I can’t speak on the other programs outside of animation, but it’s a fantastic culture with great opportunities to network in order to make it into the industry. Outside of the “clout” one receives by being a CalArts alumni, you really get out what you put into your education here. I’ve heard many wonderful things about how passionate the faculty is about their peers, with a few exceptions. If you’re able to afford it and feel pretty firm on wanting to enter this industry, I’d say this is the place for you.
Calarts is a place for serious artists. The overall structure of the academic system is very loose so it can be very easy to lose focus if you're not careful. Overall I think this is the best art institution out there. All of the students are hardworking and the professors are super helpful.
Californian Institute of the Arts, or CalArts as it's more often referred to, is a well known arts college, known as one of the top animation schools, with an especially good reputation as it was founded by Walt Disney himself. The school reflects a sort of pride in it's origins and it's students. The student body is incredibly diverse and friendly, with art majors ranging from Character Animation to Fine Arts to Dance to Political Aesthetics. There's always something to do, and the facilities are well maintained. Teachers are for the most part, amazing and are working industry professionals so at no point in time do you feel like they're feeding you outdated information on the industry of your choice. The workload is heavy and the actors sometimes party a little too hard for my taste, but the school itself remains simply incredible.
The teachers truly care about you as an individual artist and help you to find/develop your own creative processes. They see students as equals rather than a means to a paycheck. Students on campus are all incredibly talented and passionate individuals and are open to conversation of any kind. I'm giving an overall 4/5 stars simply because there is always room for improvement!
It has a great atmosphere of acceptance and friendliness that makes you feel that you can be who ever you are without judgement. And they do try to create an atmosphere that encourages creativity. However, for the price, the facilities could be better particularly in the music department where they lack some technological advancements needed to create music in the modern world.
I didn't visit CalArts before being accepted and going, which is on me. I can only vouch for the graduate program. There were only two dorms on campus when I attended. One for grad students and one for undergrad. I loved most of my roommates, but sharing a single bathroom and kitchen with five other people was a bit problematic at times. I also didn't have a car and this school is in a remote location. Valencia isn't really a walking city, but I made do with daily trips to Ralph's. The other students in my program were awesome and the small class size made it possible to really interact. Loved the Thursday night parties, the Halloween party (legendary), CalArts Bob, and the Erotic Masquerade Ball. Did way too many drugs. Met a lot of really interesting people. The big question I continue to ask myself after all these years, was it worth the cost? And I'm still not sure. It's a very expensive school and chances of getting a scholarship are slim to none. That's the only thing. If I was given a chance to do it again and still pay the same amount of money and still have this much debt a decade out of school, I don't think I would do it. That's just me. Getting a job as a writer, actor, painter, whatever, is tough. Having to pay down debt while you do that just adds more pressure. Also, I hated my mentor. We didn't get along from the start and that was a problem. And the school offered little to no help with job placement or guidance after graduation. Still, it was a good time while it lasted.
There is always something to do on campus or off, depending on if you have a car. It is very isolated and there's not much to walk to outside of the Valencia marketplace. There's a lot of problems here with sexual assault; not only that but rumors around here are spread easily and frequently. The faculty is amazing as are the facilities in at least my department. There is no "cool" group, as we are all just the weird art school kids that isolated themselves in high school.
I hold a good opinion of the school. It isn't big in it's size but the animation and and film schools are especially good. It's very free and open and there are fair amount of opportunities. I have currently finished my first year and still have a fair amount left to explore.
I've visited the campus and will be attending in a few days, but know a lot about the school already and have a community of fellow students in my major, Character Animation. It's a small, private school, and there's 40-60 people each year in my major who are accepted. This, and the culture on campus, means you get to know everyone kind of well and build a close-knit community. The school is expensive, but I know there's supposedly a lot of networking and other opportunities. There's clubs and apparently always some kind of event going on, and many are student performances. The food is average, and I've been spoiled by a really nice dorm from a different art school I attended for a year, but the community and education seems great.
California Institute of the Arts is the place to be if you really want to indulge yourself in an art community. Every art college supports each other in some unique way. Finding help for projects or even life is very easy to find is that the people there are friendly and easy to socialize with. There is not a lot of drama being that everyone needs each other for their art. There are parties but they are very secretive so the faculty will not interfere and find out about them.
I am currently studying my Masters in Fine Arts, majoring in Composition and Experimental Sound Practices. The staff are very approachable and generous with their time. Fellow students are passionate and extremely talented, and the alumni community remains invested into the school, and feed back into it once they are in the industry.
CalArts is the most unique experience I have ever encountered. Every persons of every background are welcome and encouraged to be their authentic selves. The main issue with the school is the lack of money being put back into the institution. There is outdated equipment and the dorms are constantly making student uneasy.
CalArts is a club, every CalArtian knows that, but the school is what YOU make it. It can be the best experience of your life if you advocate for yourself, and not wait to let opportunity come to you. This school is not for the faint of heart.
It's an excellent school for students that are committed to their craft. You will be extremely busy--think 60 to 80 hours a week working on assignments for class, plus extra for any projects that you want to do with peers or friends. The teachers are great and classes are very tailored to how the student body offers up. They're handling the coronavirus shutdown and online classroom situation very well, adjusting course trajectories to accommodate for changing circumstances.
The school in my opinion is a great place for art driven people to come to. It has facilities made for all types of majors in the arts industry. The school is also a great environment for collaborations between majors to start. The housing situation would need an improvement for their grouping situation.
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