Pre-college students from around the world, ages 14-17, are invited in the summer to explore creative paths at California Institute of the Arts.

Students live and learn on our beautiful Santa Clarita Valley campus located just north of Los Angeles. In addition to working closely with engaging artists, students have the opportunity to make friends with other artists in the program and participate in a variety of on-campus social activities at Chouinard Hall, the BFA dorms where Discover students will live while attending the program. 

There will be daily activities such as film screenings, games in the recreation hall, or open swim in the CalArts pool. In addition, students enrolled in this program are eligible to sign up for a field trip to Disneyland for an additional fee. Non-residential students are also welcome to apply.

Program fee includes instruction, materials and meals. Housing and airport transportation are available for additional fees.

Discover Animation

Discover Animation is an intensive experience giving young artists an opportunity to explore the fundamentals of animation on the legendary CalArts campus. Students take part in presentations & skill building workshops led by CalArts faculty and alumni, and attend artist talks, screenings and open drawing sessions. Daily life drawing sessions with live, costumed models allow artists to heighten their drawing skills no matter what place they are starting from--beginners on up. Lectures introduce students to the history of animated works, both 2D and 3D, and workshops are selected to coax students out of their comfort zone where they can hone new skills and explore what it takes to develop stories, characters and worlds. The program is designed to open young artists' minds to the vast possibilities of animation and to help them develop a richer and more impactful portfolio of work suitable for college application.

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Discover Music: Experimental Chamber Music

Discover Music is an experimental chamber music intensive designed to provide young artists with exposure to the vast spectrum of musical styles and techniques necessary to participate in the ever-broadening musical culture of the moment. Working in small experimental ensembles led by some of Los Angeles’ leading contemporary players, students will learn to explore and challenge the boundaries of modern instrumental performance through artist talks, guest performances, workshops in extended techniques, cross-cultural music, composition, improvisation, and more. This course seeks to help students create a distinctive frame around their own creative profile, while collaborating with other innovative young artists from around the globe. The session will also provide the opportunity to prepare work suitable for college application portfolios/auditions.

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Why CalArts?

California Institute of the Arts is renowned internationally as a game-changer in the education of professional artists. The transformative cultural impact of its alumni over the past half-century shows why: CalArts brings out creative talent unlike any other university, school or conservatory.

Mission Statement

CalArts teaches artists to develop the skills and personal drive to reach their creative potential, question received ideas and expand forms of knowledge and experience in the world. CalArts challenges artists to create work that matters globally to the state of culture today and in the future.


Deep into his fabled career, Walt Disney conceived of a new school for nurturing future generations of creative talent: a multidisciplinary “community of the arts” built around the real-life experience of working artists instead of the conventions of the academy. Moreover, the school would remove the walls separating the creative disciplines and encourage artists from different branches to mix and collaborate as a way of sparking new ideas and methods.

In 1961, Walt and his brother Roy started making this vision a reality when they formed California Institute of the Arts through the merger of two existing L.A. schools for art and music. A decade later, in 1970, the new college, CalArts, opened its doors to offer programs in art, design, film, music, theater and dance. It turned out to be a fiercely countercultural version of Walt’s utopian concept, and yet the Institute immediately became a hotbed of artistic originality.

In the half-century since then, successive generations of innovators from CalArts have set the leading edge of contemporary artistic practice—from conceptualism, feminist art and design, video and computer music in the School’s early years, to the Disney Renaissance, Pixar Revolution and SpongeBob; from interdisciplinary performance and digital design to the latest directions in creative music, interactive media, hybrid arts and immersive experience.

Life on Campus

Living on campus offers not only a place to eat and sleep, but the chance to be a part of a vibrant artistic community to learn and grow with. To facilitate the on-campus living experience for new and returning students, the Residence Life Office offers a reliable and comfortable home base to create a positive living situation.

Dining Options

CalArts has two on-campus dining areas: Steve’s Cafe and Tatum Lounge.

Steve's Café is a hub for the entire campus. The modern and flexible design provides and offers space in which faculty, staff and students meet, eat and collaborate. Food is prepared fresh daily using only the finest ingredients, and the menu features a selection of hot entrees, vegetarian and vegan meals, a full salad bar, drinks and snacks. Recognizing the cultural diversity of the community, the Café offers a wide range of menu choices, which is updated on a weekly basis.

Tatum Lounge is an informal gathering place and coffee house, featuring a daytime coffee bar—with snacks and pastries—staffed by students. Students can lounge on sofas and chat with friends, listen to the baristas' playlists, hear a live reading or view an art exhibition.

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