongoing AIDS epidemic. There is a CDC statistic from 2016 that reads, ‘If current HIV diagnoses rates persist, about 1 in 2 Black men who have sex with men (MSM) and 1 in 4 Latino MSM in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime.’ It was startling. I made a series of pieces inspired by the statistic. The work is a meditation on healing, ritual and disease.”

December 7

100 years of Architecture. The Architecture division is celebrating 100 cumulative years at CCA! Listen as alums and faculty, past and present, share stories and celebrate the milestones of each program with Homecoming at Home.

Student reviews. Missed a virtual program this fall? Catch up with Review Review Respond, a digital space where students write about this semester’s lectures, panels, screenings, and roundtables and dive deep into how the ideas discussed affect their practice, communities, and fields of study.

Visual ASMR. That’s what we’re calling the process videos we’re posting on our ~new~ TikTok account. Follow @ccaofficial for some soothing end-of-semester content. TL;DR: CCA is on TikTok. 📲✨

The perfect gift. The CCA Art & Craft Fair continues! Visit the annual event virtually this year, and support CCA students, staff, faculty, and alumni selling their work through online shops. Check out the artist vendor list and plan your gift giving accordingly. 🎁

Ted Purves-inspired tees. It’s difficult to quantify the impact Ted Purves had during his 15 years at CCA. He shaped the graduate program’s curriculum, started the Social Practice workshop, and taught students who have carried his ideas all over the world. In his honor, members of the CCA community have designed limited-edition T-shirts to raise funds for the scholarship in Purves’s name. The designs are inspired by the former teacher and the spirit of his life and work.

The future of work. Now watching: This video by Interaction Design student Ryan Koble describes their environmental design concept Cumulus, a subscription service that gives access to “cumulus clouds,” park-based spaces for remote workers to conduct focused or collaborative work. How soon can this be real?

Alumni in the news

  • Alum Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014) has been commissioned by Museum Of Fine Arts Boston for a forthcoming edition of The Banner Project, an annual series of exhibitions that engages artists to create large-scale banners to hang from the glass ceiling of the I. M. Pei-designed Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art.
  • Alum Troy Chew (MFA Fine Arts 2018) spoke with KALW for an audio feature about his practice. The station writes, “Troy Chew brings unique style to the canvas. His artwork is Black urban and African Diaspora cultures meets European painting traditions. He talks about how hip hop and Black American slang inspire his work.”
  • Alum Keyvan Shovir (MFA Fine Arts 2018) was featured in an article about Iranian arts by the Frontier Post, which described them as “one of several promising Iranian artists living outside the country laboring to make a difference in how their home country is viewed.”


November 30

Fall 2020 Showcase. Launching Wednesday: CCA’s Fall 2020 Showcase! This semester’s graduating students from Architecture, Design, and Fine Arts have continued their studies, reached their capstone moment, and finished their thesis projects in the face of unprecedented (!) circumstances and difficult events. We couldn’t be more proud of their dedication, despite all that 2020 wrought. Be sure to visit the showcase throughout December to follow their final projects.

Cool projects. First-year students in the 3D Core Studio course made these cardboard wearables as part of the Protest Prosthetics project. Each design creatively advocates for an issue the student cares about, like supporting renewable energy and recycling more responsibly. Talk about thinking outside the box...

Emerging artists. Creative Boom recently named alum Guang Lim (BFA Illustration 2019) one of 28 emerging illustrators to watch in 2021. Boom! “With clients including WIRED, Quartz, Medium, The Believer, Narratively, and Waxsimile Records,” the publication writes, Lim “delivers creative ideas and moods through the use of expressive strokes and shapes.”

Escapism through art. Alum Lisa Wong Sook Kuan (BFA Illustration 2015), whose work was exhibited in Paris’s Louvre Museum Carrousel Galleries last year, spoke with the Daily Sun about finding inspiration in the ubiquity of art. “I want to provide a form of escapism,” she says. “I have the power as an artist to create a world cemented in reality, but at the same time is disconnected from it. Art is a means to play with our definition of reality.”

