CSSSA People – Phoebe Schenker

Lands End Lookout

Meet Phoebe!

Architect Phoebe Schenker attended the California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Visual Arts program in 1995 where she studied photography. Coming from a small town where she attended public school, she had a hard time finding like-minded artists. But the current of her life changed dramatically when she attended CSSSA because for first time she was surrounded by artistic peers and professional working adults who taught classes and visited as guest artists.

California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) Bridge To College

“I think it was really transformational for me to realize there was a whole world outside of my small town. And now I’ve joined that world, and that was all because of CSSSA.”


One of her favorite CSSSA memories was wandering into the CalArts main gallery where she found two acoustic guitarists riffing Spanish Flamenco music and she had never seen anything like it before. She sat down and sketched it out so she wouldn’t lose that magical moment.

Phoebe Schenker

Phoebe attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is now a senior associate at the prestigious EHDD Architecture in San Francisco. She spends her day designing some of the most impressive buildings in the Bay Area, including the Lands End Lookout.


Another example of Phoebe’s work with with EHDD includes The Presidio Exchange (PX) design which  is a collaborative effort with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (GGNPC).

2014-01-15_PresidioExchange_LookingWest SML

Reflecting on her current work and how it ties to her early art education Phoebe says “My art background taught me how to communicate visually which I use in my job everyday. I also learned the value of a solid technical understanding to make art that looks effortless and that is a core belief of what makes good architecture.

Even though her work life is rewarding Phoebe finds self-expression through her photography. “My job is very creative, but I still find time to sketch and take photos in my free time. Architecture is a collaborative as well as a service profession (i.e. you’re working for a client) which I enjoy, but getting to be the sole author sometimes is a nice outlet!”


Follow Phoebe on Instagram @phoeeby

“The further on I get in my professional career the more I become mentor and critic to a younger generation of designers, rather than the one putting pen to paper (so to speak – it’s mostly digital these days!). I find this to be creatively rewarding in an entirely different way.”

A Little About CSSSA:

California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) is a four-week intensive residential program for motivated and talented high school students. It offers seven disciplines, including: Animation, Creative Writing, Dance, Film, Music, Theater, Visual Arts. All California students who qualify are awarded scholarships to attend by the CSSSA Foundation.

The CSSSA Foundation is dedicated to preparing students for a creative life. In the development of the Bridge to College program, young artists have the integral resources they need to build a future in the arts. One of the many resources available, is a set of college pocket guides detailing the programs at colleges and universities in and out of California. To learn more about the CSSSA Foundation Bridge to College program, visit csssaf.org.

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