On Friday (May 11), the 409 members of the CalArts graduating class of 2018 walked across the stage to receive their degrees in the annual commencement ceremony.
This year’s graduation theme was “There Will Be Art,” headlining on a blank white board center stage. The board served as a canvas for colorful graffiti style naming all six of the Institute’s schools.
Contemporary artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds was awarded an honorary doctorate of arts degree from CalArts, the first Native American to do so in the 47 years of the Institute.
CalArts president Ravi Rajan made his grand entrance, in his first graduation ceremony here at CalArts, “hatching” from a five-foot tall white foam egg.
President Ravi Rajan addressed the graduating class:
“It is especially gratifying to recognize this great American artist whose work motivates us all to action. At CalArts, we educate our students to be Citizen Artists. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Edgar Heap of Birds has powerfully embodied that ethos. Using the vocabulary of contemporary art to advocate for indigenous peoples in the U.S. and beyond, he has taught us all how art is an essential component in the fight for social justice.”
—by Daniel R. Loyola