On Friday (May 17), families and friends of 373 students traveled to the CalArts campus in Valencia for a jubilant send-off of the class of 2013 as they entered the next stage of their artistic careers.
The pre-graduation festivities began in the late afternoon with a performance of Burat Wangi (Fragrant Offering) by the CalArts Balinese Gamelan, directed by longtime faculty members I. Nyoman Wenton and Nanik Wenten.
The pomp and circumstance of more traditional graduations were then cast aside for a joyous processional of administration, faculty and students, led by the CalArts African Music and Dance Ensemble, under the direction of Andrew Grueschow and Yeko Ladzepko.
Yvonne Guy, who retires this summer after 17 years as Dean of Students, seemed just as excited as the students. “I’m finally graduating,” she told the crowd. “Tomorrow, I will think about life after CalArts.”
School of Art alumnus Eric Fischl was presented an honorary doctorate for his contributions to the arts and his dedication to painting, in particular.
Fischl then went on to discuss his experiences at CalArts and his career since. “Southern California at the end of the ’60s…you couldn’t get any cooler than that,” he said.
The New York-based artist, who was among the first class of students CalArts, described the early days of the Institute as a time of “unencumbered exploration,” in which he and his fellow classmates were “inspired by play.”
To the graduates, he offered numerous pieces of advice. Among them: “Before you engage in the ‘art market,’ you should engage with he ‘art world’—with other artists.”
Also offering words of encouragement and congratulations were CalArts Trustee Joan Abrahamson and CalArts President Steven D. Lavine. “We are proud of how driven you are to follow your dreams,” said Abrahamson.
Added Lavine: “You have your own creativity and you are self-starters, ready to make your futures….Hold onto the ideals that brought you to the arts in the first place.”
After the keynote speeches were finished, CalArts Provost Jeannene M. Przyblyski then introduced the deans as they prepared to graduate their respective schools.
For some students, the day was a culmination of one, two, four or more years of hard work to earn their CalArts degrees. And so began the roll call of names, with students enthusiastically greeting their deans and program heads, marching to the beat of their own drummers—or the eight second snippets of their song choice.
A reception for students and guests followed in the Main Gallery late into the night.
We’ve included a few candid shots from graduation, above, and will continue to post additional photos and videos on 24700 throughout the week.