Festivities at CalArts Community Weekend Features Art, and World Music and Dance

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CalArts’ Community Weekend kicks off on Friday, April 26 and runs through Sunday, April 28. Open to the public, the weekend features free concerts and art exhibitions, including the annual CalArts World Music and Dance Festival and CalArts MFA Open Studios.

With roots tracing back to the early 1970s, the CalArts World Music and Dance Festival brings celebrated international artists to perform with faculty and students. The 2024 festival features music from Iran, Bali, Indonesia, India, Ghana, West Africa, and Japan, as well as cross-cultural fusion from much of the rest of the world.

One of the highlights of opening night is the Balinese Gamelan Ensemble directed by master-artist teacher I Nyoman Wenten and Nanik Wenten. Featuring guest artists I Made Sutjita, Hirotaka Inuzuka (Music MFA 10), and Joti Rockwell, this special performance celebrates the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and the US.

On Saturday night, the North Indian Faculty concert showcases the exceptional talents of guest artist Santoor Maestro Pandit Madan Oak. He will be accompanied on tabla by the world-renowned Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, a distinguished and long-serving faculty member of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts.

Closing out the festival on Sunday night is this year’s headlining act, Extra Ancestral. Founded by Kahlil Cummings in 2017, the performance group is dedicated to educating and entertaining audiences through music, dance, and visual arts that express the diverse cultural manifestations of the African Diaspora. Inspired by the historical significance of music and dance as ancient forms of healing, Extra Ancestral endeavors to uphold this tradition by integrating genres such as Afrobeat, Reggae, Jazz, Salsa, and traditional African forms into their dynamic concerts. 

Presented by The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, the festival is a family-friendly event with comfortable bench and lawn seating—ideal for a picnic-style experience. Additionally, for those who can’t make it in person, concerts will be live streamed on the CalArts Music YouTube Channel. Check out the full schedule here

Popping up during CalArts’ Community Weekend on Saturday and Sunday is the vibrant Artisan Market, showcasing an array of creative works for sale by guest vendors, CalArts alumni, staff, and current students. The market will be open between 4-8 pm on both days. 

View MFA Art at Open Studios
Wall of MFA art
CalArts School of Art Open Studios 2022 – MFA Christine Yerie Lee | Photo: CalArts.

CalArts’ Community Weekend also features the CalArts MFA Open Studios. On Saturday, the School of Art welcomes the public to an exhibition showcasing works by graduate students from the Art, Art & Technology, Graphic Design, and Photo & Media programs. Art studios will be open from 4:30 to 8:30 pm, with performance art and video screenings presented throughout the day. 

Visitors can navigate the studios on self-guided tours. Light snacks, refreshments, and a beer garden will be set up on the outdoor patios.

Admission and parking for CalArts Community Weekend is free and open to the public. 

Related: Beyond the Blue Wall podcast on the World Music Festival: https://calarts.buzzsprout.com/1066594/14721981-beyond-the-blue-wall-world-music-festival

World Music Festival interview on SCVTV.com: https://scvtv.com/2024/04/10/calarts-setting-the-stage-for-world-music-and-dance-festival/

CalArts Wild Beast | Image by California Institute of the Arts
PUBLISHED BY Elizabeth McRae

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24700 is CalArts‘ online space dedicated to sharing news and work of the larger CalArts community from around the world. The news site captures stories of the exploration of new forms and expressions in the arts by our students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

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