Letter from CalArts' President Ravi S. Rajan

Dear CalArtians and friends, old and new:

Just over a half-century ago, Walt Disney imagined building a school which was a community of artists without walls. His brother Roy, and friends Nelbert Chouinard and Lulu May Von Hagen worked with him to turn that vision into reality.

Instead of separating solely by discipline, CalArts was to be a place where artists would find inspiration in one another, spark new thought and reshape not only the arts and culture but also the world.

This season we honor the lasting accomplishments of that collaborative spirit as we mark the 50th anniversary of the California Institute of the Arts in Valenica. Our cooperative art-making has empowered people around the globe to see their communities, their own potential, and life itself in vital new ways. 

CalArtians have indeed changed the world.

Because we always look forward, we celebrate this landmark by recommitting CalArts to the future — to transforming ourselves, one another, and the world with bigger, bolder strokes. Our extraordinary legacy calls on us to define the future together.

Through our Strategic Framework, we’ve set a firm foundation to support this journey. In recognizing where we’ve been, we energize where we’re going.

And so as you cheer and marvel at CalArts, do embrace and decide what comes next. Take the reins and lift up one another. In this moment and for the years to come, it’s the best way to celebrate.

With gratitude,

Ravi S. Rajan

President, California Institute of the Arts

Exploring the Last 50 Years of CalArts

1971-2021

Over the years, various CalArts timelines have been created to capture the Institute’s milestones and memories. We’ve created this one as a special 50th anniversary edition.

Click on the decades below to view CalArts throughout the years.

Memories

I remember one of my first days at CalArts going to see what used to be called a Yokoncert in the Main Gallery. I was enjoying a nice concert of chamber music when a group of theater students approached the audience with plastic rifles and rope. They surrounded the audience with the rope and stole them all. They took them to a theater performance that was going on at the same time in a different location. That was truly a captive audience! Countless memories … that is just one of the first.”

Stuart Horn (Music MFA 83)

CalArts Memories

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