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The California Institute of the Arts, commonly referred to as CalArts, is a private art school located in Valencia, Santa Clarita, California, founded by Walt Disney in 1961. Created specifically for students of visual and performing arts, it was the first degree-granting higher education institution of its kind. CalArts was originally formed in 1961 as a merger of the Chouinard Art Institute (founded 1921) and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music (founded 1883). He never forgot and over the years watched the Chouinard Art Institute grow into the finest art school on the West Coast.
In 1965, the Alumni Association was founded as a nonprofit organization and was governed by a 12-member board of directors to serve the best interests of the institute and its programs. From the beginning, CalArts was plagued by the tensions between its art and trade school functions as well as between the non-commercial aspirations of the students and faculty and the conservative interests of the Disney family and trustees. Corrigan, former dean of the School of Arts at New York University, was attempting to create a similar mix of artistic disciplines as those that were going to be attempted at CalArts. Beginning in the summer of 1987, CalArts became the host of the state-funded California State Summer School for the Arts program.
Over the years, the school has also developed on-campus, interdisciplinary laboratories, such as the Center for Experiments in Art, Information, and Technology, Center for Integrated Media, Center for New Performance at CalArts, and the Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts.
That same year, Herb Alpert, a professional musician and admirer of the institute, collaborated with CalArts with his nonprofit foundation to establish the Alpert Awards in the Arts. In 2003, CalArts established a performance arts theater in downtown Los Angeles called REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney Cal Arts Theater at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
CalArts offers degree programs in music, art, dance, film and video, animation, theater, puppetry, and writing. Admissions to CalArts is based solely on the applicant's creative talent and future potential.
The initial concept behind CalArts' interdisciplinary approach came from Richard Wagner's idea of Gesamtkunstwerk ("total artwork"), which Disney himself was fond of and explored in a variety of forms, beginning with his own studio, then later in the incorporation of CalArts.
The talents of musicians, the self-expression of the actor, and the techniques and applications of fine and commercial artist are being use more and more in today's business-not by themselves but rather, in close association with each other. There is an urgent need for a professional school which will not only give its students thorough training in a specific field, but will also allow the widest possible range of artistic growth and expression.
The student body of CalArts shouldn't be over two thousand, and as many as possible should reside on campus. The Walt Disney Modular Theater is an indoor performance space located at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California.
Funded by Lillian Disney, who lent support to Walt's venture into education, her gift to the school to remodel a campus theater and rename it the Walt Disney Modular Theater in 1993. The chief feature of the theater is a segmented floor, divided into 348 4'x4' square platforms, each mounted on its own independent pneumatic pistons, allowing the floor to be reconfigured into whatever shape is desired. There are doors on all sides of the theater so that the audience can be made to enter from whatever direction the artists choose. The Walt Disney Modular Theater is employed year-round by students and faculty at the California Institute Of The Arts, primarily those in the schools of Theater, Dance, and Music.
It was designed by Fisher Dachs Associates, a collaboration between the Dean of the Theater School, Herbert Blau, lighting designer Jules Fisher, and Thornton Ladd (Ladd & Kelsey, Architects). CalArts confers honorary Doctor of Arts degrees to artists who have consistently represented the bold innovation and visionary creativity championed by the Institute, and who have each made extraordinary contributions to contemporary arts and culture.
CalArts is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges to grant Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in visual, performing, and literary arts. Both of the formerly existing institutions were going through financial difficulties around the same time, and the founder of the Art Institute, Nelbert Chouinard, was also fatally ill. It was through the vision of Disney, who discovered and trained many of his studio artists at Chouinard (including Mary Blair, Maurice Noble and some of the Nine Old Men, among others), that the merger of the two institutions was coordinated; the process continued after his death in 1966.
Members included leading professional artists and musicians, who contributed their knowledge, experience and skill to strengthen the institute.
However, construction of the new campus was hampered by torrential rains, labor troubles and the earthquake in 1971. The founding board of trustees originally planned on creating CalArts as a school in an entertainment complex, a destination like Disneyland, and a feeder school for the industry. Corrigan fired almost all the artists and teachers from Chouinard in his attempt to remake CalArts into his personal vision. It began by the state of California as a program to nurture talented high school students in the fields of animation, creative writing, dance, film and video, music, theatre arts, and visual arts.
Michael Eisner, on the board of trustees at the time, directed the real estate team at Disney to find a temporary site for the school. The Center for New Performance, the professional producing arm of the CalArts Theater School, brings works to the space from both student and professional artists and musicians.



