20 for 2020

CalArts Virtual Graduation 20 for 2020

The entire CalArts community has come together with a creative spirit and can-do attitude to produce this year's virtual graduation. Alumni have made an especially strong effort to make this event a truly exceptional graduation experience for the CalArts Class of 2020. 

As part of this year's 2020 theme, we have asked 20 distinguished alumni to impart words of wisdom and offer encouragement to graduates. Their video messages will be livestreamed throughout the ceremony. While there are hundreds of alums, staff, and students who have come together to produce our virtual graduation, the 20 for 2020 alumni messages will certainly be a highlight of our live show! 

Check back here for the full list of alumni messages! 


John Luther Adams (Music BFA 73)

For John Luther Adams, music is a lifelong search for home—an invitation to slow down, pay attention, and remember our place within the larger community of life on earth.

Living for almost 40 years in northern Alaska, Adams discovered a unique musical world grounded in space, stillness, and elemental forces. In the 1970s and into the ’80s, he worked full time as an environmental activist. But the time came when he felt compelled to dedicate himself entirely to music. He made this choice with the belief that, ultimately, music can do more than politics to change the world.

In works such as Become Ocean, In the White Silence, and Canticles of the Holy Wind, Adams brings the sense of wonder that we feel outdoors into the concert hall. And in outdoor works such as Inuksuit and Sila: The Breath of the World, he employs music as a way to reclaim our connections with place, wherever we may be.

A deep concern for the state of the earth and the future of humanity drives Adams to continue composing. As he puts it: “If we can imagine a culture and a society in which we each feel more deeply responsible for our own place in the world, then we just may be able to bring that culture and that society into being.”

Since leaving Alaska, Adams and his wife Cynthia have made their home in the deserts of Mexico, Chile, and the southwestern United States.

Adams earned a BFA from The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts in 1973. He has also won numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2014 and a Grammy in 2015 in the category Best Contemporary Classical Composition for his work Become Ocean.

John Luther Adams

Lyndon J. Barrois, Sr. (Film/Video MFA 95)

As a member of the AMPAS (Oscars) Visual Effects Branch, Lyndon Barrois’ 30-plus year career in art and animation is marked by a practice in many corners of the field. His early stop- motion work won him accolades while still a master's student at California Institute of the Arts, for his unique and innovative procedure of using chewing gum wrappers as his medium of choice to create his “sportraits” of historic athletic figures and events. He continues that technique today, with the added component of shooting and editing his films entirely on iPhones.

In 1990, after officials from the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Museums saw an NBC’s Today Show segment highlighting Barrois' wondrous work, Ripley’s curators purchased 15 original sculptures, mostly from his Super Bowl series, and has displayed his sportraits around the world ever since.

In later years, he would direct an episode of The PJs, help shape the spectacular, groundbreaking CGI visual effects of The Matrix Trilogy, direct sequences in the Oscar-winning Happy Feet, and supervise the nuanced dinosaur performances in The Tree of Life, garnering more film credits along the way. Barrois directed a massive team of animators for Alvin and the Chipmunks, vaulting the franchise into a billion dollar phenomenon. He's also been recognized by the Visual Effects Society Awards with a nomination for his work on The Thing, as well as a captain and co-author in the VES industry guide book. He has also worked extensively in the field of virtual reality, having co-founded Blackthorn Media and exhibiting titles at Sundance and Tribeca international film festivals. 

In 2018 Barrois exhibited FútBallet, a miniature sculpture and animation installation at the Pérez Art Museum Miami in The World’s Game: Fútbol and Contemporary Art, an animated profile on author TaNehisi Coates for topic.com (@topicstories), which was shortlisted for a 2019 Emmy Award. Prizefighter, an animated sportrait recreating three pivotal days in the life of Jack Johnson, the first African American world heavyweight champion, debuted on the film festival circuit. He followed that in 2019 with his Black Jockeys Praxinoscope at Quotidian Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, an animated music video for the young blues phenom Kingfish, which premiered on RollingStone.com; inclusion in Little Nemo’s Progress: Animation and Contemporary Art at the Oklahoma State Museum of Art; and recently exhibited For ... Freedom, an animated short film commissioned by ForFreedoms.org that debuted at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary Museum in Los Angeles. 

