University description (as per official university website)
CalArts is the first U.S. higher educational institution to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in both visual and performing arts. It was established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney through the merger of two professional schools, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, founded in 1883, and the Chouinard Art Institute, founded in 1921. CalArts moved to its permanent home in Valencia in 1971 and added degree programs in dance, film and theater to those in art and music. A graduate writing program was subsequently created in 1994.
Since its founding, CalArts has been recognized internationally as a leader in every discipline in which it provides instruction. Its faculty and alumni have defined, and continue to extend, the very forefront of creative practice as we know it today.
After receiving accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, CalArts is introduced to the public by Walt Disney in a fundraiser at the Hollywood premiere of Mary Poppins.
Walt Disney dies. His plans for CalArts proceed nonetheless with the support of the Disney family and other benefactors.
Robert W. Corrigan, dean of New York University’s School of the Arts, becomes the first president of CalArts. Herbert Blau, co-director of the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, is appointed provost. Blau takes the lead in designing a radical educational program that favors independent artistic work over rigid curricula, collegial relationships among a diverse community of artists over hierarchies of teacher and student, and continuous interaction and cross-pollination among the different branches of the arts over the self-containment of each discipline.
Corrigan and Blau assemble a high-powered faculty by recruiting some of the most innovative and unorthodox voices in the arts. This new faculty includes now-iconic figures such as artists Allan Kaprow and Nam June Paik; choreographer Bella Lewitzky; composers Mel Powell and Morton Subotnick; designers Peter and Sheila DeBretteville; film director Alexander MacKendrick; and animation artist Jules Engel. CalArts accepts its first students. "The Great Ground Breaking” starts construction of a new campus in Valencia, 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.
CalArts begins its first academic year at an interim campus at Villa Cabrini in Burbank. It offers degree program through six Schools: Art, Critical Studies, Design, Film, Music, and Theater and Dance.
New campus opens in Valencia, with more than 650 students enrolled for the fall semester. Faculty members Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro establish the Feminist Art Program—the first such course of study in American higher education.
Following the earlier departure of Robert Corrigan, Robert J. Fitzpatrick, professor of medieval French literature and dean of students at Johns Hopkins University, is appointed new president of CalArts.
CalArts’ growing reputation for artistic excellence is confirmed as it receives a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Challenge Grant—one of the first such grants ever awarded to an arts training institution.
President Robert Fitzpatrick serves as director of the hugely successful Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival. The largest arts showcase ever held in the United States, the festival features more than 400 performances by an eclectic array of artists from the globe, with an emphasis on experimental and avant-garde practices.
Robert Fitzpatrick resigns as president to head Euro Disney in Paris. Nicholas England, former dean of the School of Music, is appointed acting president.
Steven D. Lavine, associate director for arts and humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation, is named new president of CalArts.
CalArts launches the Community Arts Partnership (CAP), an innovative youth arts education program that links the Institute with community arts organizations. The program’s first community partners include Plaza de la Raza and the Watts Towers Arts Center. By 2007, CAP partners number 18 arts groups across Los Angeles County and 18 LAUSD continuation high schools. First-ever capital campaign aims to raise $60 million over five years.
CalArts sustains damages totaling more than $15 million during the Northridge earthquake. Classes continue in trailers and off-campus sites during the spring semester. Resoration of the campus is completed ahead of the fall semester.
The School of Critical Studies offers a new MFA degree program in writing. The Herb Alpert Foundation joins with CalArts to establish the Alpert Awards in the Arts—five $50,000 fellowships given each year to “early mid-career” artists in the fields of dance, film/video, music, theater and visual arts. The awards are administered by CalArts on behalf of the Alpert Foundation. CalArts exceeds capital campaign goal as it raises a total of $71 million.
The Center for Integrated Media offers a new supplemental concentration for graduate students working with digital media across traditional disciplines.
As plans take shape for the construction of Walt Disney Concert Hall—a new downtown Los Angeles landmark designed by Frank O. Gehry—longtime benefactors Roy E. and Patty Disney provide initial funding for a separate CalArts performance space and gallery: the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), named after Roy E. Disney’s parents.
The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts is established at the School of Theater.
CalArts inaugurates Center for New Theater as the professional producing arm of the School of Theater. Its debut production is Bad Behavior, by Richard Foreman and Sophie Haviland.
The School of Theater launches the Writing for Performance Program, with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks serving as director. The New York-based Board of Overseers is established as an advisory panel.
Impact study shows that CalArts contributes more than $47 million each year to the economy of Southern California.
Mark Murphy is named executive director of REDCAT. Eungie Joo is appointed curator and director of the Gallery at REDCAT. The programming to be presented at CalArts’ new downtown center for innovative visual, performing and media arts is divided into three equal parts: work by high-profile international artists, work by emerging Southern California-based artists, and work developed at CalArts. Many of the artists featured at REDCAT will also visit the Valencia campus to give lectures, lead workshops and conduct master classes. The School of Art and Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London join forces to publish the international art journal Afterall.
REDCAT opens in downtown Los Angeles in November. The state-of-the-art venue is dedicated during a 24-hour gala celebration.
The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance is dedicated in memory of the longstanding CalArts benefactor. Nancy J. Uscher, associate provost of the University of New Mexico, becomes provost of CalArts. The MFA Writing Program publishes first issue of Black Clock, a literary journal edited by faculty member Steve Erickson.
The annual Alpert Awards in the Arts introduce a new series of smaller residency prizes in addition to the five $50,000 fellowships.
CalArts becomes the first American film school to be honored with a full retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art. Austin M. Beutner succeeds Lawrence J. Ramer as Board of Trustees chairman. Center for New Theater is expanded into Center for New Performance (CNP), a new production entity encompassing music, dance and interdisciplinary performance in addition to theater. Linking the artistic resources and values of CalArts with the wider professional community, CNP serves as a unique platform for the development and realization of daring original work. CNP’s premiere production is What to Wear, an experimental opera by Richard Foreman and Michael Gordon. The $125 million Campaign for CalArts enters its public phase with a star-studded gala at REDCAT. Of this amount, more than $105 million has already been raised during the quiet phase of the campaign.
The mission of the Financial Aid Office at CalArts is to help students in meeting their costs of attendance at the institute. CalArts is committed to offering a wide range of financial assistance to its students. While the primary responsibility for meeting college costs rests with the student and the student’s family, many families have limited resources and are unable to meet the high cost of college without financial assistance. Therefore, all applicants to CalArts are encouraged to apply for financial aid. (Applying for admission and applying for financial aid are two separate processes.) International students are not eligible for federal and state assistance.
For the most part, funds made available through the Financial Aid Office are awarded on a combination of demonstrated need and artistic merit. Need is determined by completing and submitting the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid/Renewal Free Application for Federal Student Aid). CalArts also offers a few merit-only awards, however, to be eligible for these awards, you must have completed your financial aid file.
Read through this information and review the sample budgets. Know approximately what your costs will be for an academic year and draw up your own personal budget. With some early planning on your part and some assistance from our office, we know your academic year at CalArts will not only be financially possible, but a pleasant experience as well.