California Institute of the Arts Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

In its time, Walt Disney’s utopian vision for arts education was revolutionary: a community that would bring together every discipline in the arts, where artists would work across boundaries to inspire one another, invent new forms, and experiment in ways that no one had before.

That vision became the California Institute of the Arts, a global community of collaborative innovators who have for decades set the leading edge of contemporary artistic practice. From conceptualism, feminist art, and computer music in its earliest years through performance art, the Pixar revolution, SpongeBob, and the latest directions in hybrid arts and immersive experiences, generations of eclectic CalArtians have shaped and modeled how the world understands and sees itself today and seeded visions for the future.

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In October, the institute — located on the north end of metro LA in Valencia, California — kicked off a yearlong celebration of its 50th anniversary. With a greater breadth and diversity of art-making than at any point in its history, CalArts is honoring the past by doing what it does best: continuing to create the future.

I think the founders — both faculty and trustees — would be very proud today. We are the community where artists come to be with other artists — across many generations — and reimagine the world together. Our approach to cooperative art-making has given people everywhere new ways to comprehend their own potential, and life itself.

Ravi S. Rajan, California Institute of the Arts President

With just 14,000 alumnx, the CalArts community achieves an outsized impact for its size. Programs spanning art, design, film, music, writing, theater, and dance work together, despite the conventions of the academy, to endow artists with lifelong connections that help fuel their practice. By growing and experimenting together, CalArtians make possible one another’s indelible impacts on the world.

The merger of the Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, which created CalArts, illustrates the institute’s ethic to this day: artists are stronger together.

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