1970 marked the middle in a period of exceptional growth and change at the college. As the post-war “baby boomers” came of college age, enrollment nearly tripled over the course of a decade, and CCAC stood as one point in a powerful art resource triangle in the Bay Area with the Oakland Museum of Art and the School of Environmental Design at The University of California at Berkeley.
However, at the outset of the 60’s the CCAC campus included a mixture of buildings of varying ages, styles, sizes, and contemporary usefulness. The original Treadwell buildings, the Woodworking Studio (Facilities Building), and the Crafts Building (B Building) had all been added to several times and Guild Hall was still flanked by post war barracks. Circulation through the campus reflected a time when the small winding paths needed only to accommodate horse-drawn carriages. In 1964, CCAC President Harry Ford hired the architecture and planning firm of DeMars and Reay to create a forward-thinking development program, and the school began renting space for gallery exhibitions and classes off campus on the west side of Broadway and on College Avenue. By the end of the 70’s, CCAC’s Oakland campus began to look very much how it does today with the addition of four major buildings and started to have a presence in San Francisco with its new Interiors Program and the foundations of Architecture at the college.
CCAC continued to enjoy a strong reputation for artistic and academic education, attracting well-known teachers and a diverse and ambitious student body. In 1970, Dr. Michael Oshoosi Wright founded the Ethnic Studies Program and Black Studies Institute establishing the college as the only art institution with programming based in Ethnic Studies. In 1965, CCAC welcomed alum Viola Frey to the faculty, who along with alumni Peter Volkous and Robert Arneson brought international prestige to the ceramics department. This growing reputation, due to exceptional faculty, brought special visitors to campus for class visits, public programming, exhibitions, and honorary degrees.
“Onward and Definitely Upward!”, pulled from the Winter 1968 newsletter featuring a campus construction update, looks back fifty years ago, marking this time of incredible growth in size, space, discourse, and reputation.