Read about us
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts is a nonprofit exhibition venue and research institute dedicated to contemporary art and ideas. The Wattis is a laboratory for testing the future of contemporary art through temporary exhibitions, public events, and in-depth research. It is part of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

Our Mission:
What and how can we learn from artists today?

Our Approach:
The Wattis supports artists who take risks and experiment with new ideas. We provide a public forum to established, emerging, and under-recognized artists who challenge our ways of understanding the art of our current moment.

We currently work with artists in two distinct ways: as an exhibition space, we show new and existing work by artists from around the world; and as a research institute, we commit an entire year to reflecting on the questions posed by a single artist’s work.

Our History:
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was founded in 1998 at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Initiated by Larry Rinder, it was originally called the CCAC Institute of Exhibitions and Public Programming. In 2002, it was renamed the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. In 2013, it moved from CCA's main campus to its own building a few blocks away. Subsequently to Rinder's directorship, the Wattis has been led by Ralph Rugoff (2000 - 2006), Jens Hoffmann (2006 - 2012), and Anthony Huberman (2013 - present).

Upon its founding in 1998, the Wattis also absorbed Capp Street Project, one of the earliest and longest-running artist-in-residence programs in the country, founded in 1983 by Ann Hatch. Building on that history, the Wattis Institute hosts a Capp Street Artist-in-Residence every year and invites an artist to come live and work in San Francisco for a semester, to teach a graduate seminar at CCA, and to present an exhibition. More about that here.

The Wattis Institute has also collaborated with students and faculty members in other programs at CCA, including the Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice, the Graduate Program in Fine Arts, and the Graduate Program in Visual and Critical Studies, among others.

The CCA Wattis Institute program is generously supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The Westridge Foundation, Daniel and Manizeh Rimer, San Francisco Grants for the Arts, Penny and Jim Coulter, Gina and Stuart Peterson, Jonathan Gans and Abigail Turin, and CCA Wattis Institute’s Curator’s Forum. Phyllis C. Wattis was the generous founding patron.