Students of the revered California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) gathered at Hauser & Wirth’s block-sized complex in Los Angeles Tuesday morning to protest a CalArts board of trustees meeting taking place inside (gallery president and co-founder Iwan Wirth is on the school’s board) over news that tuition rates will surpass $50,000 for the first time in the school’s history. Starting in the fall of 2019, tuition at CalArts will cost $50,850. A group of 39 students, one for every board member, trekked from the school’s Santa Clarita campus to the Arts District in downtown L.A., accompanied by fellow students who brandished signs outside the mega-gallery that read: “You are nothing without us,” “Stop raising tuition, stop oppressing students,” and “$50,850 is a threat to our diversity,” among other messages.
Following the board meeting, in which the CalArts 2019-2020 budget and its tuition hike were approved, chair Tim Disney addressed the students gathered outside Hauser & Wirth, telling them that the board had also approved a five-point plan to overhaul financial aid and include more students, staff, and faculty in the school’s decision-making. He also warned the students that there was no guarantee tuition wouldn’t increase again in 2020 (the school’s website notes that “tuition and fees are likely to increase between 2–4% each year”).
As reported by Hyperallergic, Disney told the students:
We knew we had to approve of the budget as it existed with the tuition hike, but we knew also that we had to do something substantive to respond to the issues that you brought in front of us. [...] In the room, we drafted a set of resolutions to do the best we could in addressing these issues.