The 3200 sq ft, free-standing structure serves as a space for classrooms and combined indoor-outdoor performance space.
Every school within the Institute does require that applicants send in an artist's statement, along with a portfolio or audition (depending on the Program) in order to be considered for admission. He began with the classic Disney film Fantasia (1940), where animators, dancers, composers, and artists alike collaborated. I’ve always operated like the princes of Serendip, who went on quests not knowing what they would find. What we must have, then, is a completely new approach to training in the arts-an entirely new educational concept which will properly prepare artists and give them the vital tools so necessary for working in, and drawing from, every field of creativity and performance. To meet this need is exactly why California Institute of the Arts has been created, and why we all believe so strongly in its importance. There should be some allowance for those who are talented, yet are not students; they should be able to express themselves without worrying about grades. The modular theater is based on a concept suggested by Antonin Artaud, who asserted that the ideal theater could be reconfigured for each and every new performance or play. The theater is also composed of segmented pieces, so that walls can also be easily reconfigured, creating a virtually limitless number of possibilities in design. The theater can be divided into several playing spaces, the audience can be separated into several sections, and any combination of levels and directions can be used.
Though the idea of modular theater has fallen out of fashion, in favor of environmental theater and the resurgence of proscenium spectacle theater, this theater and the few others like it represent one of the most striking ideas in the effort to advance and expand the possibilities of live performance. The professional relationship between Madame Chouinard and Walt Disney began in 1929 when Disney had no money and Madame Chouinard agreed to train his first animators on a pay-later basis.
The 12 founding board of directors members were Mary Costa, Edith Head, Gale Storm, Marc Davis, Tony Duquette, Harold Grieve, John Hench, Chuck Jones, Henry Mancini, Marty Paich, Nelson Riddle and Millard Sheets. So the "new" school began its first year in the buildings of Villa Cabrini Academy (7500 Glenoaks Blvd, Burbank, Calif.), a former Catholic girl school on the edge of downtown Burbank (where Woodbury University now stands). He was joined the following year by his friend Herbert Blau, hired as the Institute's provost and dean of the School of Theater and Dance. Within a month of Lund's tenure as president, 55 of CalArts' 325 faculty and staff were fired. All the art programs were relocated to the Lockheed Rye Canyon Research facility for six months until the school was repaired. Recipients of this award are required to stay for a week as visiting artists at CalArts and mentor students studying their metier.
Its focus is in interdisciplinary, contemporary art, and the Institute's stated mission is to develop professional artists of tomorrow- artists who will change their field.
The school does not review an applicant's SAT scores without consent, and does not consider an applicant's GPA as part of the admission process. In 1952, Walt Disney Imagineering was founded, where Disney integrated artists from his animation studio and elsewhere, as well as formally-trained engineers and achieved creative critical mass in the development of Disneyland. That happens in science; some of our most important discoveries have come from scientists who were searching for something else. When Walt Disney founded his Institute of the Arts, he requested suggestions from leaders in various artistic fields as to what would be the ideal tools for advancing the study and practice of their medium.
The theater is two stories tall from floor to ceiling—the pneumatic pistons reach another story down into the CalArts library, where they are a dominating architectural feature.
The theater can also be configured into an environmental space, with the audience moving through multiple locations in the course of a show, or being presented with a virtual environment rather than one in which they are separate from the performance.
Disney, Lulu Von Hagen and Thornton Ladd (Ladd & Kelsey, Architects), of the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. CalArts moved to its present campus in the Valencia section of the city of Santa Clarita, California in November 1971. Lavine, associate director for arts and humanities at the Rockefeller Foundation, was named new president, a position he still holds. While CSSSA is open to qualifying California students, CAP, as it's commonly known, is a service provided to students living within underprivileged communities in the Los Angeles County school system.
In 2008, CalArts renamed the School of Music in his name, courtesy of a $15 million donation. With these goals in place, the Institute encourages students to recognize the complexity of political, social and aesthetic questions and to respond to them with informed, independent judgment. He believed that the same concept that developed WDI, could also be applied to a university setting, where art students of different mediums would be exposed to and explore a wide range of creative directions.
What young artists need is a school where they can learn a variety of skills, a place where there is cross-pollination. A school should offer a kind of cross-pollination that would develop the best in it’s students.


They'll graduate with a degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts, and if they want a Bachelor of Arts they can go to other colleges and acquire a few more credits.
