Bache to the Future: Longtime CalArts Faculty John Bache Retires

After nearly four decades at CalArts, John Bache, artist, photographer and School of Art faculty member, has retired.

Since joining the Institute in 1972, Bache has served in a number of capacities, including associate provost and acting provost (in addition to his teaching and mentoring duties in the School of Art and Community Arts Partnership [CAP] program).

The Institute sent Bache off with a farewell reception last month attended by colleagues and former students. We’ve posted a few snippets from the reception, and invite you to comment below to wish Bache all the best.

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  1. Carl Whitman // //

    Mr. Bache always had the time for me as a student. I attended CalArts the first year the Valencia campus opened.
    Seventh heaven for me was checking out equipment from John for projects. He taught me to load a Hasselblad film magazine, loaded up a Halliburton case of lenses and sent me on my way. Forty years later I’m reminded of that moment every time I pull a dark slide.
    Thanks, John

  2. Kelly Hashimoto // //

    After some years, even though I’ve lost touch with some folks, I have never forgotten. I have often thought of John and though it comes a bit late, just wanted to thank him enormously for everything. It is true, he always had time for a student… I knew there were times he had a lot on his plate and stress, but he never seemed to let it interfere with him providing assistance where needed, whether it was counseling, access to equipment/resources, or photographic help. I can remember numerous times, he would get pulled in opposite directions and attended to many demanding students. He always was kind and generous. I will never forget the letter of recommendation he wrote for me for the Jacob K. Javits scholarship. He took the time out from his busy schedule and had the faith in me to provide the necessary letter of support. I won that scholarship (if you look it up in wikipedia, it is more competitive than getting into Harvard or Yale)! Even if I did not, I was almost in tears when I read what he wrote in the letter. Thank you, thank you, thank you John. I hope to connect with you somehow to be able to thank you in-person!!! I’m very happy for you on your retirement. You so deserve to finally have time to do your thing!

  3. John Mabry // //

    Having John as a friend before he was onboard at Calarts, I remember his advice upon having won a scholarship to the Art school in Cal Arts first year at Villa Cabrini. I was a sculptor who worked with inflatables and environmental structures, and in a conversation with John, mentioned that I was concerned with some reviews and public perception of my work. His kind advice was “f em if they can’t take a joke” and advised me to ignore others’ remarks and continue my work unabated. I realized him wisdom in that moment, and later as a student in one of his experimental film courses, reaffirmed his keen perception and mature vision. I was working with “bubbles” within the super8 frame, other students questioned its motive, and John quietly defended it. I was grateful as well as reminded of his institutional experience and patience with young artists–it made a lasting and positive impression. That is of a fair-minded man whose generosity enabled many young adults in his proximity, that he not only had a high level of acuity in artistic endeavors, but shared in the openness of Calarts as an experimental institution, unlike any other. It is instructors and mentors that make Calarts a one-of-a-kind collection of minds and talent.

  4. Brett B. // //

    It saddens my heart that John has retired from such an amazing institution. But the memories and knowledge that he left upon every student he had contact with will remain with us forever. Best wishes John, ans may the future bring you as much joy as you have given us students.

  5. Josh Caffrey // //

    I first met John during the CSSSA program in 1995. He co-led the photography program I was a part of and that is when I realized what an amazing person John is. A year later I applied to CalArts and during my 4 years there he was always able to make time for me during his busy schedule. Thank you John Bache, you have achieved what I aspire to be as a person.