CCA Galleries Showcase Student Art

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College’s Galleries on College
Saturday, March 2, 2013

For all the neighborhoods that College Avenue traverses between Bancroft Avenue in Berkeley and Broadway in Oakland, and for all the opportunities presented to shoppers and residents to learn the ins and outs of the avenue, there are always new nooks and crannies to discover and explore. Some are just obscure or hard to find, others may be hidden in the shadow of a better-known parent institution.

Across Broadway from its angled intersection with College Avenue sits CCA, the California College of the Arts, a school dedicated to fine arts and design since its founding in Berkeley in 1907. Following several location and name changes in its early years, the school has stayed at its present site since 1922. It also now has a San Francisco campus as well.

Over the years, the school has grown, sprouting a few new buildings outside of its original boundary and occupying other nearby, existing structures for its classes and associated uses.

A glance at the map on one of the Oakland campus’s website pages (http://www.cca.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/08/CCA-oakland-map-detailed.pdf) shows housing and studio space on Broadway Terrace and classrooms in buildings facing Broadway that stretch across their lots to also front on College Avenue.  In addition, College Avenue near Broadway hosts several dedicated art gallery spaces, the North/South Galleries, and gallery offices.

Although it is a low-profile expansion, the school’s use of these existing buildings as galleries offers a further opportunity for Rockridge residents to get to know a bit more about a neighbor in their own backyard.

The North/South Gallery, a series of repurposed store fronts at 5241 College, for example, offers shows curated and installed by student artists  who use it to develop their craft and meet with gallery visitors. The Oakland gallery programs rotate weekly and include a reception held Wednesdays, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Wednesdays, 6 p.m.– 7:30 p.m. On Sunday and Monday, the galleries are closed to visitors while exhibitions are changed. During the changes, white blinds block the windows, giving the deceptive appearance of a lack of activity to this beehive of art shows.

Another student art display area, more of a street-front gallery viewable from the sidewalk, can be found at 5288 College Avenue.

The next time you are out and about in the College/Broadway area, you might make time to take in a few of the gallery exhibits. A well-timed visit could finish with a meal and cocktail just down the block at one of the many nearby restaurants, followed by a little self-directed shopping therapy.