A native New Orleanian and graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, Barrois’ career has spanned the globe. In addition to his deep background as an artist, animator, director, educator, and collector, Barrois has served on boards and formed donor affiliations with the Santa Monica Museum of Art (now ICA LA), the William H. Johnson Foundation, YA/YA, Inc., CAAM, LACMA, MOCA Los Angeles, LA Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), LAXART, Studio Museum Harlem, The Mistake Room, and others. He also serves as a commissioner for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.; a member of the Inclusion Task Force for the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures; and as a new board member of California Institute of the Arts, his alma mater, continuing his artistic endeavors in exciting new capacities.

lyndon Barrois Sr

Christine Beebe (Film/Video MFA 05)

Nominated for the Producers Guild of America’s 2019 Outstanding Producer Award in Documentary Film for her feature film, Hal, Christine Beebe’s (christinebeebe.com) work focuses on the most captivating subjects of our past and present through documentary film. In her new role as director of non-fiction development at Lucasfilm, she has various documentary film projects in the works. Concurrently, in June of this year, her highly anticipated film, Pigeon Kings, directed by Milena Pastreich, premiered in competition at the Seattle International Film Festival and her directorial debut, Felix Austria!, which premiered at HotDocs, was released by IndiePix. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing from CalArts and is from Maine.

Christine Beebe

Beatriz Cortez (Art MFA 15)

Beatriz Cortez is a multidisciplinary artist based in Los Angeles. Her work explores simultaneity, life in different temporalities and versions of modernity, memory, and loss in the aftermath of war and the experience of migration, and in relation to imagining possible futures. She has had solo exhibitions at the Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles; Clockshop, Los Angeles; Vincent Price Art Museum, Los Angeles; Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles; Centro Cultural de España de El Salvador; Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California; and Museo Municipal Tecleño, El Salvador. Her recent group exhibitions include In Plain Sight at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle; Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine at Ballroom Marfa, in Texas; Unfolding Universes at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Colombia; Utopian Imagination at the Ford Foundation Gallery, New York; Paroxysm of Sublime at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles; Ingestionat TEORé/Tica in San José, Costa Rica; Mundos Alternos: Art and Science Fiction in the Americas at the Queens Museum, New York; and Chronos, Cosmos: Deep Time, Open Space at the Socrates Sculpture Park, New York. 

Cortez has received the Artadia Los Angeles Award (2020), Frieze LIFEWTR Inaugural Sculpture Prize (2019), Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Artist Grant (2018), and California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists (2016), among others. She holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and a doctorate in Latin American Literature from Arizona State University. She teaches at California State University, Northridge. Cortez is represented by Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles.

Beatriz Cortez

Pete Docter (Film/Video BFA 90)

Pete Docter is the Oscar-winning director of Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out, and chief creative officer at Pixar Animation Studios. He is currently directing Pixar’s feature film Soul with producer Dana Murray, which is set to release June 19, 2020. 

Starting at Pixar in 1990 as the studio’s third animator, Docter collaborated and helped develop the story and characters for Toy Story, Pixar’s first full-length animated feature film, for which he was also a supervising animator. He served as a storyboard artist on A Bug’s Life, and wrote initial story treatments for both Toy Story 2 and WALL•E. Aside from directing his three films, Docter also executive produced Monsters University and the Academy Award-winning Brave.

Docter’s interest in animation began at the age of 8 when he created his first flipbook. He studied character animation at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, Calif., where he produced a variety of short films, one of which won a Student Academy Award. Those films have since been shown in animation festivals worldwide and are featured on the Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2. Upon joining Pixar, he animated and directed several commercials, and has been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature-winners Up and Inside Out and nominee Monsters, Inc., and Best Original Screenplay for Up, Inside Out and WALL•E. In 2007, Up also was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Pete Docter

Nataki Garrett (Theater MFA 02)

Nataki Garrett is Oregon Shakespeare Festival's sixth artistic director. As the former associate artistic director of CalArts Center for New Performance, Garrett has been hailed as a champion of new work as well as an experienced, savvy arts administrator. 2019 was Garrett’s first season at OSF, where she directed How to Catch Creation. At CalArts, Garrett oversaw all operations of conservatory training and produced mainstage, black box, developmental projects, plays, co-productions, and touring productions. She is currently on the nominating committee for The Kilroys, and recently served on the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust Distinguished Playwright Award nominating committee, as well as the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship panel. 