One of the overwhelmingly popular suggestions from the theater community was a modular theater as suggested by Artaud. Stein (dean of Critical Studies), and Richard Farson (dean of the School of Design; now integrated in the Art school as the Graphic Design program) as well other influential program heads and teachers such as Allan Kaprow, Bella Lewitzky, Michael Asher, Jules Engel, John Baldessari, Judy Chicago, Ravi Shankar, Max Kozloff, Miriam Shapiro, Douglas Huebler, Morton Subotnick and Nam June Paik most of whom largely came from a counterculture and avant-garde side of the art world. The remarkable thing that’s taking place in almost every field of endeavor is an accelerating rate of dynamic growth and change. Disney had the Modular Theater incorporated as the central performance space of his Institute. The arts, which have historically symbolized the advance of human progress, must match this growth if they are going to maintain their value in and influence on society. Lowman (2010), Trimpin (2010), Annette Bening (2011), Donald McKayle (2011), Peter Sellars (2012), and Eric Fischl (2013).
Admission to CalArts is based on the talent the artist demonstrates, his creativity and his commitment. The other major aspects regarding admission are the artist’s educational records, together with potential recommendations he may have.
Disney merged the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, founded in 1883, and the Chouinard Art Institute founded in 1921, to form the California Institute of the Arts. Three years later, the college was presented to the public by Walt Disney on the opening night of Mary Poppins in Hollywood.
At first the campus was supposed to be located on Hollywood Boulevard, but as the land was no longer available they relocated it to Valencia, approximately 30 miles north of Los Angeles. The remarkable thing that’s taking place in almost every field of endeavor is an accelerating rate of dynamic growth and change.The arts, which have historically symbolized the advance of human progress, must match this growth if they are going to maintain their value in and influence on society.
The talents of musicians, the self expression of the actor, and the techniques and applications of fine and commercial artist are being used more and more in today’s business – not by themselves but rather, in close association with each other. What we must have, then, is a completely new approach to training in the arts-an entirely new educational concept which will properly prepare artists and give them the vital tools so necessary for working in, and drawing from, every field of creativity and performance.There is an urgent need for a professional school which will not only give its students thorough training in a specific field, but will also allow the widest possible range of artistic growth and expression. To meet this need is exactly why California Institute of the Arts has been created, and why we all believe so strongly in its importance.Students will be able to take anything – art, drama, music, dance, writing. They’ll graduate with a degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts, and if they want a Bachelor of Arts they can go to other colleges and acquire a few more credits. The student body of CalArts shouldn’t be over two thousand, and as many as possible should reside on campus. Fitzpatrick, Professor of French literature, became the new president in 1975 (until he resigned in 1984 to become Chairman of Euro Disney in Paris).In 1990, CalArts – which had been headed by Steven D. Lavine since 1987 – initiated the Community Arts Partnership (CAP), an arts education program for young people that linked the Institute with community arts organizations and subsequently with public schools.
In 2011, the CAP offered over 40 arts education programs free of charge for young people aged between 10 and 18 years old.In 1997, long-term benefactors Roy E. It opened its doors in 2003 in the centre of Los Angeles with Mark Murphy as its director.In 1999, the Institute inaugurated the Center for New Theater as the School of Theater’s professional producing division. Its debut production was Bad Behavior, by Richard Foreman and Sophie Haviland.In 2006, the School of Theater hosted the first annual Arts in the One World Conference, an international forum which was co-presented with the Interdisciplinary Genocide Study Center in Kigali (Rwanda). The conference focused on art as a means to consolidate peace.CalArts became the first American college to be honored with a comprehensive retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. By linking CalArts’ artistic resources with the professional community, the CNP acts as a platform for original and audacious works to be developed and made. The CNP’s opening production was What to Wear, an experimental opera by Richard Foreman and Michael Gordon which was presented at REDCAT.In 2008, CalArts inaugurated the Herb Alpert School of Music following an historic $15 million endowment, a gift from Herb and Lani Hall Alpert. Lavine is the only college president to be serving on Barack’s Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee. Since Obama subsequently won the 2008 presidential election, his administration became the first in history to enter office with a national arts policy.In 2010, Travis Preston – who had been a member of the Faculty for the past ten years and long-standing Artistic Director of the Center for New Performance at CalArts (CNP) – was appointed Dean of the School of Theater. That year, CalArts had a teaching profession that included 314 members, while the campus included 1454 students.PIXAR AND CALARTSJohn Lasseter spent four years at CalArts.
Directors have remained attached to this code to the extent that they slip it into every Pixar film. It should be noted that it can also be found in Disney film productions such as The Princess and the Frog, or television productions with for instance The Simpsons, thanks to the various animators who spent time in that classroom and keep paying tribute to it.CONCLUSIONThis renowned college enables students to become great artists.
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