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

Steve Bilow (Music BFA 82; Broadcast & Marketing Professional. Senior Member & SIGGRAPH Pioneer Member, Association for Computing Machinery.  Product Marketing Manager, BlueVolt LLC; Member of the Board of Editors, SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal; Three-Term Member of the Board and Marketing Chair, Friends of Chamber Music, various past nonprofit leadership roles)

Clarissa Crawford (Theater MFA 15; Theater Producer) 

John D'Amico (Critical Studies MA 09; Mayor of West Hollywood; current West Hollywood City Councilperson) 

Alexi Gehring (Photography and Media BFA 00, Film/Video MFA 03; Fine Arts Photographer and Experimental Video Artist)

Roman Jaster (Art BFA 07; Graphic Designer; Principal at Yay Brigade; CalArts Graphic Design Visiting Faculty; Bread Baker)  

Scarlett Kim (Theatre Directing MFA 18; Director, Artist, Producer; Programs & Projects Manager, CultureHub)

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). 

Todd Pimentel (Theater Stage Production Management BFA 91; Senior Manager, Global Licensing, Disney Publishing Worldwide)

Morgan Ogilvie (Art MFA 20; Artist)  

Chair: John Schwerbel (Music BFA 14; Tom Safran and Associates)

Mellissa Tong (Music MFA 93; Director/Producer/Author/Speaker; Membership Chair, NAWBO LA)

Steve Weir (Art-Photography MFA 78 & Design BFA 73; Fine Art Photographer)    

Jan Zimmerman (Film/Video MFA 72; Retired author/owner of video production, linguistic engineering, and web marketing companies)  

The CalArts Alumnx Council is Expanding!

Deadline to Apply for this cycle: Thursday, August 13, 2020

We're looking for highly motivated and independent thinkers to join the ranks of the Alumnx Council. The Council works together on a variety of initiatives and projects that benefit the CalArts community throughout the year.

Alumnx Council Application

Grant Programs

Alumnx Council Seed Grants

Alumnx Council Seed Grants are a pathway of giving that allows the Institute to fund alumnx artists in order to support ongoing projects, events, and happenings. The Seed Grants encourage artistic collaboration, and cultivate connection and inclusion within the CalArts community while broadening its artistic impact globally.

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 and 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 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 like this. to lend your support to the CalArts Fund, visit this link.

Graphic Design Alumnx Grants

The program in Graphic Design is offering six $500 grants for Graphic Design alumnx. These grants are meant to support alumnx in realizing self-directed projects. The grants are made possible by funds generated by Graphic Design faculty members, including Yasmin Gibson MFA  '05, roman Jaster BFA '07, Anther Kiley, Randy Nakamura MFA '05, Louise Sandhaus BFA '93 & MFA '94, Gail Swanlund MFA '92,  Lorraine Wild, and Michael Worthington MFA '95.

Grantee Deliverables

We ask grantees for the following as part of the partnership with the alumnx council and wider alumni community: 

  • Ability to share the product/project/event with the alumnx and the calarts community and invite attendance/participation.
  • Images of the product/project/event sent to within a week of completion
  • Documentation of project/event examples include process documents, copy of the work, attendee sign-in sheets, event registration print outs, etc.
  • A brief write-up about your project and experience with receiving a grant following the award

*These items will be utilized by the alumnx engagement office to help demonstrate the community impact of the grants program.

Fall 2020 Deadlines & Selection Information

  •  Application: TBA
  • Award Notification: TBA
  • Disbursement: TBA

Seed Grant applications are evaluated by the Alumnx Council twice per academic year. Not every proposal is funded. Funds are disbursed approximately 2-3 weeks after award notifications are made and all necessary paperwork has been submitted from the grantee to CalArts. Twelve awards will be granted in the 2019-20 (six awards in two grant cycles) year. 