Garrett’s forté and passion are fostering and developing new work. She is responsible for producing the world premieres of The Book of Will by Lauren Gunderson, Two Degrees by Tira Palmquist, Zoey’s Perfect Wedding by Matthew Lopez, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee, and American Mariachi by José Cruz González. She also directed the world premieres of BLKS by Aziza Barnes and Pussy Valley by Katori Hall, and the US premiere of Jefferson’s Garden by Timberlake Wertenbaker. She is well known for her work with MacArthur Fellow-winning playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, having directed the regional premieres of several of his plays, including Everybody at California Shakespeare Theater and An Octoroon at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Garrett also directed the first professional production of Jacobs-Jenkins’ acclaimed play Neighbors at the Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles. Garrett’s production received five Ovation Award nominations—including Best Production. 

Garrett most recently served as acting artistic director for Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) during the $66 million organization’s 18-month leadership transition, working in partnership with the chief executive officer, managing director and board of directors to oversee all artistic operations for the theater company. During her tenure, she produced a very provocative Macbeth. The play was the most successful production in the Space Theatre’s 40-year history. She also initiated and negotiated the first co-world premieres in 10 years for two DCPA-commissioned plays—The Great Leap with Seattle Repertory Theatre and American Mariachi with The Old Globe. 

Garrett is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group Career Development Fellowship for Theatre Directors, and a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Garrett is also a member of the board of directors for Theatre Communications Group, a company member at Woolly Mammoth, and an advisory board member for Mixed Blood Theatre. Garrett is a graduate of California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in directing.

Nataki Garrett

Jorge Gutierrez (Film/Video BFA 97, MFA 00)

Jorge Gutierrez is the director and co-writer of the Golden Globe-nominated feature The Book of Life for 20th Century Fox, writer and director of the Emmy-nominated "Son of Jaguar" VR short for Google, and creator (with muse and Emmy-winning wife Sandra Equihua) of the multiple Emmy-winning animated series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera for Nickelodeon. He is currently writing and directing an event series called Maya and the Three for Netflix Animation.

Jorge Gutierrez

Ed Harris (Theater BFA 75)

Ed Harris stars as the enigmatic Man in Black in the HBO series Westworld (Emmy Award nomination). Harris made his feature film directing debut on Pollock, receiving an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor for his performance in the title role. Harris also directed, as well as co-wrote, Appaloosa, starring opposite Viggo Mortensen. His film credits include A History of Violence (National Society of Film Critics Award), The Hours (Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, and BAFTA nominations), The Truman Show (Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award), Apollo 13 (Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, SAG Award), Kodachrome, Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, In Dubious Battle, Run All Night, Frontera, The Face of Love, The Way Back, Copying Beethoven, The Right Stuff, The Abyss, The Rock, The Human Stain, A Beautiful Mind, Stepmom, The Firm, Places in the Heart, Alamo Bay, Sweet Dreams, Jacknife, State of Grace, The Third Miracle, Touching Home, and Victor Nunez’s A Flash of Green. Harris won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, along with Emmy and SAG nominations, for his portrayal of John McCain in the Jay Roach-directed Game Change for HBO. He starred with Paul Newman in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, for which he received Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Best Actor nominations. 

His other television credits include The Last Innocent Man, Running Mates, Paris Trout, and Riders of the Purple Sage, for which he and his wife, Amy Madigan, as co-producers and co-stars, were presented with the Western Heritage Wrangler Award for Outstanding Television Feature Film. In 2018, Harris starred in the New York premiere of David Rabe’s Good for Otto at off-Broadway’s Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre for The New Group. Harris and Madigan made their West End debut in November 2016 in the London production of Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Buried Child (Olivier Award nomination). In 2012, at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, Harris starred with Madigan, Bill Pullman, and Glenne Headley in the world premiere of Beth Henley’s The Jacksonian, directed by Robert Falls. He reprised that role to critical acclaim in the play’s 2014 New York premiere for The New Group. Harris received both an Outer Critics Circle Award nomination and a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for the Off-Broadway production of Wrecks at The Public Theatre. 

