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Cecile McCann and ArtWeek: A Pioneering Force in the 1970s Art World

Cecile Nelken McCann, an influential artist and visionary based in the Bay Area, was born in New Orleans in 1917. She pursued her education at Vassar College and Tulane University before relocating to California in 1960. There, she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees in fine art from San Jose State University. In 1968, she embarked on a creative journey that would leave an indelible mark on art history by establishing Artweek magazine.

A true trailblazer, Ms. McCann excelled not only as an artist but also as a pioneering publisher. Her artistic prowess spanned diverse mediums, encompassing pottery, sculpting, glassblowing, and jewelry making. These talents garnered her well-deserved acclaim and recognition. Notably, she developed an innovative technique that ingeniously fused metal and ceramics, resulting in exquisite sculptural pottery.

The year 1968 marked a pivotal moment as Ms. McCann founded Artweek, a groundbreaking publication that became the inaugural West Coast weekly art newspaper. Swiftly emerging as a resonant voice within the national contemporary art scene, Artweek dedicated itself to celebrating the exceptional talents of West Coast artists. For two decades, Ms. McCann served as the dedicated editor and publisher, consistently shining a spotlight on the creative brilliance of West Coast visionaries.

Throughout her lifetime, Ms. McCann earned numerous accolades that testified to her lasting impact on the artistic realm. Most notably, she received an ArtTable award from Gov. Pete Wilson in 1992 and was honored with an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1989.

Beyond her individual achievements, Ms. McCann played a crucial role in art communities and organizations. She was a founding member of the Northern California chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art, and her involvement extended to the International Association of Art Critics (USA). Additionally, her influence extended to the governance of the Di Rosa Foundation and the Oakland Public Art Advisory Committee.

Today, the ArtWeek continues to honor its heritage while embracing modern mediums and technology. It remains dedicated to celebrating the diverse spectrum of contemporary artistic expression. As we delve into the history of Artweek, we pay tribute to its founder and the profound impact it has wielded in shaping the artistic landscape. The evolution from its inception to its current digital incarnation serves as a testament to the abiding power of art, capable of transcending time and evolving alongside the ever-changing tides of technology.