Located in the Valencia neighbourhood of Santa Clarita city in southern California, the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is a national leader in the education of professional artists and was the first institution in the United States to offer both visual and performing arts degrees at undergraduate and graduate level.
CalArts was established in 1961 by Roy and Walt Disney by merging the Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music.
In 1971, the institute moved to its present location, a 60-acre residential campus around 35 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. The campus centrepiece is a 500,000 square-foot building that houses classrooms, galleries, theatres, studios, shops, laboratories, editing suites, a library and a cafeteria, while there is also a swimming pool, tennis courts, more laboratories and studio facilities and several accommodation complexes to house the 1,500 students currently involved.
There are six major schools of study – Music, Film and Video, Art, Dance, Theatre and Critical Studies – offering a number of degree courses which are taught by around 340 faculty members.
The links between CalArts and Disney has meant that a lot of graduates have become leading directors, actors and animators whose work is now world-famous.
Scores of arts industry leaders have graduated from CalArts over the years, enhancing the institute’s prestigious education even further.
Director Tim Burton, responsible for films including Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and John Lasseter, who directed the Toy Story films and several other Pixar classics are both among notable former CalArts students.
Other famous alumni include Henry Selick, Don Cheadle, David Hasselhoff, Brenda Chapman and Brad Bird.