Making sense. How do we sense—and make sense—in times of extremes? That’s the question explored in Sensory Orders, an exhibition and publication organized and curated by Adjunct Professor Erik Adigard and Chris Salter. On view through January at the Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts in Poland, Sensory Orders features work by 32 international artists, designers, and researchers, including three from CCA faculty and alumni: Yangyifan Dong, Wioleta Kaminska, and Ignacio Valero.

New publication. Among the 2020 publishing accomplishments of Ishmael Reed, distinguished professor of Writing & Literature: a new book of poetry, Why the Black Hole Sings the Blues; two audio books, The Fool Who Thought Too Much and Malcolm and Me; and a play, The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda. #goals

November 23

Artist of the Year accolades. Alum Toyin Ojih Odutola (MFA Fine Arts 2012) was just named Artist of the Year by Apollo Magazine, which says her “gift for world-building has set her apart as a graphic artist of extraordinary imaginative power in recent years.”

A Warhol win. Alum Bean Gilsdorf (MFA Fine Arts 2011) was recently awarded a prestigious grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to write a series of essays that examines how artists in the Pacific Northwest are dealing with contemporary realities, such as increased costs of living and the commensurate loss of spaces and resources.

Outdoor art adventure. Visit the Ruby Wine/Aurora Alimentari Parklet in the Potrero Hill neighborhood (at the corner of 18th and Connecticut), a public community space created by CCA student Cole Ryder (MArch 2022). Ryder designed the parklet to incorporate methodology taught in Graduate Architecture Chair Brian Price’s formalist studio, including an interrogation of poché and the utilization of form to create ambiguity between the programmatic designation of spaces and exterior and interior relationships.

Holiday tradition. The CCA Art & Craft Fair continues! Visit the annual event virtually this year, and support CCA students, staff, faculty, and alumni selling their work through online shops. Check out the artist vendor list and plan your gift giving accordingly. 🎁

Recommended listening. Bookmark the Homecoming at Home podcast right now! In this collection of oral histories, alumni from the 1950s through the 1970s share stories and memories about the spaces, people, work, and activity that happened during their time at CCA. Special thanks to the Alumni Engagement team, CCA Libraries and Archive staff, Oakland Campus Legacy Committee members, and generous volunteers who conducted the interviews at various college events in the past few years. What a gift for our community. 🎁🎁

November 16

Daily practice. Meet Claire Tomasi (MFA Comics 2020), who says CCA’s graduate Comics program “changed my life. It gave me the toolkit I needed to follow my dreams of being a graphic novelist.” Her consistent drawing practice helps, too! Don’t miss this IGTV spotlight about Tomasi’s daily webcomic, A Little Claireity, featuring her loyal and friendly dog, Ticket.

Changemakers. Meet leading artists seeking social justice through their work, as selected by California Home+Design magazine. The feature spotlights alum Woody De Othello (MFA Fine Arts 2017). “The work is helping me process what this year has been,” De Othello says of his paintings that evolved during quarantine.

Homecoming at Home. This year has been weird, it’s been hard, but it’s also given us new space to explore and reflect. CCA’s Alumni Association has used the time to ask, “How has CCA created a home for so many of us over its 113-year history? What has changed over those years and what has endured?” Definitely make time to visit the result of their investigations, now on view in the Homecoming at Home digital collections. We’ve been loving the Posters, Periodicals, and Publications: Visual Identity by Decade, which shows the evolution of the college’s visual identity and gives a snapshot of events, exhibitions, community dialogue, and culture throughout key moments in CCA’s history.

New York exhibition. Congratulations to student Michon Sanders (BFA Painting and Drawing), who was recently named a finalist in the AXA Art Prize exhibition. Her painting, Repast to Follow, will be on view at the New York Academy of Art and in an online exhibition through November 18. Sanders was one of 40 undergraduate and graduate students selected for the shortlist from the 400 artists, representing 125 schools, who applied for this year’s $10,000 top prize. The jury included curators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Isamu Noguchi Museum.

