CONNECTS Fellow: Maggs Hanson

“Coming here and interacting with these artists who all working with these different methods and approaches…it’s inspiring. It’s mind-opening. It’s a really comforting environment for me to be in. I really appreciate and benefit from how different it is from the heavy stress of academia.”

– Maggs Hanson, CCA CONNECTS Fellow


Fellowship Description

Maggs Hanson acted as a teaching assistant and mentor to developmentally-disabled artists at NIAD (Nurturing Independence Through Artistic Development) Art Center for two years. Getting to work at NIAD for multiple years allowed her to build strong relationships with the artists and understand their needs and methods. She was also able to expand her role to working in the gallery and curating her own show. She won a Center micro-grant to install a show focusing on mental health that brought outside emerging artists together with NIAD artists.

CONNECTS Qualities

This Connects Fellowship is an example of:

Maggs described the effect working at NIAD had on her artistic practice:

“It’s a great space to come from when I’m going into my studio. Cause then I can just be really focused on the pure artistic creation, and not as bogged down in concept or theory or worry about making work for an audience.”

Impact Statement

Site Mentor, Judith Zoon (L) and CCA Fellow, Maggs Hanson (R) share how CONNECTS impact them and their community:

“Maggs serves as a role model for working artists. Her outside point of view is refreshing and she helps the artist articulate their creative experience.”

“This position expanded my experience and familiarity with a diversity of artists outside the art school institution.”


CONNECTS Fellow: Vivian Harp

“I was inspired to be an artist be seeing professional artists when I was young.  By working at Chabot Elementary, the kids get to see an example of someone who makes art in their day-to-day life.”

– Vivian Harp, CCA CONNECTS Fellow

Fellowship Description

Vivian Harp worked at Chabot Elementary School under the mentorship of art teacher Amber Miller, assisting instruction of art students through class preparation, one-on-one guidance, and curriculum development, Vivian used her expertise in ceramics to design a pinch pot lesson for the students.

CONNECTS Qualities:

This Connects Fellowship is an example of:

Vivian reflects on what she has been learning from the Students she teaches:

I’ve learned that kids will surprise you in every way possible. Like this morning they were looking at art and kind of discussing what they saw and they always said something I totally could not predict. So I feel like their responses are actually teaching me different perspectives on art that I wouldn’t know otherwise.

Amber Miller spoke about the benefit of Vivians ceramic lesson:

I learned from Vivian because I haven’t taken a lot of ceramics classes.  Getting to hear her work with the students on clay helped me rethink how to teach the kids and how to work with a specific material. – Amber Miller, Art Teacher, Chabot Elementary School.

Impact Statement

Site Mentor, Amber Miller(L) and CCA Fellow, Vivian Harp (R) share how CONNECTS impact them and their community:

“My fellow impacts my community with her one-on-one teaching method – seeking out students that need more support and modeling correct behavior. Her value is priceless!”

“I get to learn about social interactions and learning styles which inspires my personal practice.”


Año Nuevo Island

An interdisciplinary group of students, ranging in majors from Ceramics to Architecture, were invited to explore the relationship between clay and wildlife ecology in the inaugural Año Nuevo Island course at CCA.

Project Description:

An interdisciplinary group of students, ranging in majors from Ceramics to Architecture, were invited to explore the relationship between clay and wildlife ecology in the inaugural Año Nuevo Island course at CCA. Oikonos Wildlife Restoration sought a durable, ecological solution to the destruction of nests for the Rhinoceros Auklet, an endangered bird species whose traditional habitation beneath the sand is often crushed by sea lions that share the beaches of Año Nuevo Island. Working with Matthew Passmore of Rebar, an expert in tactical urbanism and sustainable design, CCA students created ceramic nesting modules to protect incubating Rhinoceros Auklet eggs.   This class provided students with an opportunity to explore ceramic materials while having a tangible impact on the local environment through their creations. The experience on Año Nuevo Island also introduced students to unique career trajectories, as well as helped illuminate the versatility of the skill-sets gained through their arts education.

Project Outcome(s)

Students in the Spring 2010 course crafted a total of 10 nesting modules. Oikonos ecologists continue to maintain and monitor these modules, resulting in a marked uptick in the survival of Rhinoceros Auklet chicks. In addition to making a positive environmental impact, participating students gained studio-to-real-world connections and built relationships with the ecologists on Año Nuevo Island, exemplifying the potential of merging the fields of Art and Science. The Año Nuevo Island class was such a success that Oikonos asked Professor Lynch and Matthew Passmore to return in 2015. As such, the CCA Ceramics program, MoreLab, Oikonos, and CAPL have entered into a partnership in 2015 to build upon the success of the first two classes.


Año Nuevo Island has received the attention of the American Craft Council Magazine and The Atlantic Cities.

While commenting on his ENGAGE class with the American Craft Council Magazine, Associate Professor Nathan Lynch shared:

“There are all these other ways of using the skills they learn in art school to do interesting things. We try to stress agility, being nimble in the way they approach life after school.” American Craft Council Magazine, November 2011