Harris’ theater credits include Ronald Harwood’s Taking Sides, Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love (Obie Award), Simpatico (Lucille Lortel Award), George Furth’s Precious Sons (Drama Desk Award, Tony Award nomination), Prairie Avenue, Scar, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Grapes of Wrath, and Sweet Bird of Youth

Ed Harris

Jacques Heim (Dance MFA 91)

Jacques Heim has been a transformative director for more than 20 years, founding Diavolo in 1992, newly renamed DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion®, and has directed the company’s work ever since. 

Heim was born and raised in Paris, France. His earliest experiences with performance came from street performing. He attended Middlebury College (BFA in Theater, Dance, and Film), the University of Surrey in England (Certificate for Analysis and Criticism of Dance), and the California Institute for the Arts (MFA, Choreography). Heim is not a dancer or acrobat, but calls himself an “architect of motion.” He is like a drill sergeant or a football coach. He loves working with dancers; pushing them beyond their own physical and emotional limits to make them feel like they can conquer anything … to make them realize they are heroes. 

Heim is named directly after his grandfather, the late and revolutionary fashion designer, who in 1946 launched the first ever two piece bathing suit called atome, later renamed the bikini, and also invented le prêt-à-porter, or “ready to wear.” Just as his grandfather broke ground in the fashion industry, Heim continues to challenge and break the mold of conventional wisdom surrounding dance, developing the unique and incomparable aesthetic of Architecture in Motion®. 

In addition to his work with DIAVOLO, Heim has worked extensively for other companies in dance, theater, TV, and special events worldwide. For Cirque du Soleil, Heim choreographed KÀ at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, a destination show featuring apparatus inspired by DIAVOLO structures and architecture. In 2010, he was invited to be a creative director for the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games, in Guangzhou, China. Most recently, Heim worked with Guy Caron and Michael Curry as consulting choreographer on Ice Age Live!, a “mammoth” arena show, which had its world premiere at London’s Wembley Stadium in November 2012 and is now touring Europe. 

In addition to three USA Fellowship and four Herb Alpert Award nominations, Heim is the recipient of the Martha Hill Choreography Award of the American Dance Festival, the Special Prize of the Jury at the 6th Saitama International Dance Festival, a Brody Arts Fund fellowship, a James Irvine Foundation Fellowship, and the 2016 Barney Creative Prize.

Jacques Heim

Naotaka Hiro (Film/Video MFA 01)

Born in Osaka, Japan in 1972, Naotaka Hiro lives and works in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from CalArts in 2000. Recent exhibitions include Big Question (2016) and Pit and Log (2013) at Brennan & Griffin in New York; A Modest Proposal at Hauser & Wirth, New York; Mirror Effect (2015) and Men in LA: Three Generations of Drawings: Naotaka Hiro, Paul McCarthy, and Benjamin Weissman (2014) at The Box, Los Angeles; solo exhibitions at Misako & Rosen in Tokyo (2015, 2008, 2007); and RSVP Los Angeles: The Project Series at Pomona, Pomona College Museum of Art, Claremont, Calif. (2015). For CalArts’ 50th Anniversary project 50+50: A Creative Century from Chouinard to CalArts, Hiro created a mesmerizingly beautiful series of 15 monoprints by hand-applying paint, crayon, and graphic pencil to a set of 15 silk­screened prints.

Naotaka Hiro

Mary Ann Kellogg (Dance BFA 75)

Mary Ann Kellogg, known for her unique abilities in storytelling through dance, specializes in working with actors in scripted comedy and dramatic roles in television and film, including Mad Men, Saving Mr. Banks, Clueless, and many more.

Kellogg’s repertoire includes all styles of dance from period to present day. She is experienced in both single and multi-camera production. Emmy-nominated for her work as a choreographer, she is also an award-winning short film director. An alumnus of AFI Conservatory and AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women, she holds a BFA in dance from CalArts. Kellogg danced with Twyla Tharp’s original company for eight years and performed with Atlanta Ballet.

