Honoring the Legacy of a Beloved CalArtian

Honoring the Legacy of a Beloved CalArtian

When John Bache passed away in December 2019, CalArts lost more than an esteemed faculty member. Over nearly four decades and in many roles, including photography faculty, associate dean of the Art School, associate provost, and acting provost, Bache was known for his kindness and patience, and for his deep commitment to students and the Institute. “He was CalArts and CalArts was him,” says his son, Ryan. “He simply made our world better,” says Andrew Freeman, Associate Dean and faculty in the School of Art and one of Bache’s former students.

For many years, Bache was director of the Photo Lab, providing technical expertise for generations of photography students. “He taught a class in basic photo processes for non-majors, in an attempt to foster some interdisciplinary outreach,” says Thomas Lawson, Dean of the School of Art and the Jill and Peter Kraus Distinguished Chair in Art. “He was very involved in the Community Arts Partnership,” the CalArts program that provides free arts instruction for youths throughout Los Angeles, and he created the Saturday morning photography program for high school students, many of whom would eventually enroll at CalArts. Adds Freeman, “John knew how to present information to students so that they could get the most out of it, by teaching to their needs. Because of John’s magnanimous way of being, it often gets lost that he was also a very good photographer.”

Within days of Bache’s passing, Ryan and his sister, Rachel Falk, decided to create a scholarship in their dad’s memory at the institution to which he devoted more than half his life. “As I looked at my dad’s career and how many years he was at CalArts and the number of lives he touched, and thought about how invested he was in programs that support young artists like the Community Arts Partnership, I thought we should do something to support students who want to study at CalArts,” says Ryan, who, like his sister, is a teacher. “He taught a lot of students who, without scholarships, wouldn’t have had access to institutions like CalArts.”

The R. John Bache Memorial Scholarship is designed to support students with a focus on photography, but who also have talent, passion, and a demonstrated need for support.  The need for scholarships at CalArts is great, and has only increased during the coronavirus pandemic, as many students and their families have faced significant financial hardships. CalArts is committed to increasing scholarship support for students, and the Bache Scholarship is one way to meet the need.

After Bache retired, he continued to stay connected to CalArts by teaching in the Community Arts Partnership program. “Teaching was clearly his mission,” Ryan says. “It was important to him to reach as many students as possible. Hopefully, many young, talented artists will be able to attend CalArts through the Bache Scholarship. We hope the scholarship lives on for years and years.”

Click to learn how you can support the R. John Bache Memorial Scholarship and help the next generation of students in the arts realize their dream of a CalArts education.

Visit the Financial Aid website to learn more about scholarships at CalArts.