Spring 2014

Architecture Live Projects

How might creative institutions begin to address issues of pressing social, environmental and economic need? And, what does it mean for students of creative disciplines to engage in the “real world”?


ENGAGE at CCA provides a working model for schools of art and design contending with two timely and salient questions: how might creative institutions begin to address issues of pressing social, environmental and economic need? And, what does it mean for students of creative disciplines to engage in the “real world”? Housed within the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts, ENGAGE at CCA connects faculty and students with community partners through semester-long projects that focus on specific needs defined by, or identified in collaboration with, their partner. This paper offers reflection on how ENGAGE responds to these questions through the process of early course development and the positive impact that process endeavors to have on students’ sense of creative and personal agency.

Chapter written by Megan Clark, Manager of Strategic Partnerships and ENGAGE at CCA

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Architecture Live Projects provides a persuasive, evidence-based advocacy for moving a particular kind of architectural learning, known as Live Projects, towards a holistic integration into current and future architectural curricula. Live Projects are work completed in the borderlands between architectural education and built environment practice; they include design/build work, community-based design, urban advocacy consulting and a host of other forms and models described by the book’s international group of authors. This collection of essays and case studies consolidates current discussions on theory and learning ambitions, academic best practices, negotiation with licensure and accreditation, and considerations of architectural integrity.




Working with the Center for Investigative Reporting, CCA students developed innovative strategies for telling challanging and complex stories both online and offline within the Bay Area.

Creative Sprint Prompt:

Participants in the Tech Raking hackathon received prompts that dealt with some of the toughest engagement issues for digital and community-oriented journalism. In order to craft design prompts that best expressed challenges within the field, the Center for Investigative Reporting enlisted feedback from two of its local media partners: KQED and the Bay Area News Group (BANG). These design prompts also took into consideration the role of digitization in both the consumption and circulation of news in order to promote more critical dialogue on comment platforms, which often end up as “echo chambers.”


Students were asked:

Team Proposals:

“The Whisper Hunters”

Marimar Suarez Penalva | DMBA

Jorge Torres Perez Palacios | DMBA

Thomas Davis | Illustration

The design team conceptualized a physical box, or “Gossip Box,” that could be placed in geographical locations throughout a particular community. Each “Gossip Box” would create a physical and emotional relationship with its community that tech could not duplicate due to the challenges of organizing information over social media. They would be equipped with a set of prompts to solicit written responses from community individuals. Written responses would be routinely collected by the newsroom, cultivating community knowledge while capturing mouth-to-mouth stories.


“Story of the Gun”

Damian Wolfgram | DMBA

Ivan Yip | DMBA

Kinto Diriwachter | BFA Glass

Madeleine Maguire | Graphic Design

“Story of the Gun” designed a guerrilla marketing campaign that utilized QR code technology, allowing local residents to use their smartphone cameras to scan icons. Once the “Story of the Gun” icons were captured through the smartphone camera lens, the community member would be connected to “six degrees of conversation,” a website portraying varying perspectives on guns. Users would then contribute their personal gun-related insights while interacting with local officials, residents, and law enforcement.



After much deliberation, TechRaking jurors awarded “Story of the Gun” first place for their design.  “The Whisper Hunters” was named as the runner up.



Julia Chan | Communications Manager – CIR

Andy Donahue | Senior Editor – CIR

Meghann Farnsworth | Director, Distribution and Engagement – CIR

Anna Pully | Managing Editor – East Bay Express

Lauren McDonald | Instructional Services Librarian – CCA


Design Experts:

Ann Rich | DMBA Alum, Co-Founder and Chief Partnership/ Marketing Strategist – Kishu

Seth D’Ambrosia | MFA Alum, Designer – Ted Boerner, Inc.

Sue Pollock | DMBA Alum, Design Strategist – The Nature Conservancy


Amy Pyle | Managing Editor – CIR

Martin Reynolds | Senior Editor of Community Engagement – Bay Area News Group

Colleen Wilson | Executive Director – KQED

Allen Meyer | Creative Director – New American Media

Jessica Watson | Product Design Manager – Facebook

Cindy Butner | Marketing Director – Santa Rosa Press Democrat

David Cohn |  Executive Producer – JC+

Sarah Bonk | Senior Manager, Interaction Design – Apple, Co- Founder @ Team Democracy

Erin Polgreen | CoFounder – Symbolia


Teaching Creative Writing

Inquisitive Oakland School for the Arts students learn literary arts from CCA student-teachers

Project Objective: 

In “Teaching Creative Writing”, ENGAGE students taught students at Oakland School of the Arts and created a portfolio of lesson plans and creative writing syllabi in poetry, fiction and plays. For each assignment ENGAGE students crafted lectures and identified the learning objectives/ goals for their Literary Arts class while learning to work through potential stumbling blocks.

Project Outcomes(s):

“Teaching Creative Writing” introduced students to both the practical and conceptual aspects of teaching creative writing and a unique hands-on experience to teach Literary Arts to High School students. Through their experience with students at Oakland School of the Arts, “Teaching Creative Writing” participants were able to fine-tune their teaching materials as welcomed guest teachers in the classroom. At the conclusion of “Teaching Creative Writing,” ENGAGE students created a chapbook to highlight the final writings of OSA students that they mentored and invited the OSA students to read their work at the CCA Writers Studio.


Athena Project

CCA and ARISE High School art students researched Oakland history and collaborated on the creation of a 30-foot mural installation at the Fruitvale BART Station.

Project Objective

Through the “Athena Project” ENGAGE students mentored ARISE High School art students in the design of a community mural and that they painted together, bringing the mural to life. “Athena Project” participants developed leadership and collaborative skills in the research, design, and implementation of a community mural. As part of the design process, ARISE High School and ENGAGE students consulted with the National Park Service for guidance into the history of the area prior to submitting their mural proposal to City Hall.

Project Outcome(s)

The “Athena Project” culminated with the installation of a 30-foot mural in the Fruitvale station depicting the history of the De Anza trail, contemporary living, and future life of the Fruitvale neighborhood. The “Athena Project” created a mutually beneficial art making opportunity for under-served Bay Area youth and California College of the Arts students with a focus on service learning, youth empowerment, and socially engaged art. The mural was so well received that a local shopkeeper provided a site for the mural panels to be permanently installed.


Since its installation over 1,000 people view the mural each day. The mural has been displayed at festivals in Fruitvale, and students have been interviewed by the local news about the mural.