Six $500 Graphic Design Alumnx grants will be issued in spring 2020. A select number of Graphic Design faculty will conduct a blind scoring process of all applications received. Not every proposal is funded. Funds are disbursed approximately 2-3 weeks after award notifications are made and all necessary paperwork has been submitted from the grantee to CalArts. 

It is the responsibility of the recipient to responsibly steward awarded funds and consult their tax professional regarding declaring such funds.

Spring 2020 Alumnx Council Grant Awardees

  • Molly Surazhsky in collaboration with CalArts alums Elizabeth Dally, Juliana Romero, Elizabeth Smith , Scarlett Kim, Woohee Cho, Hannah Grossman, and more. 
    PPE for Covid-19 was created by artist Surazhsky, who has been using her sewing skills to mobilize the LA art community and CalArts alumnx to create masks for essential workers in this COVID-19 crisis. From providing patterns to collecting and distributing masks to organizations like Planned Parenthood, Meals on Wheels, and health clinics, Surazhsky has been running a grassroots effort to provide masks where they are most needed.
  • Elaine Avila in collaboration with CalArts alums Ian Garrett, Celeste Den, and School of Theater faculty Marissa Chibas. 
    Encoberto/Hidden, the social distant cape is a play by Avila. She received the first U.S. Fulbright Scholar Grant to the University of the Azores, Portugal last year, to research, write and conduct interviews for the play, which is inspired by the capes her female ancestors wore for approximately 400 years. These capes look very much like the capes in The Handmaid's Tale, and during COVID-19, it has been described as the ultimate social distancing garment.
  • Rajee Samarashinghe in collaboration with CalArts alum Christina C. Nguyen. 
    The Eyes of Summer was collaboratively developed with members of Samarashinghe’s family, shortly after the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2010. A narrative was improvised around an investigation into his mother's interactions with spirits in the village where she grew up. Landing somewhere between horror fiction and “spectral” ethnography, the film describes a population reeling from devastations of the past, where distinctions between the living and the dead are thinning.
  • Jamie Naqvi in collaboration with CalArts alum Ashish Dha, and School of Film/Video faculty Marjan Hormozi.
    In the Time of is part of an online exhibition. Climate change, the U.S. elections, COVID-19; these are but some of the challenges we face at the dawn of the new decade. In the Time of asks four artists––from different backgrounds and disciplines––for their creative interpretations of the chosen theme. The works will then be presented as an online exhibition from Sept. 4-Oct. 1st, 2020.
  • Emilia Moscoso Borja in collaboration with CalArts alums Rusty Kennedy, Marcelo Bucater, and Vivian Naranjo. 
    Emilia Desiré Quartet will record an 8-track CD of original compositions, which has been developed since 2017. The music is based on Moscoso Borja’s life experience, addressing feminism, South American culture, together with the whirlwind of everyday life. The music is very creative and boundary-breaking, music that represents Borja and, in some ways, it becomes universal so that both the musicians and the audience can assimilate, feel, and appropriate it.
  • Roger Holzberg in collaboration with CalArts alums Shannon Scrofano, Martin Casella, Joe Lancisero, Skyler Spiegel, Natalie Ferguson, Lauren Gonzales, Gabriel Solomon, and Dustin Washburn.
    Integrating Creativity Into Palliative Care and End of Life: The Healthcare By Design class is a course within the Experience Design program in the CalArts School of Theater. Each year the class partners with a hospital to deliver a pilot that solutions a real world problem for patients and families. This year the partnership is with Henry Mayo Hospital. The class is partnering with the palliative care team to develop a program that integrates creativity into the final part of the human journey, end of life. 
  • Sam Creely in collaboration with CalArts alums Yuxin Zhao, Lucinda Trask, Scarlett Kim, Anthony Storniolo, Gio Alonzi, Ana-Cecilia Alvarez, Chelsea Lauren Dright, Lisa Dring, Jess Goldschmidt, Effy Morris, Annie Render, Teo Rivera-Dundas, Hannah Rubin, Char Simpson, Meg Whitford, and Sarah Yanni. 
    DanceNotes Chaplet Series is a publishing project co-founded and edited by Sam Creely and Patricia Sazani that leans into dance’s historically unsuccessful relationship with written documentation. If notation is an instrument for comprehension, preservation, and iteration, DanceNotes is an experiment in notation dedicated to refractory, malleable, and plural knowledges, and to re-contextualized genealogies of movement. 
  • Michelle Roshanzamir 
    Hollywood Fringe Festival 2021

