‘Be bold, daring’: CalArtians Celebrate 2020 Graduation

The COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t put a damper on the joyousness of CalArts’ 2020 graduation, which was held for the first time ever as a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 15.

The livestreamed event included remarks from CalArts leadership, including President Ravi Rajan, Provost Tracie Costantino, and Board of Trustees President Tim Disney. Notable alumni, including animator Pete Docter (Film/Video BFA 90), actor Ed Harris (Theater BFA 75), and composer Chrysanthe Tan (Critical Studies MFA 14, Music MFA 17), to name a few, also offered congratulations and words of encouragement to the class of 2020. 

Fashion designer Marco Morante (Theater BFA 02) shared his own experience of stepping into an uncertain future. (His was the first class to graduate after 9/11.) Morante urged graduates to fearlessly blaze new trails: “The world is literally being remolded, and you will be the first to contribute with fresh minds and new perspectives. I encourage you to do so with passion.”

Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Nataki Garrett (Theater MFA 02) echoed similar sentiments: “Know that the road is already paved, and it might be long and there might be bumps, but you have what it takes to move out there in the world. You will be the future of the artistry of this world.”

“Do not pigeonhole yourself,” advised dancer Kevin Zambrano (Dance BFA 18). “You are better than you think you are, so you better take risks. Go out there and show the world what you’re made of!”

Graduates, alumni, friends, and family took to social media to celebrate the ceremony in real time:

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Graduated from CalArts May 15, 2020. BFA

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CalArts’ ceremony was included in a graduation segment by PBS NewsHour, featuring clips of the African music and dance ensembles, as well as multimedia artist Beatriz Cortez (Art MFA 15). “About the uncertainty, embrace it,” said Cortez. “Improvise. Be bold, daring …. Keep creating your music, your films, your dance, keep making your art for today, for the future.”

If you missed the virtual ceremony, it’s available to watch on Vimeo. And, an in-person graduation ceremony for the class of 2020 is also being scheduled for the weekend of Oct. 15-18. 

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