International recognition. Architecture alumni Lawrence Davidson (MArch 2013) and Eduardo Dana Cohen (BArch 2013) were both selected for L A M P 2020, an international lighting design competition. You can vote for Davidson’s work Moonrise and Cohen’s work Umigame in the Professional category of the Online People’s Choice Award, now through November 20.

November 9

Homecoming at Home. This week marks the launch of Homecoming at Home, Alumni Engagement’s 2020 celebration of CCA’s 113-year history featuring archival images, ephemera, oral histories, and new conversations with leaders in our community. Check out the virtual exhibitions and podcasts at

Virtual convos. In this recorded event between Associate Professor of Film Kota Ezawa and Rail magazine Editor Constance Lewallen, Ezawa discusses the thought process behind his hand-drawn computer animation work, including The Simpson Verdict and The History of Photography Remix. “I gravitate toward subject matter that people might already know about to make it a more inclusive or broad conversation,” Ezawa says.

Make.Act.Resist recordings. Be sure to explore the Make.Act.Resist website, part of October’s teach-in on borders and migration, led by faculty members Kim Anno, Jose Brunner, and Irene Cheng. Some reccos to get you started:

  • Podcast: Led by Adjunct II Professor Patricia Maloney, experience a collection of student self-portraits and stories fundamental in shaping the narrators’ identities, many of which speak to immigrant experiences.
  • Video artist talk: Senior Adjunct Lydia Nakashima Degarrod discusses her work as both a visual artist and a cultural anthropologist, creating installations that blur the line between ethnography and art in order to convey experiences of extraordinary nature and address issues of social justice. Her latest work, Geographies of the Imagination, explores the inner images of exile.
  • Podcast: Adjunct II Professor Jose Brunner, originally from Tijuana, Mexico, works at the axis of research, speculation, and practice within architecture. Learn how Brunner developed a practice within a bilingual, bicultural, and binational environment that both embraced and questioned the state of duality.

Monumental decision. The San Francisco Arts Commission voted unanimously to reinstate designs by alum Lava Thomas (BFA Ceramics 1999) for a monument dedicated to literary icon Maya Angelou. “Throughout this process, I have tried to uphold the principles of Maya Angelou,” Thomas says of the back-and-forth experience. Read the full story in the New York Times.

Online success. Four 2015 graduates of CCA’s DMBA program—Tony Jimenez, Isabelle Shu, Dave Korstad, and Mike O’Hagan—recently launched an online, nut-based drink company called JOI (Just One Ingredient). They’re expected to achieve $3 million in sales this year, the Star Tribune reported last week.

November 2

Time in the tub. HAMAM, a new quarterly print publication, celebrates the art and culture of bathing, featuring contributions from CCA alumni and students: Trent Davis Bailey (MFA Fine Arts 2015), YeRin Kim (MFA Fine Arts 2015), Rob Bailey, Sarah Thibault (MFA Painting/Drawing 2011), Don Porcella (BFA Painting/Drawing 2001), and Naz Cuguoğlu. “We started HAMAM because there wasn’t a magazine out there that cared very much about a good soak,” says co-founder and editor-in-chief Ekin Balcıoğlu (MFA Fine Arts, MA Visual & Critical Studies 2016).

Civics lessons. Don’t miss this Bay City News feature on the CCA@CCA Artwork Campaign exhibition and the importance of the vote, including interviews with Faculty Coordinator Sam Vernon, Director of Exhibitions and Public Programming Jaime Austin, and alum Amy Tavern (MFA Fine Arts 2017).

Alumni career advice. The Building an Artist's Life 2020 series, presented by the Career Development office, features interviews with CCA alumni and is dedicated to helping Fine Arts students build sustainable careers in the arts. Learn how to: navigate the art world as an emerging artist with Tracy Ren (BFA Ceramics 2018), build a career through community with Holly Samuelsen (BFA Textiles 2008), run an independent jewelry business with Olivia Shih (BFA Jewelry and Metal Arts 2014), use creativity to build a career with impact with Larissa Erin Greer (MFA Studio Art 2012), and get started with art consultants with Chandra Cerrito (MFA Sculpture 1994).

