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.
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.