On Friday (May 18), CalArts held its 2012 graduation ceremony, dispatching the usual pomp and circumstance of other college graduations, instead bringing creativity, levity—and pyrotechnics.
The afternoon’s festivities began with a traditional Gamelan music and dance ensemble to greet guests arriving for the ceremony. Bulgarian-born performer-composer and now one of CalArts’ first Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) graduates Milen Kirov led the Balkan brass band Orkestar MÉZÉ in the processional to begin the ceremony and entertain guests in the Main Gallery at the end of the evening.
One of the most touching moments occurred at the end of the ceremony, when the School of Art paid tribute to artist and longtime faculty member Martin Kersels, who is leaving CalArts to begin a new post at Yale University in the fall.
Special guests at graduation included Thomas L. Lee, vice chairman of CalArts’ Board of Trustees; student speaker Charles Levin, who earned his MFA in Jazz Studies at the age of 60 after leaving a career in journalism; and theater artist Peter Sellars, who received an honorary degree from CalArts.
In his remarks to the CalArts’ graduating class, Sellars applauded the students for bringing their “coolness” factor into the real world and challenged them to come up with creative solutions to solve the world’s problems.
“Look around you,” Sellars said. “And what is missing from the picture, put it there.”
We’ve posted a photo gallery of candid shots from the day’s events. We’ll post additional photos tomorrow from Institute photographer Scott Groller and videos later this week.