The toll of COVID-19 on essential workers, the confluence of climate refugees with the Bay Area’s housing crisis, and the impact of wildfire smoke on communities of color already burdened by environmental toxins have revealed a confluence of deep-seated legacies of racial and class inequity with the rapid and unceasing grind toward climate change. We have seen little tangible leadership by the national government or those with access to resources and capital to prevent or mitigate this collision of forces, often in spite of innovative practices championed by community-based activists, entrepreneurs, scholars and artists. Within this context, a group of faculty at California College of the Arts have come together to refocus the school’s pathways towards a deeply considered and empowered vision of the environment as something inseparable from social and racial justice.

Under the name E-School, this collaborative and the classes they teach ask how artists, designers, writers and architects can find novel opportunities through the legacies of environmentalism, indigeneity, environmental justice, resource ownership, climate justice, circular economies, and Green New Deal, among many other narratives. E-School also strives to make CCA a leader in the environmental justice movement by foregrounding the inextricable link between social and racial inequity and climate change through courses taught across the College.

This inaugural E-School exhibition brings together student work from courses taught by E-School faculty Kim Anno, Curtis Arima, Janette Kim, and Ren Fiss in Spring 2021.