March 20 Message to CalArts Alumnx from President Ravi Rajan - For Alumni

The following message was distributed to CalArts Alumni from the CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan

As each of us copes with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways in which it has changed our lives—large and small—I’m taking this moment to write to our CalArtian alumnx. 

As artists, community is at our core. Our work, much more often than not, is designed for close proximity. Concerts, recitals, and exhibitions are our workspace. Because of this, the concept and practice of social distancing, which we have been asked to abide by for the safety of our society, seems to have a particularly harsh impact on our life and work. And yet, the very same social distancing is integral to our ability to flatten the curve to protect one another.

I know that many of your performances and gigs are getting cancelled, rehearsals and other collaborative processes are in flux, many of you might be or become out of work, and there is a great deal of uncertainty as to what will happen next. The arts community—our community—is being hit extremely hard: Artists, production teams, venues, and audiences crucial to our art practices across disciplines are threatened by immediate and long term communal and economic disruption.

As we navigate these next weeks together, CalArts and our Office of Alumnx and Family Engagement will continue to be in touch with you to relay services and opportunities to connect and create remotely. Today, that includes our social media sites, including our Facebook group and Instagram (tag #calartsalumni and @calartsalumni), as well as our e-newsletter and The Pool, including class notes. There are seed grants available through the Alumnx Council. And in the coming weeks, we will launch additional professional development resources in collaboration with The Patty Disney Center for Life and Work. There will be more to come.

Here on campus, we are currently in the midst of what has become a vast pedagogical experiment of how faculty can engage with and mentor students. All CalArts classes are temporarily on pause until March 22, 2020, and remote forms of instruction will begin on March 23, 2020 as we continue the spring semester. In-person classes, rehearsals, meetings, etc. will migrate to online platforms during this time. We have a number of students residing in the dorms, and taking care of them and keeping them healthy is our first priority, as is ensuring that all students receive excellent curricular delivery and remain on track to graduate. The health and wellbeing of our faculty is also critical to the vitality of our community. You can find more information about the Institute’s continuing response on our website, which is updated daily.

Despite this disruption, the work of our community of artists continues. Regardless of what we are facing, I know that as CalArtians we—as individuals, and as a community—will continue to innovate. As artists we are a beacon of creativity, levity, and support to our world at this time.

Most importantly, know that you are in our thoughts. We see you, and we are here for you. Let’s stay in touch and get through this together.


Ravi S. Rajan


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