The IMPACT Award

We are in crisis.  

Scientists have calculated that Earth is 4.54 billion years old, with an error range of 50 million years.  But human beings have singlehandedly altered Earth’s atmosphere through the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels.

If we fail to collectively turn around our complacency and the ways in which we live—in the next 12 years*—the human race, too, will go the way of the dinosaurs.

It is absolutely time to panic about climate change.** 


History tells us that we can remain optimistic that we can turn this around*** but

we have to do it now.

Artists and designers are uniquely qualified to address these collective efforts and strategies in creative, groundbreaking ways. This year, the IMPACT Award taps into the ingenuity and creativity of the greater CCA Community to take action to address Climate Change. 

Scholars in the many disciplines addressing this worldwide climate crisis—science, psychology, anthropology, finance—already have identified numerous strategies that the world’s population can pursue. One form of action is the development of strategies for consumers’ CREATIVE RE-USE or UPCYCLING of current products and/or development of SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS.


$25,000 for Excellence in Social or Environmental Impact through the Lens of Art & Design

The 2019 IMPACT Award Challenge


The 2019 IMPACT Award will recognize two individuals/teams with two generous $25,000 grants to pursue their big ideas for strategies of reuse and development of sustainable materials. The “CREATIVE RE-USE/UPCYCLING/SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS” concept for this year’s IMPACT Challenge is very broad and includes, for example:

Essentially, the IMPACT Award will go towards creative, groundbreaking and impactful solutions that address climate change by fostering strategies of consumer re-use, recycling, upcycling, or development of sustainable materials. 

Projects must be designed, produced, and implemented in the Bay Area over the one-year grant period, and have lasting environmental or social impact beyond the grant period.  All applicants also have the opportunity to participate in design thinking workshops (dates to be announced) crafted to assist them in developing and strengthening their project proposals before the submission deadline of April 5, 2019.

To learn more, please save the date for the information sessions on March 6th at 11:00am at the Oakland Campus (Ralls 202), and March 7th at 11:00am at the San Francisco Campus (Room 101).

CCA-based artists, designers, and creative teams from all disciplines and fields (including CCA alumni, faculty, and staff) are invited to apply.  CCA faculty, alumni, and staff applicants must include at least one team member who is a current CCA student during the 2018-19 academic year.

The strongest projects will utilize already proven concepts to:

— Pursue an innovative, creative solution that fosters, motivates, or enables individual or collective behavior to address climate change through creative re-use of materials and/or products

— Create a solution that has long-lasting impact beyond the grant period, and logical metrics/measures for its success.

Proposals in ALL media encouraged! All students, faculty, alumni, and staff in all media and from all divisions are invited to submit proposals (all teams must include at least one team member who is a CCA student during the current academic year).

If you are looking to build a team, please visit the IMPACT Award Creative Workforce shared Google spreadsheet  for contact information of interested CCA artists and designers with specific skill sets…

View the Keynote Presentation on the 2019 IMPACT Award Information session here.

View and complete your 2019 IMPACT Award Application here.

View a PDF of the 2019 IMPACT Award Application here.

Questions? Write


The IMPACT Award is a CCA-wide competition, awarding the top two individuals or teams with $25,000 and a network of resources to complete an innovative project cultivating social and/or environmental responsibility.
The California College of the Arts prepares its graduates to be the next generation of socially responsible cultural leaders. The school functions as an incubator for artists, designers, and scholars, who learn from internationally renowned faculty and a rich landscape of community and technology partners working at the intersection of creativity and social innovation. Given the unique setting in the San Francisco Bay Area—the hub of global innovation—the academic experience is like no other, inspiring students to research, create and innovate with the potential to shape the world around them.
The annual IMPACT Award leverages the passion, creativity, and ingenuity of artists and designers in the field of sustainability and social impact. Each year, the IMPACT Award focuses on a specific concept addressing a pressing social or environmental challenge. The award also provides a network of resources and partnerships to outstanding CCA-based individuals or teams to enable them to complete a project of lasting environmental or social impact over the course of one year.
The 2019 IMPACT Awards are generously supported by Thurlow Washam and the IMPACT Fund at the Center for Impact at California College of the Arts.
All students, faculty, alumni, and staff in all media are invited to submit proposals (all teams must include at least one team member who is a current CCA student during the current academic year).


*CNN: “Earth has 12 years to avert climate change catastrophe, warns UN report

90 climate scientists from 40 countries conclude that if humans don’t take immediate, collective action to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040, the consequences will effectively be baked into the natural systems of the planet. The authors state unequivocally that governments and populations must make “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” if we’re to beat the clock and save the planet.

**VOX:   “It is absolutely time to panic about climate change

***NRDC, OnEarth:  “Climate Scientists to World: We Have Only 20 Years Before There’s No Turning Back