The Council works with the Institute through the Office of Alumnx and Family Engagement to provide initiatives and resources that support fellow graduates. Council leaders include a Chair and a Representative to the Board of Trustees. Each member has generously volunteered their time to reinforce the CalArts community.

Council Members

Representative to the Board of Trustees: Meg Cranston  (Art MFA 86; Chair of Fine Arts, Otis College of Art and Design) Liaison for broad strategies that impact students and alumnx.

Recent Graduates Leader: Clarissa Crawford (Theater MFA 15; Theater Producer) Initiatives that address and support the needs of recent grads, especially those from the last five years.

Campus in the Community Leader: John D'Amico (Critical Studies MA 09; Former Mayor of West Hollywood; current West Hollywood City Councilperson) Strengthening the Institute's presence and relationship with the communities of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles.

Bridges Leader: Alexi Gehring (Photography and Media BFA 00, Film/Video MFA 03; Fine Arts Photographer and Experimental Video Artist) Creating bridges back to the Institute through on-campus involvement and support offered to alumnx out in the world.

Pathways Leader: Kali Nikitas (Art MFA 90; Graphic Designer; Chair, Communication Arts and MFA Graphic Design Program, Otis College of Art and Design; Arts Commissioner at Large, City of Inglewood). Building support for alumnx leaving CalArts, entering into lives and careers that may be non-traditional.

Chair: John Schwerbel (Music BFA 14, Artistic Planning Coordinator, Los Angeles Philharmonic) Leadership of Council activities and initiatives


Alumnx Council Seed Grants 

Alumnx Council Grants are a way the Institute gives back to alumnx artists through seed funding for projects and happenings that promote alumnx community connection, collaboration, inclusion, and impact on the arts. Proposals that are collaborative, experimental, reflect our community’s diversity, and involve the participation of multiple alumnx are encouraged. This initiative values partnership among CalArts, the alumnx community, and the Alumnx Council.   

Grants may be applied toward expenses such as, but not limited to, production, equipment, rentals, supplies, hospitality, printing, promotions, etc. Proposed projects should be open to/shareable with the alumnx community; weblinks, prints, exhibits, RSVP and/or registration (for events) are allowable and recommended. The goal is for the end product to be accessible to the alumnx community.    

Twelve grants of $500 each will be awarded between two cycles (six in each cycle) in the 2019-20 year. These grants are funded by the Office of Alumnx Engagement via the CalArts Fund, the primary vehicle by which alumnx support their schools, scholarships, students, and initiatives such as this. 

Application Deadline

Award Notification


Fall Cycle: Sunday, December 1, 2019, 5pm PST January 15, 2020  By February 15, 2020 
Spring Cycle: Wednesday, April 1, 2020, 5PM PST  April 22, 2020 By May 1, 2020

Alumnx Council Seed Grant Application

To lend your support to the CalArts Fund, which helps to contribute to initiatives like the Alumnx Council Grants, click on the button below: 

Give to the CalArts Fund

Past Alumnx Council Seed Grant Awardees

Spring 2019 Awardees

Awardee's Name

Alumni Collaborators

Project Title & Description

 Project Links

Fernando Belo Valentina Pelayo República Madalena is a short documentary about student housing at the University of São by the Brazilian military government in the 60s.
Kathryn Falcone The Reapers at Woodbrock is a new play written by Local Playwright Mardee Bennett and produced by CalArts alumni Kathryn Falcone through her theatre company The Collaborative Theater. This script delves into Baltimore community and the importance of history and family legacy.  
Rafael Luna
Jason Oberman, Serena Hughes  A Shift in Color is a project consisting of a 5 track EP of original compositions for flute and guitar. Experimental animator Serena Hughes will create album art based off of the music.
Jody Zellon
Brian Moss
What's on Los Angeles is a mobile-friendly website and mobile app offering a comprehensive weekly listing of local arts exhibitions, openings, and closings in Los Angeles.
Heidi Jo Gilbert
 Glen Keane, Jennifer Hager, Minkyu Lee, Jenny Lerew, Adrian Molina, Steven Mcleod, Joel Crawford, John Sanford, Craig McCracken
A section of animation drawings from the song "Part of Your World" were stolen in the 1990's. This podcast will leverage CalArts alumnx to locate and restore the drawings to their creator, Glen Keane, exploring both his and the song's impact on the next generation of the animation industry.  

