CalArts 101: 10 Things New Students Need to Know (2018 Edition)

Welcome to CalArts!

New Student Orientation Week activities begin at CalArts on Sunday (Sept. 2). For new BFA, MFA and transfer students, this is an exciting—but also possibly overwhelming—time for you. Each year, the 24700 blog team updates a list of 10 things to help new students get their bearings at CalArts.

Here is your “survival” guide (aka CalArts 101):

Meet your faculty and fellow students at Course Advising Day on Sept. 6. | Image: CalArts

1. Course Advising Day (also known as Donut Day or Arena Day). On Thursday, Sept. 6., head to the Main Gallery at your designated time (check your CalArts email) where you can finalize registering for classes and meet and greet your instructors and mentors before school actually starts on Monday, Sept. 11, while the school fuels you with free snacks (donuts in the morning / cookies in the afternoon).

2. Popcorn and bagels. Speaking of free food, Student Affairs hosts free popcorn and bagels (when available) on Wednesdays and Thursdays, respectively.


3. Caffeine run. For your caffeine—particularly espresso-based—needs, there's Tatum Lounge, located on the 2nd floor right next to the Student Store. It's open 8:30 am to midnight, and even transforms into a performance space at night.

4. Taco Tuesdays. Get the tacos from the taco bar on Tuesdays at Steve’s Café when available. Trust us. The wood-fired pizzas are pretty great, too.

You'll never know what you'll encounter on Thursday night gallery nights at CalArts. | Image: CalArts

5. Gallery Nights. Keep your Thursday nights free, because that's when art gallery openings and music performances happen throughout the Institute (in addition to Theater and Dance productions already running). It's a great time to socialize and see what other CalArts students are working on. The CalArts calendar compiles a complete list of events.

6. All-gender bathrooms. CalArts has several all-gender bathrooms throughout campus: A205, C201, two in the C-Art Studios, two in the Patty Disney Center for Life and Work, two near Stevenson Blanche Gallery, one in Butler Building #4 and one in Butler Building #5.

An advanced screening of 'Coco' took place in the Bijou in November 2017. CalArts alum Jason Katz (a writer and story supervisor) did a Q&A afterward. | Image: CalArts

7. The Bijou. This 125-seat theater, located on the second floor (the floor below the main entrance — long story, don't ask), is CalArts' primary screening facility. The screening is open to all if the lights on the sign are illuminated. Watch the board outside the theater for screenings and times.

8. Know your room nicknames (and the CalArts vernacular). As you read in the entry above, there are a lot of nicknames for rooms and places around campus. Here are just a couple: BB stands for the Butler Buildings; The Palace is located in the Character Animation department; and the eX-Box is the meeting space near the front reception (it used to be the former box office, hence the name). Additional terms can be found in the CalArts Dictionary.

9. Room A113. For all you Pixar fans, a note about Room A113. Though the room has reached legendary status as an Easter Egg in every Pixar film, Character Animation classes are no longer held there. The students of the program in Graphic Design have long called the classroom home. You can still take pictures, though.

Tracie Costantino is CalArts' new provost. | Image: Courtesy of Costantino

10. New Provost. Tracie Costantino began as CalArts' new provost—the Institute's chief academic officer—this summer. Costantino joins the CalArts administration after previously serving as Interim Provost at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and RISD’s Associate Provost and Dean of Faculty.

To keep abreast of campus happenings, check out the CalArts calendar and the information pinned and taped to walls all over campus. We're very proud of our poster culture and we think you'll find that the posters are very informative. Also “like” our official Facebook page (California Institute of the Arts), or follow us on Twitter (@calarts) and Instagram (@calarts).

Have a great first year!

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  1. Rae // //

    There is a picture of a CalArts coffee mug in Tatum Lounge. As a CalArts alumni I’d really like to get my hands on one of those. Can you tell me how or where to purchase? Thanks, I really appreciate it!