January 6, 2016

School Watch reports from California College of the Arts in San Francisco and California State University in San Bernardino

Art & Education
(1) CCA’s back lot. Photo: Brenda Tucker. (2) Classes gather in the Nave. Photo: Alison Nin. (3) Class in session at CCA. Photo: Jim Norrena. (4–5) CSUSB Community-based Art (CBA) at the California Institution for Men, Chino, 2014. Photos: Andrew K. Thompson, courtesy of CBA.

Agile Development: Being Nimble at California College of the Arts
By Monica Westin
One bright September afternoon in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, I found myself sitting at an orange picnic table on a vacant lot the size of several football fields. It might be one of the most valuable empty lots in the United States. Located just below the South of Market neighborhood, the ground zero of tech, and directly facing game company Zynga, half a dozen other startups, and a fresh row of luxury condos that seemed to pop up overnight like mushrooms in the gentrifying neighborhood, it’s hard to sit at one of these picnic tables and not feel that California College of the Arts (CCA) is sitting on a vast topography of pure potential, both economic and aesthetic. It’s also hard not to read this lot as a metaphor for CCA as an institution: the school has been described over and over—by faculty, alumni, students, and staff—as nimble, flexible, and responsive, with massive room to grow. [read more]

Collective Evolution, Inside and Out: CSUSB Community-based Art
By Annie Buckley
Our small group walks across the vast prison yard to the gym, chatting casually and remarking on the heat in Chino. Among the seven teaching artists present are students and alumni of the Art Department at California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), where I am on the faculty and began the Community-based Art program three years ago. As on each Friday, a correctional officer escorts us to the large, well-used gym and remains with us for the duration of class. Inside, between the basketball courts and a wall of newly painted murals lining the room’s opposite end, a dozen or so participants (inmates) have begun setting up for class… More men begin to file in and soon five simultaneous seminars, each with about twelve participants, are up and running. It is the beginning of a ten-week session that includes Printmaking, Art History and Critique, Painting and Drawing, Paper Crafts, and Creative Writing courses. As I pass by the Art History class, the slide projected on the concrete wall reads “Institutional Critique.” [read more


School Watch presents distilled perspectives on degree programs in the arts, with interviews, critical texts and editorial exposés on MFAs, Masters, Doctorates and certificate programs in fine arts, art history, curatorial, cultural and film studies, and other related areas of specialty.

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