Spring 2020 Graphic Design Alumnx Council Grant Awardees

  • Ania Diakoff (Art MFA 11)
    This book is planned as a primer for very young children (ages 0-6) about various metaphysical phenomena. Its intention is to be a tool that can help parents begin the conversation with their children about spirituality and the wonder of our energetic world. Key phrases such as “Sun”, “Moon”, “ Flora”, “Light”, “Planets”, etc. will be illustrated with simple paper cut-outs and collage.
  • Cristian Hernández (Art BFA 17)
    Cris Hernández Type Foundry: Since completing the Type@Cooper Extended Program (Oct 2018- Aug 2019) Hernández has been on a pursuit to establish his own practice as a typeface designer. He has multiple typefaces in development that are focused in language support (currently Latin, Cyrillic, and Greek with plans for further expansion such as Cherokee) and interactive media.
  • Andrew Hogge (Art BFA 01) in collaboration with CalArts alums Daniel Desure, Tim Koh, and Christina Huang. 
    ESP Institute - 10 Year Retrospective: 2020 marks 10 years of music/art collective ESP Institute, and they, alongside their partners Commonwealth Projects, are designing a traveling exhibition including interactive sound installation and an approx 200 page book spanning the 120 musical releases with associated packaging design and ephemera.
  • Jessica Kao (Art MFA 15)
    Standing at the Crossroads of Gentrification and Pandemic: South Central Los AngelesFor better "and" worse, South Central Los Angeles, especially around Crenshaw and Leimert Park area, has been facing rapid gentrification. But in the middle of the wave comes coronavirus and shelter-in pace. The community that was already at disadvantage is now standing at a crossroads and not knowing what is to come. Kao uses film photography to record this critical moment—both the atmosphere and soon-to-be-lost street typography during my daily walk (with protection) in the neighborhood.
  • Mansi Shah (Art BFA 08)
    Funding for screen-printing, photography, and ceramics equipment to open up Shah’s studio as a resource for the CalArts art/design community. Many artists have lost studio spaces and access to making during this time and Shah is working towards facilitating production for those affected.
  • Dameon Waggoner (Art MFA 18) in collaboration with CalArts alum John Hogan. 
    Design Book: The Word Crap Can Refer to Both Art & Trash: John Hogan Studio Manager Flyers: CalArts 2006-2020
    After attending John Hogan's performance, "Permanent Staff Lecture" last year, Waggoner was struck by Hogan's prolific output of acerbically witty flyers he had created over the previous 14 years at CalArts. Waggoner approached Hogan about creating a publication to document the flyers he created from 2006-2020. Hogan agreed, and they have begun the initial scanning and design process. The book will include 50+ flyers, writings from John and other notable alumnx.  

Fall 2019 Alumnx Council Grant Awardees

  • Emily Call in collaboration with a CalArts alums Sean Deyoe, Carmina Escobar, Madeline Falcone, Julia Holter, Betsy Rettig, Laura Steenberge, and Dean of the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts David Rosenboom. 
    Isaura String Quartet presents: hum, an immersive concert, hum brings together CalArts artists from music, theater, visual arts, and creative tech to explore unexpected transformations. 
    Additional links:

  • Andrea Gise Knowlton in collaboration with CalArts alums Justin Scheid, Shane Raiford, Bryanna Brock, and Dina Lasso. 
    This Land: A choreographic work at the intersection of border politics and environmental crisis. It explores town lines, party lines, scarcity and privilege. This work will receive its west coast premiere as part of a split bill show, shared with Rebecca Lemme    
    Additional links:

