CalArts Philosophy

Sonny Ruscha Bjornson
Dec 2, 2013 7:33PM

California Institute of the Arts was founded with the intent to bring different art forms together and allow them to cross-pollinate, in the process fostering collaboration and sparking innovation.

As an internationally recognized school for the performing and visual arts—film, theater, art, dance, music and writing—the CalArts artistic philosophy places an emphasis on an exploration of new paths beyond conventional boundaries.

The CalArts educational philosophy is based on close collegial interaction between teachers and students—in class, in production and in one-to-one mentoring. This approach combines rigorous instruction with individualized attention, a process that empowers students to define their own personal objectives—and to develop and refine their own distinctive artistic voices. Given more creative freedom than at traditional art schools and conservatories, our students, in turn, are self-motivated, passionate, and deeply committed to their work. They are accepted into CalArts primarily on the basis of their artistic ability; once here, they produce art from day one.

Today CalArts comprises three entities. First, is the educational and artistic program on campus. The second is REDCAT, our producing, presenting and exhibiting venue in downtown Los Angeles. The theater and gallery at REDCAT bring an eclectic mix of artists from throughout the world to Los Angeles. This state-of-the-art venue also features work by faculty and alumni. And third is CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership (CAP), a network of collaborative partnerships that links the Institute with more than 40 arts organizations in order to provide arts education to youth throughout greater Los Angeles. Teaching in CAP programs offers students the opportunity to acquire valuable teaching experience, to earn income, and to make a significant contribution to the lives of others.

Image (top): Rodney McMillian (MFA 02), Untitled (The Supreme Court Painting), 2004– 2006, poured acrylic paint on cut canvas, 18×18 ft. Courtesy of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

Image (middle): Jed Lind (MFA 04), Elusive Archetypes, 2004, cardboard, monitor, pressure sensor and single channel video.

Image (bottom): Henry Taylor ( BFA 96), Resting, 2011, acrylic and collage on canvas, 64 × 77 3⁄4 in.

Sonny Ruscha Bjornson