Student support programs. Two CCA programs, including one new initiative, are supporting the agency and aspirations of BIPOC students at the college by providing opportunities that build skills, nurture growth, and promote success at CCA and beyond. Learn more about both the Artist’s Network Valuing Aspiring Scholars (CANVAS), which launched in 2018, and the new DesignCreate Career Mentorship Program, which focuses on preparing students for successful creative careers after college.

Making amid the pandemic. In this interview with Associate Professor of Comics Justin Hall and Instinct magazine, Hall muses on the future of LGBTQ comics and how comics could be effected by the pandemic: “The advantage is that they’re not a performance art, so we can still continue making material and putting it out into the world.”

Video distractions. In a review for KQED, Sarah Hotchkiss (MFA Painting/Drawing 2011) wrote that Jeffrey Gibson’s Nothing is Eternal for the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is “perfectly chaotic” in how it distilled the forking paths of the many different possible futures after election day. Watch Nothing is Eternal now at A new exhibition of work by Toyin Ojih Odutola (MFA Painting/Drawing 2012), titled Tell Me A Story, I Don’t Care If It’s True, is on view at Jack Shainman Gallery. Here’s a preview with the artist. CCA’s Creative Citizens in Action is archiving video recordings of some of its virtual presentations! Explore the playlist here.

Awesome awards and accolades. Zarouhie Abdalian (MFA Fine Arts 2010) was named one of the 2020 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant recipients. Each year, the foundation awards 25 artists with $25,000 each in unrestricted funds. Olivia Shih (BFA Jewelry & Metal Arts 2015) won the Women’s Jewelry Association 2020 Cindy Edelstein Jewelry Design Scholarship. Shaelyn Hanes (MA Curatorial Practice) was announced as the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art’s 2020–2021 Richard A. Ward Education Fellow.


October 26

Civic action and radical joy. Joy to the Polls, a student-led “Get out the vote” event in Oakland on October 24, featured painting, postcarding swing states, voter registration, music, projections, and more, all socially distanced and safe! Shoutout to Carissa Lillian Clark (BFA Individualized Studies 2021) for the tip: “In the big picture we’re working to get out the vote for so many reasons: for racial justice, for the environment, for democracy, and for the nitty gritty of the local and YES for RADICAL JOY.” An accompanying exhibition by Lena Wolff and Michele Pred (BFA Interdisciplinary Fine Arts 1990) inside Dream Farm Commons presented an evocative text-based sidewalk-looking-in-installation and included an appearance of Jenny Holzer and Tabitha Soren’s “Vote Your Future” billboard truck.

International recognition. Congratulations to CCA Fashion Design student Xi Wan, who was selected as a finalist in the 19th International Arts of Fashion Competition hosted at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Wan is one of only 50 finalists chosen from 397 fashion students representing 30 countries and 103 schools and universities.

Protest art. All Power to All People by CCA alum Hank Willis Thomas (MFA Photography, MA Visual Criticism 2003) is an eight-foot-tall sculpture depicting an Afro pick with a Black Power fist raised to the sky. It is also, according to a new list by T Magazine, one of the 25 most influential works of American protest art since World War II.

A new residence hall. Though perhaps one of the most unpredictable years in CCA’s 113-year history, 2020 also marks the beginning of the college’s firm grounding in San Francisco with the fall opening of Founders Hall and ushers in a new era of CCA as a fully residential campus. Don’t miss this first-look video tour and the Founders Hall Digital Mural Exhibit, created by CCA Libraries.

A new ecosystem. Members of CCA’s Architectural Ecologies Lab are helping the Presidio Trust and National Park Service restore native oyster habitats at Crissy Field by installing specially designed fiberglass panels. Their work was recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle.

