March 19, 2012

California College of the Arts New Craft Curriculum

California College of the Arts (CCA)
Allison Smith runs one of her “Arts & Skills Service” workshops at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with her Fancy Work (Scattergood Quilt) (2010) visible in the background.

California College of the Arts is pleased to announce that it has implemented a new undergraduate craft curriculum. Five of its existing fine arts programs—Ceramics, Glass, Jewelry / Metal Arts, Sculpture, and Textiles—have collaborated to develop a shared curriculum that will better prepare their graduates for success in the 21st century. The new courses are required for students in those majors, but open to any CCA student who is interested in the topic.


There are three categories of new courses. The first is Craft Workshop, which covers an exciting array of subjects, including entrepreneurship, connecting to the world outside of school, and expanding students’ technical skills in an interdisciplinary setting. Hijacking Santa’s Workshop is a fall course focusing on prototyping and production; final projects are sold at CCA’s annual Holiday Fair. The spring School to Market course, offered in partnership with the American Craft Council, emphasizes retail opportunities and gives students the chance to curate and manage a booth selling CCA student work at the American Craft Council Show in San Francisco. Exploratorium Prototypes (a collaboration with the Exploratorium science museum in San Francisco) places students in direct engagement with a community partner. Lost and Found and Soil to Studio build hands-on, eco-friendly skills for students interested in sustainable practices. The Visiting Artist Craft Workshopallows students to work directly with a renowned international artist; this past fall, the visiting artist was Chiharu Shiota.


The second family of courses is called Digital Tools 3D. These courses introduce students to the potential of computer-aided design and the latest production tools, including the laser cutter, the CNC router, and the 3D printer. Besides exploring skills and tools beyond traditional handwork, students gain valuable experience in documenting their own work and preparing digital visual presentations.


Finally, the Contemporary Issues in Craft Theory courses (not required for Sculpture students) connect current material and process-based practices with historical, cultural, and intellectual histories, enabling students to reimagine themselves and their work in tomorrow’s society.


CCA has a long history of commitment to the craft disciplines. The college was founded by Frederick Meyer, who was active in the Arts and Crafts movement and a cabinetmaker by trade. It has had numerous influential alumni and faculty in the craft disciplines, including Robert Arneson and Peter Voulkos (alumni) and Viola Frey (faculty), who helped instigate the ceramics revolution of the 1960s. In spring 2011 CCA hosted Craft Forward, a national conference on the state of craft.


For more information, visit


About California College of the Arts
Founded in 1907, California College of the Arts (CCA) is noted for the interdisciplinarity and breadth of its programs. It offers studies in 21 undergraduate and seven graduate majors in the areas of fine arts, architecture, design, and writing. The college offers bachelor of architecture, bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, master of architecture, master of arts, master of fine arts, and master of business administration degrees. With campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, CCA currently enrolls 1,950 full-time students. Noted alumni include the painters Nathan Oliveira and Raymond Saunders; the ceramicists Robert Arneson, Viola Frey, and Peter Voulkos; the filmmaker Wayne Wang; the conceptual artists David Ireland and Dennis Oppenheim; and the designers Lucille Tenazas and Michael Vanderbyl. For more information about CCA, visit


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