LOS ANGELES, March 15, 2007 – California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) will honor Roy E. Disney and Kara Walker for their contributions to the fields of contemporary art and performance at the REDCAT Gala on Saturday, March 31, 2007. The event will be held at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in downtown Los Angeles. Proceeds from The REDCAT Gala will help support the production and presentation of experimental art and performance at CalArts' downtown center for innovative visual, performing and media arts.
The REDCAT Award has been created to recognize two people each year who exemplify the generosity and talent that define and lead the field of contemporary art. Roy E. Disney and Kara Walker are the inaugural recipients of the REDCAT Award. Exclusively designed for REDCAT by Frank Gehry and fabricated by Tiffany & Co., the REDCAT Award symbolizes the spirit of innovation and passion for which REDCAT is known. One Award this year will be presented to a philanthropist and one Award to an artist. Together these awards embody the invaluable partnership between patron and artist that shapes eras and defines cultures.
A seasoned writer, director and producer of film and television projects, Roy E. Disney is a former longtime senior executive for the Walt Disney Company, which his father Roy O. and his uncle Walt founded. Roy E. has served on the CalArts Board of Trustees for more than 39 years and, along with his family, has remained a strong and active supporter CalArts since its inception. His leadership and generosity launched the construction of REDCAT in honor of his parents. Former CalArts trustee (2001-2005), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will pay tribute to his business and civic colleague. While serving together on the CalArts Board of Trustees, the two men found common interests in their support of a downtown presence for CalArts and for fostering creative work in Los Angeles. Today, these two enthusiastic leaders have a shared pride in the realization and success of REDCAT, which opened in 2003.
Kara Walker is best known for work that reduces representation to its base through her use of black silhouettes. Her exhibition at the Gallery at REDCAT (September 3-October 23, 2005) expanded upon her experiments into projected light and shadow, live performance, and film and video. Walker, who won a MacArthur Foundation "genius award" at age 27, holds an M.F.A. from the Rhode Island Institute of Design and currently teaches at Columbia University's School of the Arts. Thelma Golden, director and chief curator of the Studio Museum in Harlem and former curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, is a long-time supporter of Walker's career and has worked with her on numerous publications and exhibitions. Golden says Walker gets at the heart of issues of race and gender in contemporary life. "Throughout her career, Kara has challenged and changed the way we look at and understand American history. Her work is provocative and emotionally wrenching, yet overwhelmingly beautiful and intellectually compelling."
Through REDCAT, CalArts has created a living laboratory where the rigorous training of its campus environment fuses with the energy and vision of local, national and international artists in all disciplines. As a presenting organization, REDCAT is an important resource for Los Angeles, offering programming that contributes to the city's role as a vital center for artistic invention and discovery.
Guests will enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the REDCAT lobby before entering a transformed REDCAT theater. The evening's festivities also include renowned theater and opera director Peter Sellars and special performances by Ann Magnuson and My Barbarian. A vibrant presence on the New York and Los Angeles art and music scenes, Magnuson is an actress, writer, and lead singer/lyricist of the cult band Bongwater. The radically inventive trio of Alexandro Segade, Jade Gordon, and Malik Gaines that makes up My Barbarian, creates hilarious and provocative events by drawing on such diverse influences as glam-rock, club vaudeville, and Bertolt Brecht.
Expected guests include distinguished and acclaimed artists, business leaders and philanthropists including, event co-chairs Catharine Soros and Eve Steele, Lauren Bon, Mark Bradford, Sam Durant, Bob Egelston, David Fisher, Charmaine Jefferson, Christina Kim, Steven D. Lavine, James Lovelace, Eileen Norton, Catherine Opie, Lawrence and Lee Ramer, Shaun Caley Regen, Jennifer Simchowitz and Bill Viola. Dinner will be catered by Jackson Somerset.
The REDCAT Gala is made possible by the generosity of several lead corporate sponsors including Shamrock Holdings, Inc., UBS, Bank of America, Caviar Affair magazine, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, Sterling Vineyards and Oronoco Rum.
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CalArts is unique in its multidisciplinary approach to studying the arts through its six related schools: Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater. CalArts encourages students to recognize and explore the complexity of the aesthetic, social and political aspects of the arts. It is supported by its distinguished faculty of practicing artists and educates its BFA and MFA students with both the hands-on training and the engagement with the cultural community at large. Founded in 1961, and opened in 1969, CalArts was the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. intended specifically for students interested in pursuing degrees in all areas of the visual and performing arts.
As CalArts' downtown center for innovative visual, media and performing arts, REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, introduces diverse audiences, students and artists to the most influential developments in the arts from around the world, and gives artists in the Los Angeles region the creative support they need to achieve national and international stature. REDCAT is a center for experimentation, discovery and charged civic discourse.