A new video. Nothing is Eternal, an immersive video work by artist Jeffrey Gibson newly commissioned by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, launched October 22 at Tenderloin National Forest. Conceived during this pandemic era, Nothing is Eternal “depicts the American flag in unsettling stillness, as a marker of territory, and projected onto bodies, while set to a heartrending soundtrack. … The slow transformation through time, color, and form reflects both a distillation of our social collapse and the reinvention of self and community, referencing the movement and change that is so desired for this nation.” Did you miss the video’s debut? No worries. Nothing is eternal. ;) On-site presentations of the piece are being streamed online October 20 through December 12. Check out the full list of dates and times.

“Strokes of insight.” For a feature story in 48Hills, Victoria Wagner, senior adjunct faculty member in CCA’s First Year Core Studio program, says she didn’t work with wood until a piece of a tree being cleared “fell nearby, giving her what she describes as a ‘stroke of insight.’” The experience inspired Wagner to explore the phosphorescence of salvaged redwoods for the sculptures in her solo show, Everglow, recently on view at Maybaum Gallery.

Virtual convos. Watch now: Alum Amanda Hunt (MA Curatorial Practice 2011) discusses contemporary visual culture with artist Jordan Casteel in a 2020 Frieze Talks conversation moderated by Mark Guiducci, creative editorial director of Vogue.

October 19

CCA@CCA Artwork Campaign. We may be physically distant, but we are united through our work as Creative Citizens in Action. On view now through December 1 in the windows of CCA Hubbell Street Galleries and online, the CCA@CCA Artwork Campaign lets you explore artwork and poster designs by CCA students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Each work expresses creative activism and promotes democratic participation in the lead-up to Election Day and beyond. Be sure to download free printouts of your favorite pieces to hang up in your own windows.

Democracy lives! The deadline to register to vote in the 2020 General Election is Monday, October 19. If you miss this deadline, you can still register to vote in person at early voting locations or on Election Day and then file a provisional ballot. Learn more about the process or, if you’re not voting in California, find key deadlines for your state.

A CCA first. The first-ever CCA Film Week is happening October 19–23. Join the CCA Film program as we investigate, reflect on, and celebrate the power and potential of the moving image with an all-virtual symposium of screenings, artist talks, seminars, and discussions related to racial and social justice in the field. Check out all the events, including talks with CCA students and alumni.

Online lecture. Graduate Graphic Design Chair Jon Sueda (BFA Graphic Design 1998) is giving an online lecture at Letterform Archive from noon to 1:30 pm PT on Tuesday, October 20. Register now to attend and watch Sueda discuss his multifaceted practice as a designer, curator, publisher, and educator. He’ll dig into how this way of working has allowed him to create design, generate discourse around the discipline, and help prepare designers for a constantly changing field. The lecture will cover a range of topics, including publishing, exhibition-making, alternative histories, and unrealized projects.

Student work ftw. A project developed by students Parker Crumley (BFA Industrial Design 2021) and Sarah Jane Walcutt (BFA Textiles) in this spring’s Ecology of Clothing course received honorable mention in Fast Company’s 2020 Innovation by Design Awards, Students category. The honor recognizes Crumley and Walcutt’s work as one of “the best student-designed projects of 2020.” The project, “Wearable Technology for the 21st Century,” proposes a dual tag system using machine-readable optical labeling and allows for the development of a streamlined fiber recycling system. It could incentivize brands to take responsibility for their products post-first sale and support the production of intentionally designed and sustainable goods.

A 3D virtual tour. The MOTO MMXX motorcycle exhibition, designed and curated by Assistant Professor of Design Hugo Eccles, is on view at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco through January 3, 2020. The exhibition was scheduled to open in May but was delayed due to the pandemic. The reconfigured opening includes a 360-degree virtual tour of the showcase, starring 20 “extraordinary custom motorcycles from some of the best builders in the world, many never seen before in the USA.”

