California Institute Of The Arts

The nation's first art institute to offer BFAs and MFAs in both the visual and performing arts, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) is dedicated to training and nurturing the next generation of professional artists, fostering brilliance and innovation within the broadest context possible. Emphasis is placed on new and experimental work and students are admitted solely on the basis of artistic ability. To encourage innovation and experimentation, CalArts' six schools--Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music and Theater--are all housed under one roof in a unique, five-story building with the equivalent of 11 acres of square footage in Valencia, California, just 30 minutes north of downtown Los Angeles.

CalArts is the first institution of higher education in the United States to have offered undergraduate and graduate degrees in both visual and performing arts. It was established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney through the merger of two professional schools: the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, founded in 1883, and the Chouinard Art Institute, founded in 1921. CalArts moved to its permanent home in Valenc... [ Read All ]


United States

24700 McBean Parkway
Phone: 661 255 1050

College Photos (1)

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Our Aims

California Institute of the Arts educates artists in a learning environment founded on artmaking excellence, creative experimentation, critical reflection and the diversity of voices. To advance the exploration of new forms and expressions, CalArts urges collaboration and reciprocity among artists, artistic disciplines and cultural traditions both on campus and in ongoing engagement with communities near and far.  

Location and Getting there  

Department and information about the department

CalArts School of Art offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of art, graphic design and photography. The undergraduate programs lead to the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree and the graduate programs to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree.



The School of Art is committed to artistic innovation and intellectual rigor. The school�s programs emphasize critical thinking about art and design in terms of context and use, and encourage work that challenges established ideas.


Embracing the most contemporary movements in art and design, the school endeavors to anticipate, and even influence, what artists will do in the future instead of adhering to prevailing conventions and doctrines.


The school's faculty consists of noted innovators and leaders in contemporary creative practice. Since all faculty members are working artists with an abundance of real-world experience, they can better prepare students for the creative and professional demands of contemporary art ...  [ Read All ]

Academic Staff and Description

School of Art Faculty  

News and Events

Please see for current exhbition and event details.  

Information For  Undergraduates


A CalArts education is based on both artistic and intellectual rigor. To ensure that every undergraduate has the broad knowledge and cultural sophistication needed for successful arts careers in today’s world, all candidates for the BFA degree must complete the Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements in addition to coursework in their individual programs.

Designed to broaden vision and encourage well-informed, innovative artmaking, the Critical Studies Undergraduate Requirements help students to develop analytical, writing and research skills, and to learn about a broad range of topics in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and cultural studies. The Critical Studies curriculum also includes many courses directly related to each student’s own métier—his or her chosen art form.

All BFA candidates are expected to take a total of 46 units in Critical Studies by the time of graduation. This amounts to two to three courses per semester and represents about 40 percent of each student’s overall course load.

In the first or second semester of the f...  [ Read All ]

Information For  International Students

The Office of International Students and Programs extends various services to international students, including advice on visas and immigration issues, housing, locating English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) classes off-campus, intercultural mediation and U.S. tax information.  

Student Facilities

Located 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, CalArts occupies 60 acres on hills overlooking the incorporated city of Santa Clarita, which encompasses the towns of Valencia, Newhall, Saugus and Canyon Country. The Santa Clarita Valley is bordered by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north, the San Gabriels to the east and the Santa Susannas to the west—all visible from campus. Historically, the valley has been devoted to agriculture and cattle ranching, but the last three decades have seen the northward expansion of metropolitan Los Angeles. This ongoing development has resulted in new residential and commercial districts and an ever-growing population of more than 150,000.

At the center of the CalArts campus is a sprawling five-level, 500,000-square-foot building, where, according to Walt Disney’s original vision for CalArts, different artistic disciplines share space and commingle under one roof. This structure houses classrooms, art studios, animation studios, music rehearsal rooms and dance studios; galleries, theaters for drama, dance and film, and a music performance hall; costume, scenery and machine shops; photo labs, ...  [ Read All ]

Student Support


The Office of Student Affairs delivers a wide variety of services to help students to meet the challenges of a fast-paced undergraduate or graduate education in the arts. The primary aim of the office is to improve the quality of student life by addressing issues such as adjusting to college and graduate school, being a member of the CalArts community, and preparing for the transition from CalArts.

Student Affairs provides career development services to aid students in preparing for employment in the arts following graduation. The resident career counselor helps students to obtain internships, both paid and unpaid, as part of extending their education and professional training. Other career development services include frequent Survival Workshops to cover topics such as resumé preparation, interviewing techniques, grant writing, contracts and copyright law.

In addition, Student Affairs offers free and confidential counseling services to all students. Two licensed therapists provide short-term solution-based counseling, crisis intervention and referrals to off-campus mental health services,...  [ Read All ]


CalArts has two residence halls: Chouinard Hall and Ahmanson Hall.

The four-story Chouinard Hall houses approximately 340 students in double-occupancy dormitory rooms and is open to all students. Each room is furnished with twin beds, desks, chairs, dressers and a closet. For every two rooms there is a shared bathroom with two sinks, a shower stall and a partitioned toilet. Cooking pantries are located on every floor and each comes equipped with a refrigerator, an electric range and oven, a microwave oven and a sink.

Ahmanson Hall features 17 suites housing a total of 99 students. It is open to all graduate students, third- and fourth-year undergraduate students, and students over the age of 30. Each suite features five or six private bedrooms, a common living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. The kitchen in each suite is equipped with a refrigerator, a range and oven, cabinetry and a sink, while the bathroom features two sinks, a shower stall and a partitioned toilet.


The Office of Student Affairs maintains a list of housing referrals. These consist of rooms in private homes, apartments and ...  [ Read All ]

How To Apply  

Visit us (open days)

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to visit CalArts to experience the full range of activities on campus. All concerts, gallery openings, film screenings, theater productions, dance performances and other events are open to visitors.

Tours and information sessions are scheduled throughout the year. To schedule a visit, contact the Office of Admissions at 661 255-1050 or 800 545-ARTS, or write to  

Request a prospectus (Number, e-mail or follow link)