  • Christine Marie in collaboration with CalArts alum Daniel Corral. 
    (antiquated) Augmented Reality: Section II showcase40-foot shadows of dancers that breakthrough to become fully dimensional in a vivid, real-time, analog 3D, celebratory defiance of the Male Gaze that dominated 20th-century media.
    Additional links:

  • Luke Martin in collaboration with CalArts alums Aaron Foster Breilyn, Cherlyn Hsing-Hsin Liu, and CalArts faculty Michael Pisaro. 
    The Co-Incidence Festival (2020) is based on an expanded view art and music. Following Black Mountain College, it brings together radical artists to take part in an event curated as social sculpture.

  • Laura Sofia Perez    
    How to Love a Place so the Children Will Love their Land is based on the significant narrative contrasts found between history books and more recent anthropological studies regarding the wiping of Puerto Rico’s indigenous people; a video installation composed of interviews and images of the island’s natural landscapes.

  • Kalean Ung in collaboration with CalArts alums Marina McClure, Hsuan Kuang Hsieh, Chu-hsuan Chang, Mark Kanieff, and Beryl Brachman
    Letters From Home is an interdisciplinary solo theatre performance that uses multimedia practices to tell the story of a Cambodian-American woman as she explores her connection to her family, her legacy, and the art of her father.
    Additional links:

Spring 2019 Alumnx Council Grant Awardees

  • Fernando Belo in collaboration with 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 alum 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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Jason Oberman, and 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 in collaboration with CalArts alum 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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Glen Keane, Jennifer Hager, Minkyu Lee, Jenny Lerew, Adrian Molina, Steven Mcleod, Joel Crawford, John Sanford, and Craig McCracken.
    Podcast: a section of animation drawings from the song 'Part of Your World' were stolen in the 1990's. This podcast will leverage CalArts alumni 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 Alumnx Council Grant Awardees

  • 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 in collaboration with CalArts alum Tom Hemker.
    The Sun and The Wind is a short narrative film that is part of an on-going production. Based on the moral in Aesop's fable, "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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Ariel Hart, and 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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Julian Karahalios, Monty Cole, Andrew Lish, and Neha Sobti.
    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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Aaron Foster Breilyn, Ben Levinson, and 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 Alumnx Council Grant Awardees

  • Joanna Swan in collaboration with CalArts alums John Martin, Darcy Huebler, Kayla Ephros, Nathalie Casagram Lopez, John Olivo, and Zach Vidal.
    Open Drawing is a drawing session for introspective, collaborative, and nonjudgmental art making.  
  • Hanul Bahm in collaboration with CalArts alum Fabian Euresti.
    Detonator is a CalArts alumni-driven online arts discovery portal and digital zine.  
  • Alexis MacNab in collaboration with CalArts alums Thadeus Reed, Tane Kawasaki, Sam Breen, Hilario Saavedra, Caitlyn Conlin, Ryan Masson, Nikhil Pai, Nora King, Jacob Gibson, Erica Carpenter, and 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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Rajee Samarasinghe, Yu Chen, Aashish Khan, Pin-Hua Chen, and CalArts faculty 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 Alumnx Council Grant Winners

  • John Henningsen in collaboration with CalArts alums Alison Keating, Jesse Garrison, and 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 in collaboration with CalArts faculty Eyvind King, and CalArts alums Kemancheh, Marilu Donovan, Matthew Clough Hunter, Matthew Allen, Hannah Lawton, Mint Park, and 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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Brigette Dunn-Korpela, Hsuan-Kuang Hsieh, David Moyer, Nathan Nonhof, Craig Gibson, and 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 in collaboration with CalArts alums Tanya Orellana, Rose Malone, and 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.  

Support the CalArts Fund

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