Mary Ann Kellogg

Mark Kirkland (Film/Video BFA 78)

Mark Kirkland is a three-time Emmy Award-winning director and award-winning filmmaker. He is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) and he has served as a governor for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  After a 30-year directing career with The Simpsons, where he directed 85 episodes, Kirkland is currently the supervising director for an upcoming animated television series for Fox. 

Mark Kirkland

Natalie Metzger (Dance MFA 11)

Natalie Metzger is a Spirit Award-nominated producer whose credits include Greener Grass (Sundance Film Festival), Thunder Road (Grand Jury Award at SXSW), The Robbery (Sundance Film Festival), MatPat's Game Lab (Streamy Award), Lil Dicky’s “Freaky Friday” (over 600 million views), Short of the Week pick The Arrival, and Vimeo Staff Picks Hydrangea and The Stop, among numerous other projects. Metzger is currently in post-production on Jim Cummings’ erotic thriller The Beta Test, Josh Ruben’s horror comedy Werewolves Within (Ubisoft), and Sean Mullin’s baseball documentary It Ain’t Over. She will also have a new film releasing at the end of the year by MGM/Orion. Metzger’s feature directing credits include AT&T original documentary Alone in the Game (AFI Docs, Outfest) and healthcare documentary Special Blood, which won the Dolores Huerta Award for Best Director at the Long Beach Indie Festival and Best Feature Documentary at California Women’s Film Festival.

Her PSA Topless Women Talk NFL was featured in the Washington Post and Huffington Post and won the Platinum Best of Show Aurora Award and Silver Telly Award. She has also directed numerous award-winning commercials and short films, and she won the Gold Prize at the Page International Screenwriting Awards for her feature script Immortal. Metzger holds a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from Emory University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude, and received the Sudler Award in the Arts and the Pioneer Award.

Natalie Metzger

Marco Morante (Theater BFA 02)

Marco Morante is a Los Angeles-based designer.  

Morante made his mark in the fashion and music industries designing for his eponymous label, Marco Marco.

Soon after earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Design from CalArts, he opened his flagship design studio in the heart of Hollywood.  

Morante's love for his craft, paired with a tireless work ethic, has placed him on a short list of designers in high demand for custom garments. He has worked with the San Francisco Ballet, Barnum & Bailey Circus, and countless musical acts from many of the world’s most prominent artists over the last two decades.

Marco Morante

Mark Osborne (Film/Video BFA 92)

Mark Osborne is a two-time Academy Award-nominated filmmaker, a Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et Lettres for his cultural work on behalf of the country of France. He most recently directed and executive produced the first-ever animated feature film adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved classic, The Little Prince. Mixing stop-motion animation and CGI, the film features an impressive cast of voice talents led by Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, and Mackenzie Foy. Premiering out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival, The Little Prince grossed more than $100 million dollars at the global box office and garnered remarkable worldwide acclaim, capped by the 2016 French César Film Award for Best Animated Feature, a Children’s BAFTA Award for Best Feature Film of 2016, and an impressive Rotten Tomato rating of 93 percent.

Osborne’s breakout was DreamWorks’ critically acclaimed animated blockbuster, Kung Fu Panda, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. Osborne’s other credits include the stop-motion animation short film, “MORE,” which received an Academy Award-nomination for Best Animated Short Film in 1999, a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, and dozens of others distinctions. Osborne has also worked in live action, directing sequences for the first SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, as well as live action sequences in the first three seasons of the popular TV series.

Osborne graduated from California Institute of the Arts with a degree in experimental animation. Previous to that, he attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, where he met his wife Kimb (who incidentally gave him his first ever copy of The Little Prince back when they were dating more than 25 years ago). They have two children: Maddie, who inspired the character of “The Little Girl”; and Riley, who voiced the titular character in the movie at age 11.

Osborne is currently enjoying time living just outside NYC, and working on two new animated feature film projects using a variety of mixed-media animation techniques.