Fall 2018 Awardees

Awardee's Name Alumni Collaborators Project Title & Description  Project Links
Harold Abramowitz
RAD! Residencies is a new critical-creative literary series that hosts writers to participate in three related events over a defined period of time. It is centered around a question or theme that they are currently exploring in their work to create a community around urgent topics.
Soyeon Kim Tom Hemker The Sun and The Wind is a short narrative film that is apart of an on-going production. Based on the Aesop's Fable moral "kindness effects more than severity", this film introduces the plot of a dispute between the Sun and the Wind to figure out the superiority between the two.
Edda Kelly Ariel Hart, Vashti Harrison Books for Babes is an arts festival aimed at highlighting female artists via providing children's feminist books to underprivileged women in shelters.
Shaina Simmons Julian Karahalios, Monty Cole, Andrew Lish, Neha Sobti Shaina Shaina Shaina is filming the pilot for the second season of the web series Shaina Shaina. It is a comedic series at the intersections of being black, a woman, and living in the 45 era.
Lucas Martin Aaron Foster Breilyn, Ben Levinson, Amy Golden Co-Incidence is a music festival based on an expanded view of art and music. Following Black Mt. College, it brings together radical artists to take part in an event curated as a social sculpture.

Spring 2018 Awardees

Awardee's Name Alumni Collaborators Project Title & Description Project Links
Joanna Swan John Martin, Darcy Huebler, Kayla Ephros, Nathalie Casagram Lopez, John Olivo, Zach Vidal Open Drawing is a drawing session for introspective, collaborative, and nonjudgmental art making.
Hanul Bahm Fabian Euresti Detonator is a CalArts alumni-driven online arts discovery portal and digital zine.
Alexis MacNab Thadeus Reed, Tane Kawasaki, Sam Breen, Hilario Saavedra, Caitlyn Conlin, Ryan Masson, Nikhil Pai, Nora King, Jacob Gibson, Erica Carpenter, Nils Jansson Home combines puppetry, video design, and physical theater to explore themes of exile, transience, and displacement.
Daniel McNamara
Mobile Object for Drawing (MOD) is a mobile live-animation projection device, at the Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction Conference.
Yanyu Dong Rajee Samarasinghe, Yu Chen, Aashish Khan, Pin-Hua Chen, John Hawk  Ayesha is an imaginary biography of my mother who, in her youth, dreamed of being a Bollywood dancer. In a lush fantasy through India, I reclaim her destiny and desires lost in another age.

Fall 2017 Awardees

Awardee's Name
Alumni Collaborators                      Project Title & Description
 Project Links      
John Hensingsen Alison Keating, Jesse Garrison, Zach Davidson
Galleria was a massive undertaking involving the collaboration of 8 musicians, crossing the disciplines of music, sculpture, performance, writing, and costuming. This subject matter focuses directly on Indigenous, specifically Oglala Lakota, epistemologies through the investigation.
Alison Keating
Wild Art Group is an arts company created to give post-graduate CalArts artists an opportunity to show and experiment with works in progress.
Suzanne Kite Eyvind King (faculty), Kemancheh, Marilu Donovan, Matthew Clough Hunter, Matthew Allen, Hannah Lawton, Mint Park, Devin Ronneberg
Everything I Say is True was a massive undertaking involving the collaboration of 8 musicians, crossing the disciplines of music, sculpture, performance, writing, and costuming. This subject matter focuses directly on Indigenous, specifically Oglala Lakota, epistemologies through the investigation.
 Kestrel Leah  Brigette Dunn-Korpela, Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh, David Moyer, Nathan Nonhof, Craig Gibson, Emma Green Alarm is highly inter-disciplinary, combining a wide range of different artistic skills and cultural perspectives. In response to racial and economic segregation and rising tendencies of nationalism, we make a conscious effort to foster international collaboration.

Dany Naierman Tanya Orellana, Rose Malone, Alexandra Escobar Port Capa: Layers Become Landscapes originated as a New Works Festival 2017 show, and continues as an integral CalArts endeavor. There are hints that we will form a company, and our connection to teach other and the CalArts community is stronger every day.