October 12

Creative activism. The CCA@CCA Artwork Campaign launches October 13 at Hubbell Street Galleries! Featuring work by members of CCA’s alumni, faculty, and staff, the project is a showcase of our community’s talent and civic values. P.S. Have you voted?

New stories. Professor of Writing Faith Adiele wrote two episodes of HBO Max’s new series A World of Calm. Adiele’s contributions include episode eight, “A Horse’s Tale” narrated by Kate Winslet, and episode 10, “Water: Giver of Life” narrated by Mahershala Ali.

Material explorations. The 2020 Dezeen Awards selected two projects by Adjunct Professor of Architecture Alex Schofield’s practice, Objects and Ideograms, for its Sustainable Design Category: Coral Carbonate, which uses calcium carbonate to create 3D-printed sustainable underwater homes for coral reefs and other marine life, and Caffeinated Architecture, which explores how reused coffee grounds can be transformed into design materials using digital fabrication technology like 3D powder printing and CNC routing.☕🤖 Industrial Design Assistant Professor Hugo Eccles was also recognized in the 2020 Dezeen Awards for Untitled Motorcycles’ XP Zero, an electric motorcycle that produces double the torque of a superbike, delivered linearly and without gears.

Defining values. Assistant Director of Career Development Nicole Mueller is the co-host of Beyond the Studio podcast, which will be participating in the first virtual Art World Conference, happening October 16 and 17. The conference, titled DEFINING VALUE(S) in the Art World, will bring together speakers to discuss today’s urgent questions, like “How do we define value in the art world?” and “How can we work toward greater equity and a solidarity economy?”

Collaboration on view. Featured in Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, is an installation by Professor of Film Lynn Marie Kirby and filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha (to whom the Wattis dedicated its last research season). Their work In Transit: Between and Beyond “is a tribute to the love of poetry, to the state of between-ness and renewal innate to the experience of Marseille as a city of transit—and more specifically to the Villa Air-Bel as a site of refuge and encounter for poets, artists, activists, and thinkers.”

Alumni on the rise. Tanya Zimbardo (MA Curatorial Practice 2005) curated a new exhibition at SFMOMA. Future Histories: Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith is on view October 17, 2020, through May 23, 2021. The exhibit includes Gates’ video exploration of the Black Madonna through reworking three decades of archival images, including Ebony and Jet magazines, and Smith’s feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph from a 1966 Life assignment. Diedrick Brackens (MFA Fine Arts 2014) is one of 37 artists to receive a $5,000 fellowship Art Matters Grant from the New York–based nonprofit. Also in the 2020 awardees is the collective #XMAP: In Plain Sight, which includes Dean of Humanities & Sciences TT Takemoto and alum Hank Willis Thomas (MFA Photography, MA Visual Criticism 2003

October 5

Knowledge sharing. Sharpie Sessions, brought to us by the MDes Interaction Design community, are student-led learning and networking events centered around creative skill building and idea exploration. Topics range from how to grow your own food to street photography 101 to tips for freelancing. Bring your own Sharpie.

Mindfulness practice. At this point, who couldn’t use a quiet, 20-minute practice of yoga- and Qigong-informed exercises? Check out MINDFUL MONDAYS: Reboot + Refocus from the Learning Resource Center. The breathing, stretching, and gentle movement techniques can help you de-stress and re-energize. Each week’s program is focused on a different theme to support your journey as a mindful learner.

Virtual performances. CCA alum Lee Mingwei’s (BFA Textiles 1993) durational work OUR LABYRINTH became the site-specific guide for new contributions by choreographer Bill T. Jones. The interactions were live-streamed over three weeks from The Met’s galleries, featuring a range of dance styles, including ballet, hip hop, modern, vogue, and more. The performances are now available on YouTube.