Mark Osborne

John Schwerbel (Music BFA 14) 

Alumnx Council Chair

John Schwerbel is a talent Agent for Cadenza Artists Agency, where he represents their world-class performing arts roster and works closely with North American presenters and promoters to bring unparalleled artistry to audiences. Prior to his work at Cadenza Artists, he worked to plan and produce the programs presented on the stages of the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert Hall as the artistic planning coordinator with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Schwerbel served as the inaugural alumni representative on the CalArts Board of Trustees from 2016-2018, during which time he was collaboratively involved in selecting and welcoming Ravi Rajan as CalArts’ fourth President and helping to initiate CalArts’ historic Strategic Visioning Project, among other institute-wide initiatives.

He currently serves as co-founder and chair of the CalArts Alumni Council, and as a consultant to the Culver City Arts Alliance in collaboration with Apple TV+ and Apple Music.   

A native of Menasha, Wis., Schwerbel earned a BFA in Jazz Piano Performance from CalArts in 2014, where he performed with Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, and Ulrich Krieger, among others. Schwerbel currently lives in Highland Park, Calif. with his partner, actor Ellyn Jameson; their dog Sammy; and their cat Thisbe.

John Schwerble

Robin Sukhadia (Music MFA 07)

Robin Sukhadia (aka tablapusher) is a student of tabla, the classical drums of North India. A Fulbright scholar, Sukhadia  has been focused on music education for the underserved around the world. A Master in Fine Arts graduate from the World Music program at California Institute of the Arts, Robin Sukhadia studies tabla (classical north Indian drums) under the virtuoso tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri at CalArts and the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. His special focus on the musical traditions and rhythms of south Asia informs his approach to musical arrangement and composition on a wide range of concert, film, and album productions. He has composed music for and toured internationally with acclaimed world music act Rupa & the April Fishes (Cumbancha Records), live hip hop ensemble J-Boogie's Dubtronic Science (OM Records), Indo-jazz group PremaSoul, and famed instrument inventor and MacArthur Fellow Walter Kitundu. He helped score the 2008 Emmy award winning PBS documentary Sikhs in America and his music appears in My Narmada Travels, Dreaming in Code, and Raspberry Magic, films written and directed by Leena Pendharker. In 2018, he performed in Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles as a tabla soloist on Reena Esmail’s oratorio “This Love Between Us.”

Robin Sukhadia

Chrysanthe Tan (Critical Studies MFA 14, Music MFA 17)

Chrysanthe Tan (they/them/she) is an experimental composer, violinist, and sound artist of Cambodian and Greek heritage. Named by Arts Boston as 1 of 10 Contemporary LGBTQ Composers You Should Know in 2018, their artistic work spans a variety of mediums and genres—from electro-acoustic chamber music to electropop, poetry, and more. As a composer, Tan explores themes of identity, belonging, and sensory pleasure, drawing inspiration from her lived experience as an autistic, genderqueer, invisibly disabled, second-generation artist.

As a violinist, Tan has toured internationally, recorded, and performed with artists like Ariana Grande, Paul Anka, Halsey, Marco Antonio Solis, Common, Alicia Keys, and Bastille, and performed on TV shows like Glee, America’s Next Top Model, and the American Music Awards. In 2015, Tan toured the world as pop star Ariana Grande's violinist on the Honeymoon Tour, playing in arenas across North America, Europe, and Asia. In 2017, she played violin on Halsey’s platinum album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Tan’s own album, Stories, was released in 2015.

In addition to composing and performing, Tan is a published writer, podcaster, Star Wars nerd, and radio producer whose creative writing, advocacy, and cultural commentary appear in places like them., NewMusicUSA, The Volta 365, 91.5 Classical KUSC, Star Wars Minute, DL Weekly, Yale University and CalArts libraries. Tan’s radio features showcasing “The Genius of Disneyland Sound Design” and “Classical Music Through an Autistic Lens” received wide coverage on KUSC, and her work was nominated for a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award in 2019.

Chrystanthe Tan

Valerie Tevere (Art MFA 97)

Valerie Tevere and collaborator Angel Nevarez are interdisciplinary artists whose practice spans more than 18 years of projects that actuate music and sound, radio, dissent, and the cultural complexities of the public sphere. The artists have produced works in video, installation, lyric writing, and performance. Their research interests lie in the intersection between music, civic action, and historical moments that resonate through distinct musical instrumentation and sonorous traditions.

