View Photos from CalArts’ 50th Anniversary Weekend

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CalArts threw an epic, three-day celebration of the arts during its 50th anniversary weekend. And what a party it was.

Honoring the Institute’s first five decades of art-making, education, and out-of-the-box thinking, nearly 1,800 people registered for events held April 28 through 30 on the Valencia campus, and many others dropped by to listen to music at the 2023 World Music Festival or view works from MFA artists during Open Studios—and were treated to surprises galore.

CalArts' 50th Anniversary: Saturday

The highlights from the weekend are too numerous to name, but we spied more than a few laughs and tears at various alumnx reunion events. The same goes for the conversation in the Lund—Bookends: A Conversation With Bobby John, Carey, and Ravi—on Saturday morning with CalArts’ second president Bob Fitzpatrick, alum Carey Lovelace (Music BFA 75), and Ravi Rajan, CalArts current president.

Alums and art enthusiasts from greater LA came to view the Happenings—more than 75 durational, performative, and immersive projects that took place throughout the campus on Friday night and Saturday day. At the reunion dinner on Saturday night, the Alumnx Council honored several people, including Tim Disney, former chair of the CalArts Board of Trustees; Bob Fitzpatrick, former CalArts president; and Jim Lovelace, current trustee.

CalArts' 50th Anniversary (Friday)

The night also recognized alum John Henningsen (Theater MFA 15), who received the Distinguished Alumnx Award, the highest honor the Institute can bestow upon a graduate; and the inaugural Young Alumnx Award, given to an alumnx under 40 who has already had an incredible impact in their respective field, to Liz Toonkel (Interschool MFA 12).

Students and classes of 2020 and 2021 and their guests took over campus late Saturday night and into the small hours of Sunday for a WWE-themed Drag Ball.

Alums also came back to play, sing, and dance during the World Music Fest performances, which can all be viewed on The Herb Alpert School of Music’s YouTube channel.

Since pictures can paint a thousand words, visit our Flickr site to view photos from CalArts’ 50th Anniversary.

Watch alums from all five decades sing and dance to Atsiagbekor during the World Music Festival.
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PUBLISHED BY Christine N. Ziemba

Christine is the director of Content at CalArts, responsible for the Institute's editorial in both print and online platforms. In addition, she oversees CalArts' social media accounts. In her spare time, she writes about the Santa Clarita food scene at

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