Candice López

2009 Fellow, named by AIGA San Diego

Candice López, professor, San Diego City College Graphic Design

Candice is an educator and design activist who teaches at an inner city community college in the heart of downtown San Diego. The campus serves a diverse student population and is located on the trolley line linking the U.S./Mexico border region. For 20 years the SDCC program has worked to open the door for minorities hoping to enter the design profession. She established a study abroad program and exchange with the UNESCO world heritage city of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where she lives part-time and has led study abroad programs to Italy, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland. Candice challenges her students to think about social responsibility, culture, communication and the development of global competencies to thrive in our increasingly interconnected world.

López founded the Urban Art Trail project that transformed miles of urban areas plagued by blight and drug activity. Together with students, professional designers and community volunteers the group painted murals, sidewalk poetry and hundreds of electrical boxes with colorful graphics. Artful street benches, mosaics and pocket parks were created with nesting boxes for birds. Serving as arts and culture chair of the San Diego downtown vision plan she worked to promote design and public art as an integral part of new development. A former V.P., Education and Community Outreach chair she established the AIGA San Diego Link program to work with at risk high school students with an interest in art and design.

Teaming up with her husband, illustrator Rafael López, she continues to paint large-scale murals with elementary school children, teachers and families and is committed to bring art into our public school campuses and classrooms. In a collaborative grassroots effort the couple worked to win Latino voters in the swing states by developing an image that became an Artist for Obama national campaign poster.