California College of the Arts (CCA)

San Francisco
Young Adults,

Parent Reviews

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Check out California College of the Arts.  They have a Saturday morning figure drawing class for high school students, at their Oakland campus.  Here's their link:

CCA also has summer pre-college programs for high school students. It's intensive and expensive, but the students earn college credits - often also accepted as high school credits which can boost a GPA as college classes are double credit and given a full grade boost.  They probably also have some financial aid.

Also, my daughter took a Berkeley City College evening class "Beginning Figure Drawing and Anatomy."  You'll need permission from her high school for her to register concurrently (BCC has a Concurrent Enrollment form the high school has to complete.)  But make sure there is space in the class before you go through all of that.  The figure drawing classes fill up quickly because it is an inexpensive way to get access to live models. 

My daughter enjoyed both of these classes, and is now an illustration major at CCA.

Also check Meet-Up for figure drawing sessions. There are a number of them around.

anime style drawing (Feb 10, 2017)

Hi! We contacted CCA college in Oakland to find an individual art tutor (asked for recommendations based on my daughters style). It's been great and they come to our house. 

If you're looking to have her stay in the bay area you should check out Mills! It's an all women's college and has a very supportive/community feeling. I believe they also let students cross register at California College of the Arts so she could explore metal arts, etc.. Mills has a strong activist community as well and an excellent womens and queer studies department.

That said, if she is more interested in the arts, California College of the Arts is also a wonderful experience just not as heavy on the academics.

Both, in my experience, offer pretty good financial aid and scholarship packages. Both are very supportive environments for LGBT kids.

As a queer woman I really enjoyed my time at both schools!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

California College of Art Pre-College Summer Program

June 2015

I'm looking for people who have had experiences with the California College of Art Pre-College Program. My son is thinking about doing the filmmaking program this summer. Would love to hear from families whose kids have participated in the past. Is it well run? Fun? Engaging? Are the out-of-class activities well structured? Thanks for any recommendations or advice you can share.

I have nothing but good things to say about CCA Pre-College. My daughter was a regular there for many summers and had overwhelmingly great classes, made good friends, found her tribe. The after-class activities were plentiful and fun. A good number of teens come from outside the area, so the group is pretty stimulating. I don't have any first-hand knowledge of the filmmaking classes, but the program is very well run for all age groups. art mom

My daughter did the painting and drawing program two summers back, the summer before her senior year in high school. She lived at home, as we are close to the Oakland campus. It was a fantastic experience for her -- she was just on fire with her painting and drawing, would spend all day in class, come home for dinner, and then head right back to campus so she could work on her paintings in the studio. I'm not quite sure what it was about the instruction that she found so inspiring (although I do know she had a great deal of respect for her teachers as artists), but she really developed as an artist. She also enjoyed hanging out with the other students, both those living on-campus and the commuters like herself. (And final note: you will see some astonishing art in the end-of-session show.) Signed, mom of an artist

Experience with the Pre-College Program at Calif. College of the Arts?

Oct 2012

My 15 year old son is considering applying to attend the summer 2013 session of Calif. College of the Arts Pre-College program, in Oakland. I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone about the experience other teens had in that program. Thank you. anon

My daughter had a very positive experience at the CCA pre-college summer program, and as someone who went to art school I can vouch for the high quality instruction it offers young artists. The teachers seemed energetic, fun and caring, and my daughter got a lot out of going. It definitely gives young students a chance to experience college level curriculum and the same level of discipline and focus necessary for a studio class at the college level. The program seemed to attract some very accomplished artistic students who were creating amazing work, as well as students who came to explore new mediums for the first time. Great program. I credit this program for preparing my daughter for her first college level drawing class that she took last spring as a sophmore in college. In fact, she used her CCA portfolio to convince her drawing teacher to allow her to enroll in the more advanced drawing class instead of the required beginning class. Hope your son will enjoy the program if he decides to go. Artist Mom

Feb 2011

We would really appreciate updated information from families who have experience at any of the arts schools, including Oakland School of the Arts, Marin School of the Arts, or San Francisco School for the Arts, especially in the theater arts programs (but if in other programs, about several factors in general). How are the academic classes and teachers? How is school and classroom culture? Any other information that might be relevant to our decision would be very welcome. We need to decide soon. jen

California College for the Arts (at College and Broadway in Oakland) offers a summer program. I took it during high school for 2 summers and it was FABULOUS. Comprehensive overview of drawing techniques at the time; they have probably updated the curriculum. It's worth asking them.

April 2006

Re: Art Camp or Workshop for my 14 year old
Call California College of the Arts on Clarement Avenue and ask for the Young Artist Studio Program. It offers excellent classes for middle schoolers and high schoolers. jdeloison

April 2006

Re: Art Camp or Workshop for my 14 year old My son attended California College for the Arts - they have a youth art program in the summer ( 2 week program) that was wonderful. All kids have to take life drawing and then there are many electives. The college is in Oakland at Broadway and 51st. I highly recommend the program. Professional artists taught and there was an excitement and energy. I would call right away as they fill up quickly. anon

April 2006

Hi, Does anyone have experience (good or bad) with the Young Artist Studio Program at the California College of the Arts? We're interested in sending our 12 year old to an art camp that is fun but also teaches technique. Any advice is appreciated. Tim

My son went for two years and we were really happy with the program. It is very serious and the teachers are professors at CCA. They don't teach down to the students at all, and have high expectations. It is definitely one of the best art experiences around for students of that age. Lucy

July 2001

Re: Beginning Adult Photography Class
The California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland is fabulous! They have a wonderful darkroom and most of the teachers from whom I've taken courses are very patient but also talented.