Earlier today (June 24), CalArts Chairman of the Board of Trustees Tim Disney and President Steven D. Lavine announced that Lavine will step down from his current position in May 2017, after an unprecedented 29-year tenure. For the next two years, President Lavine will focus on key initiatives that will serve as the capstone to his CalArts career. The announcement also gives the Institute’s trustees ample time to conduct a thorough, worldwide search to find a new CalArts leader who will shepherd CalArts into the future.
“[Lavine’s] strategic and creative vision has enriched CalArts in ways few could have imagined,” Disney said in a press release, which also noted several of Lavine’s top line accomplishments:
- Helping CalArts become one of the most ethnically and racially diverse art schools in the United States, with students now coming from 40 countries worldwide.
- Tripling the Institute’s annual fundraising and growing its endowment by 476 percent since 1988. Major endowment gifts have led to the naming of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance and The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.
- Envisioning a CalArts presence downtown, Lavine led the effort to build the internationally renowned Roy and Edna Disney CalArts Theater (REDCAT), which opened in 2003 in the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
- Founding CalArts’ Community Arts Partnership (CAP), an award-winning national model that brings the arts to underserved students throughout Los Angeles.
- Spearheading a $42 million campaign to rebuild CalArts after the 1994 Northridge earthquake disaster, reopening the campus in just eight months.
- Opening the new Patty Disney Center for Life and Work, which offers innovative approaches to students and alumni making lifelong careers in the arts.
- Adding innovative programs and resources in technology, as well as a Doctor of Musical Arts degree for Performer/Composers in The Herb Alpert School of Music.
President Lavine’s departure in 2017 also signals the loss of another CalArts champion in his wife Janet Sternburg. Noted Lavine: “Janet has been my partner, confidant and closest advisor every step of the way. An acclaimed writer and artist, she has also given her heart, mind and soul to CalArts. Thanks to her wisdom and clear-sightedness, there is no one I would rather stand with in times of crisis and of strength.”
The Board of Trustees has initiated its comprehensive succession plan, retaining the firm of Isaacson, Miller to conduct the search for the Institute’s next President. James Lovelace, Vice Chairman of the Board, and Jamie Lynton, Trustee, have been selected as co-chairs of the search committee and will partner closely with members of the CalArts community throughout the search process. Disney added, “I look forward to engaging the entire CalArts community over the next two years to celebrate President Lavine’s many achievements, as well as to find a worthy successor.”