What is a Chimera?
- A Chimera is a unique creature that combines multiple animals into something greater, without losing the identities of each -- a powerful representation of unity in diversity.— Robyn Wilson (Textiles)
A Chimera ( say "kai-mir-ah") is a mythical creature made up of lion, goat, and snake -- three distinct identities that culminate in a single form and represent an apex of strength, knowledge, and skill.
CCA’s student body is as distinct as a Chimera and just as powerful. We embrace its representation as a strong symbol that aligns our students in creative, multifaceted, and powerful ways.
And like the Chimera, with the confidence to maintain its exceptional form, we too want to be confident in our differences and encourage others to maintain their identities.
The Chimera inspires us to lead by example.
Why a Mascot?
The college’s founder, Frederick Meyer, had a dream for the college, one that would unite the practical and ideological goals of the artist. Because the mythical Chimera was composed of many parts -- often conflicting parts – it is emblematic of an imaginative and creative community.
- We are all here because of our passion and dedication to the arts. As an artist it isn’t uncommon for us to think a little differently or a lot differently from others.— Chase Kumasaka (Animation)
As artists -- but more importantly as Chimeras -- we are challenged to discover new ways of thinking in order to make a positive effect in our lives. Through art, architecture, design, or writing, we strive to give voices to those who have none.
The Chimera also embodies each student’s desire to grow. It stands witness to each student’s limitless potential.
- To be a Chimera is to be a congregation of creative forces capable of reaching a union between conflicting aspirations not only within themselves but within their community.— Scotty Whitney (Writing and Literature)
Creation of Chimera
Presented at 2018 Beyond Storytelling Conference "Re-Authoring Futures" and written by Brooke Hessler, PhD, Director of Learning Resources
Perhaps it is fitting that, in the way of such mythical creatures, the Chimera mascot’s origin is a bit of a mystery at CCA. It seems to have arisen in the college consciousness by the 1980s, showing up in artworks and campus lore, becoming the title of a literary magazine that some say was inspired by the gargoyle chimeras of Notre Dame Cathedral featured in the photography of Vilem Kriz, a noted surrealist and beloved CCA instructor. The Notre Dame chimeras are metaphysical guardian-demons, beautiful and grotesque.
CCA students were inspired by the dual-nature of these creatures and for decades created various interpretations of the chimera as totem, as informal mascot, as character study, and so on. In 2006, student's desire to cultivate a sense of school pride by officially adopting the chimera as the college's mascot. Students were invited to create their own versions of the creature. After a year-long discussion with community members a permanent chimera logo was created as a symbol for unity for CCA.
In partnership with the Office of Student Life, student leaders launched campaigns focused on instilling a sense of school pride and fostering a culture of community.
I am Chimera (2013-2017)
Students, faculty, and staff were photographed for individual posters featuring their image, the heading “I am Chimera because I am . . .” and a caption of their own choosing; for example, “I am Chimera because I am unconventional” or “I am Chimera because I am a believer that differences are our beauty.” The aim of the posters series encouraged everyone to come up with their own definition of chimera.
#chimeraMADE encourages storytelling about how the CCA experience shapes the individuals who study, work, and create there. Everyone who comes to CCA is changed, enriched, by the community. The focus is to highlight the shared identity of the “maker”--whether one’s work is printing or architecture, interaction design or textiles, all are makers. In this way, the campaign attempts to support the interdependence and equality of artists and designers across all disciplines, whether long-established or comparatively new to CCA.