Faculty Creative Leave Project Archive

The Institute's faculty’s professional work takes them all over the world playing concerts, holding workshops and clinics, showcasing at festivals, writing books and articles, and conducting research.

Creative leaves provide opportunities for faculty to concentrate on their professional work, their métier, and then, in turn, to connect with, inspire and teach students via their accumulated knowledge and the ability to demonstrate the creative application of that knowledge. Below are past examples of the work CalArts faculty have engaged in during their creative leaves.

Laurence Blake - Dance

Blake traveled to other universities to see how ballet techniques are integrated into their respective programs. Specifically, Blake wanted to learn how his colleagues are teaching ballet, which normally takes a supportive role in the curriculum, in other institutions of higher education. During his time away, Blake traveled to Hollins University; Texas Christian University; the University of Arizona; and North Carolina School for the Arts, his alma mater. He also journeyed to the London Contemporary Dance School and met with exchange students who have since come to CalArts.

Jessica Bronson - Art

Bronson archived and organized her work, digitizing still image work, making digital masters and archival digital Betacam masters of all moving image work, writing project descriptions of works, and devising instructional manuals on complex moving image installation works. Bronson states, “The work that I was able to do is absolutely essential in having a successful and creative art practice… and it afforded me the rare treat to review the arc of my work over the past few decades and become focused on the direction in which I would like to move.”

Norman Klein - Critical Studies

Klein’s creative leave was devoted to the next stage of The Imaginary 20th Century project, a collaborative project with curator and co-director Margo Bistis. Klein completed the novel that comprises the written portion of the project, created the archival interface for the website, and readied the project for publication. An exhibition of this project took place in Mexico City during the summer. He also began research on his next two works, History of the Present and Jumping Off the Half-Moon Hotel; the latter is a novel set in Coney Island, New York, in the 1950s. 

Larry Koonse - Music

Koonse worked on several projects during his time away from CalArts. With the Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Sextet, Koonse released a CD called Autumn: In Moving Pictures, featuring the Ying String Quartet. He also traveled with two singers who have received multiple Grammy nominations and awards. With the Grammy nominated Tierney Sutton, he performed along with the renowned flutist Hubert Laws. He also performed throughout the U.S. with the Grammy award winning singer Luciana Souza.

Anne Lebaron - Music

LeBaron spent her creative leave in Vienna, composing an opera, Sucktion. The opera was selected for production on the New Original Works festival at REDCAT, and has gone on to fully staged productions in England, Sweden, and Vienna. She also started preparations for a large-scale project, The Silence Steppe Cantata, which was partially funded by a grant from CEC ArtsLink. The Cantata was premiered three years later in Astana, Kazakhstan, with support from the Kazakh government and the U.S. Embassy.

William Powell - Music

Powell returned to South India to work with the Hindustani clarinetist Narasinhalu Wadavati and perform in several concerts. He also spent time in San Francisco rehearsing for a recording with Canadian composer David Myska and traveled to Canada to do further work with the composer. Powell attended the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri, and suggested CalArts as the next location for the event. As a result, CalArts and California State University, Northridge co-hosted the ClarinetFest 2011 in Los Angeles. He also attended the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) annual conference in Washington, D.C., where he lobbied for arts education. He presented a paper on building and maintaining participatory governance in higher education at the AAUP-CA’s California Conference in Santa Monica, and attended the AAUP’s Summer Institute.

Lee Anne Schmitt - Film/Video 

Schmitt worked on a new feature-length film, The John Brown Project, based on the ideas and life of the radical abolitionist John Brown. Schmitt states, “Besides doing extensive research, I began exploring the landscapes during my leave that are crucial to the project. I spent time in Kansas, where he began his move towards radical and violent action, filming in his house and on the site of the first bloody massacre enacted by Brown and his sons. I spent three weeks filming through Ohio and Pennsylvania, along the lines of the underground railroad and the development of the industrial corridor in the North. I also travelled to the Adirondacks, and Lake Champlain, to the African American colony of Timbuktoo, and the homestead where John Brown is buried.” In addition, Schmitt traveled to Paris and New York for screenings of her latest feature, the Last Buffalo Hunt.