Celebrating Philanthropy’s Impact at CalArts

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Against a backdrop of cinematic magic at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California, CalArts honored the transformative power that philanthropy has had in nurturing the dreams of countless artists. The annual Scholarship Reception Event, held on April 9, brought together a number of the Institute’s talented students with many of the donors whose support for their scholarships has helped to make their experience at CalArts possible.

“Tonight, we are here to recognize our talented scholarship recipients and the donors whose generosity and support have made those scholarships a reality,” Ramsey Naito (Art MFA 95) told those gathered in her welcoming remarks. Naito is president of Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Animation, which hosted the event, as well as a member of the CalArts Board of Trustees.

In 2023, CalArts provided nearly $26 million in scholarship support to students, and much of that support came from individuals and organizations. The overwhelming majority of students at CalArts receive some form of support from scholarships or fellowships to help reduce the cost of their attendance at the Institute.

“It’s incredibly satisfying to see the next generation of artists—who are on the cusp of joining the ranks of CalArtians who have shaped the arts in Los Angeles and beyond for the past 50 years—alongside some of the people who stepped forward and helped make it possible for them to pursue a CalArts’ education,” said Ravi Rajan, president of CalArts. Then, speaking directly to the donors in the room, he continued: “Your dedication to our students’ success, through the financial support of scholarships and fellowships, is directly helping us remove financial barriers and create greater access to CalArts.”

People gathered at reception with large orange "Nick" logo in lights against the wall
CalArts Scholarship Recipient Reception hosted at Nickelodeon Burbank Animation Studio. | Photo credit: Rafael Hernandez

As part of the reception, a brief video highlighted the work of three scholarship students: Aniya Washington (Film/Video BFA 26), the recipient of the Mark Borneman Memorial Scholarship, the Walt Disney Company Scholarship, and the David and Marianna Fisher Scholarship; Amarise Defranco (Film/Video BFA 25), the recipient of the William H. Ahmanson Foundation Endowed Scholarship, the David and Marianna Fisher Scholarship, and the Golden Globe Foundation Scholarship; and Alan Gonzalez (Music BFA 24) the recipient of the Fletcher Jones Foundation Scholarship. In addition, the work of a dozen additional scholarship students was highlighted in a video montage that was played in one of Nickelodeon’s screening rooms during the reception.

“As a trustee and member of the CalArts community,” Naito told the gathering, “I want to thank you, our donors, for supporting educational opportunities for our talented students. We celebrate you and what you make possible.”

—Greg Houle

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