CalArts Represents at 2018 College Art Association Conference

The College Art Association, (CAA), holds an annual international conference each year in major cities throughout the United States, at which academics, artists and professionals in the visual arts convene for a weekend of special events and panels.

This year, CalArts was a major presence at the conference, which was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center from February 21-24, 2018. In addition to the Institute’s major sponsorship of the event, numerous members of our community participated in the weekend’s scheduled programs.

Noted artist and School of Art Faculty Charles Gaines (video below) delivered the keynote address at the CAA Convocation, held on the first evening of the conference. The opening also included a welcome from CAA President Suzanne Blier and CAA Executive Director Hunter O’Hanian as well as the Presentation of Annual Awards and Distinctions.

At the reception held later that evening, two students from CalArts’s Herb Alpert School of Music, Manu Beker (BFA 1) and Ziyad Marcus (MFA 1), performed solo pieces. “Besides the performance, it felt great to be able to represent the CalArts community,” said Beker. “It's a great honor to bear the CalArts name, and it certainly made me more passionate about and invested approaching the event.”

Both the CalArts School of Art and the School of Critical Studies exhibited at the conference's Book and Trade Fair. East of Borneo, an online journal, and publication founded and edited by School of Art Dean Tom Lawson held a book signing for the launch of three new books published in the series, Some Place Chronicles.

Written and illustrated by Lawson and CalArts faculty Harry Gamboa Jr. and Jeannene Przyblyski, and in agreement with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the books are part of a placemaking project, focused on various unincorporated communities in South Los Angeles. “These projects were complex and took some time to develop. Then a variety of headwinds struck,” said Lawson. On debuting the books during a conference of fellow artists Lawson said, “It felt great to share them, ‘hot off the press’ in this way with a cross-section of our colleagues from across the country. Everybody who came by the booth seemed genuinely interested and intrigued.”

School of Critical Studies Dean Amanda Beech, along with faculty members Arne de Boever, James Wiltgen and Andrew Culp were panelists for Art and Reason: Art’s Possible Worlds. Other Critical Studies faculty—Janet Sarbanes, Ken Ehrlich, Allison Yasukawa, and Matias Viegener— also presented at the conference.

Friday evening, CalArts Alumnx Engagement Staff and Tom Lawson hosted a mixer at Barcito, around the block from the Convention Center. CalArts community from all métiers joined to catch up over drinks in scenic and ever-changing downtown Los Angeles, an ideal locale for artists, academics and professionals in the field to celebrate the city’s growing impact in the visual arts.

—Ani Tatintsyan

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