Tevere and Nevarez have exhibited and screened their work at the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, Creative Time, New Museum, and Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York; Manifesta 8/Spain; Museo Raúl Anguiano, Guadalajara, Mexico; Casino Luxembourg, LU; Henie Onstad Art Centre, Høvikodden, Norway; Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria, and elsewhere. The first US survey of their work was exhibited at Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia in 2016. 

The artists are recipients of a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship, and have received awards from Creative Capital, Harpo Foundation, Art Matters, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Franklin Furnace. Both were artists-in-residence at the International Artists Studio Program in Sweden, and recently at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn; and Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, Calif.

Tevere is a professor of media culture at the College of Staten Island, CUNY. She holds an MFA in photography from California Institute of the Arts, a BA in political science from the University of California San Diego, and was a studio fellow at the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program.

Valerie Tevera

Irene Tsatsos (Critical Studies MA 10)

With a background as a visual artist, Irene Tsatsos’s curatorial practice is oriented toward artistic collaboration and production. She is currently the gallery director/chief curator at the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, Calif. Previously, she was the executive director of Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) and worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where she coordinated the 1997 Whitney Biennial. Tsatsos has also been an independent curator and writer, collaborating with individual artists and institutions such as the Getty, the Annenberg Foundation, and The Fowler Museum at UCLA. She has published extensively in periodicals and exhibition catalogs, and has served on numerous grant review panels regionally and nationally.

Irene Tsatsos

Margo Victor (Film/Video BFA 05)

Margo Victor is a Los Angeles-based artist with a strong focus on filmmaking. Her practice is broad ranging, from short to long, live action, experimental, narrative, non-narrative and commercials, including Always On, for Nike’s Los Angeles branch. Victor’s work often manifests itself as minimal in form, but deep in conceptual investigation. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and she has been represented by contemporary art galleries in Los Angeles and in New York City, with screenings at Mission 356, Los Angeles, LACE, Venetia Kapernekas Gallery in New York and Open Space, Cologne. Victor was invited to the Wexner Center for the Arts Art & Tech program to complete her film The Rotten Riotous West. She studied film and art at California Institute of the Arts and graduated in 2004. She studied film and art at California Institute of the Arts and graduated with a BFA in 2004. She is currently in post production on her live action narrative film titled SPY

Margo Victor

Kevin Zambrano (Dance BFA 18)

Kevin Zambrano is a multidisciplinary artist, interested in storytelling through dance theater.

Zambrano is a Burbank native and BFA graduate from CalArts who teaches and coaches contemporary dance at multiple schools and studios in the Los Angeles area. During his time at CalArts, Zambrano choreographed and directed three full-length works. The first premiered as part of the acting school’s New Works Festival, the second earned him the CalArts Interdisciplinary Grant Award, and the third was an hour-length solo performed by Zambrano, premiering at REDCAT in LA.

Zambrano has studied dance at the Korean National University of the Arts in Seoul; the Centre National de la Danse in Paris, under Ralph Lemon and Damien Jalet; and the Henny Jurriens Studio in Amsterdam, under Andrej Petrovic from the Akram Khan Company. While overseas, Zambrano presented his choreographic work Fregoli’s Limbo at the Seoul International Choreography Festival in Korea and dance film, 012345, at the Henny Jurriens Studio Solo Concert in Amsterdam.

In Los Angeles, he has worked with multiple dance companies including: WeWolf, No(one) Arthouse, TL Collective, Szalt, Rosanna Gamson World/Wide, and Borderline Movement. In addition, Zambrano has performed as a chimney sweep in the Soundsational Parade at Disneyland, for pop artists Charli XCX and Dorian Electra, at the Troubadour for PERTA, and in the dance film Metatronia, directed by Solange Knowles. He has assisted artists Bret Easterling of Batsheva, New York-based choreographers Gerard and Kelly, and CalArts faculty Julie Bour.

He has most recently moved to New York to play “Moose” in the Broadway revival of West Side Story, directed by Ivo Van Hove and choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. While in New York, he has been interviewed for The New York Times Style Magazine, Broadway.com, People Magazine, and Broadway World.

He is represented by Bloc NYC and LA, and managed by Laura Aladjem at Image Talent.

Kevin Zambrano