Recognition. MFA Fine Arts students Consuelo Tupper Hernández and Zhongyu Yuan were awarded Murphy & Cadogan scholarships from SOMArts Cultural Center and the San Francisco Foundation. Their winning work was presented at The Annual Murphy & Cadogan Art Awards Exhibition on October 1 during a SOMArts virtual celebration. <Insert Zoom megaphone party reactions here! 🎉>

Reimagination. CCA alum Tosha Stimage (MFA Fine Arts 2015) created the first installation in a series for the public curated by YBCA for Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy. Stimage’s installation, Infinite center, infinite sun, is part of an ongoing project to envision new creative and inclusive ways for YBCA audiences to safely come together during the pandemic.

Joyful return. The de Young Open is scheduled to open October 10. IRL! Many CCA community members are among the 762 Bay Area artists featured in the juried exhibition.

Stay involved

Continue to share your good news

Though Silver Linings is complete, we’d still love to feature your silver lining! Send us news, story ideas, updates, happy thoughts, whatever—if it’s happening in our community, we want to shout it from the stratosphere.

You can submit your stuff using the link below or, because we know you might work differently on your cloud, send it to us via email.

A photo of a pink and blue sky with a few clouds.

Oakland, 7:55 pm PT, August 21. By Nicholas Lea Bruno, staff.

You can also send us your photos. What kinds of photos? Cloud photos, for example. ☁

Send them with a timestamp and location so we can see what the world looks like from everyone’s POV.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Isn’t this all a little fluffy? Sure. But it’s also important to honor how our community stuck together during this challenging time apart.

Follow us on Instagram

Instagram post 18059477224572073

May 17, 2024

“As imagemakers we have sought to create an active role in creating exchanges of perspectives about art and culture; and how art engages with questions we face as a society today. Our experience as artists and academics have reaffirmed our belief that the arts have a crucial role to play in imagining new futures, especially in turbulent times such as these.” — Deborah Willis

We’re proud to award an honorary doctorate degree to inspirational artists, designers, and thinkers each year at our Commencement Ceremony. We were thrilled to have artist and scholar Deborah Willis and visual artist and CCA alum Hank Willis Thomas (MFA Photography and MA Visual Criticism 2003) as the degree recipients at our 117th Commencement Ceremony last weekend.

An advocate for all voices, Deborah Willis has been instrumental in furthering diversity and inclusion in the art world. Her work continues to inspire generations of artists, scholars, and educators, cementing her legacy as a leading figure in art history and visual studies.

Hank Willis Thomas’s work engages with historical and contemporary issues of social justice, drawing attention to systemic inequities and advocating for change. Like his mother, he is also recognized for his activism in nurturing diversity and inclusion in the art industry. Thomas’s contributions have left an indelible mark on the art world, provoking important conversations and reflections.

Congratulations, @debwillisphoto and #HankWillisThomas!

Instagram post 17903989484970713

May 10, 2024

Walk it like we talk it 🗣 At the end of every spring semester, @ccafashiondesign program debuts the collections of graduating seniors with a runway presentation.

☆ Special thanks to President David Howse (@dhowse75) for opening the show. ☆

Instagram post 18099994411404886

May 9, 2024

🌞There’s only a month left to submit your Pre-College application🌞 At Pre-College, high school students get to spend a month seeing what’s its like to be a CCA student. Pre-College students get to live on campus, take studio courses, go on adventures around the city on the weekends — all while earning 3️⃣ college credits.

Sign up:

Instagram post 17951877182667445

May 1, 2024

Artists Michael Jang and Xandra Ibarra went to see the new Curatorial Practice thesis exhibition — have you?

Now at @wattisarts: 𝓐𝓫𝓼𝓸𝓵𝓾𝓽𝓮 𝓜𝓮𝓶𝓸𝓻𝔂: 𝓐𝓷 𝓐𝓻𝓬𝓱𝓲𝓿𝓮 𝓸𝓯 𝓢𝓸𝓯𝓽𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓼 features artists Widline Cadet, Xandra Ibarra, Michael Jang, Clifford Prince King, and Kenneth Tam.
Curated by the @cca_curatorial_practice Class of 2024: Samantha Hiura, Megan Kelly, and Sherry Xiang.