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California Institute of the Arts to form long-term affiliation with Vermont College of Fine Arts

California Institute of the Arts to form long-term affiliation with Vermont College of Fine Arts

CalArts campus to host VCFA’s winter and summer residencies beginning in 2025

VALENCIA, Calif. (Apr. 2, 2024) – California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) today announced a formal affiliation that will join CalArts and VCFA together in the ongoing delivery of transformative arts education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The affiliation brings CalArts support to VCFA, the nation’s only college devoted entirely to graduate fine arts education, while enabling VCFA to retain its current accreditation and maintain academic independence. VCFA’s semiannual residencies, a hallmark of the college’s multidisciplinary, low-residency master of fine arts programs, will be hosted on CalArts’ Los Angeles-metro campus beginning in January 2025.

In a time of significant change in the higher-education landscape, this partnership signals a powerful commitment to the value of arts education, reinforcing CalArts’ position as one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious standalone colleges of the visual and performing arts, while affirming VCFA’s long-established strength in the delivery of low-residency MFA programs. The arrangement preserves the unique offerings of each institution while allowing both to continue to grow and evolve to support the diverse needs of artists today.

The affiliation will be formalized in July, pending approval from the two institutions’ accrediting bodies and their respective boards of trustees. 

“We’re delighted to establish this formal affiliation with our colleagues at VCFA,” said CalArts President Ravi S. Rajan. “The affiliation between our schools will strengthen both institutions and allow us both to continue to broaden the range of academic opportunities and creative collaborations available to artists. Together, we are expanding the arts ecosystem and supporting intergenerational learning that keeps artists at the center of all that we do. Many CalArtians, both alums and faculty members, have taught at VCFA and have connections with the faculty, so there is already kinship among colleagues, and solidarity between our educational philosophies.” 

The two institutions will remain academically independent of one another, each with its own trustees, admissions processes, faculty, degree programs, and academic requirements. VCFA, based in Montpelier, Vermont, will begin to hold its twice-yearly in-person residencies on CalArts’ campus starting in January 2025. 

“With our shared focus on supporting the development of diverse artists and fostering dialogue among disciplines, the mission alignment between CalArts and VCFA couldn’t be stronger,” said Rajan. “Our institutions share many values within arts education, including a commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and access; generative artmaking; academic excellence; creative freedom; and artistic experimentation.”

In a message to the VCFA community, CalArts Board Chair Charmaine Jefferson wrote, “CalArts’ Board of Trustees is honored to bring VCFA’s long history of transformation and excellence into fellowship with our CalArts community of artists. As VCFA and CalArts prepare to join in this new affiliation, we’re truly excited to share in VCFA’s distinguished legacy of innovation, transformation, and excellence, and in turn to provide the same.”

VCFA will maintain its own Board and accreditation, and will continue to administer its own academic standards and programs, while its new position under the CalArts umbrella will provide shared services and other institutional support and guidance. 

“We are thrilled to enter into this relationship with CalArts, a pioneering leader in arts education,” said Andrew Ramsammy, interim president of VCFA. “This collaboration signifies a momentous step forward in our commitment to fostering excellence, creativity, and inclusivity in art education. CalArts’ esteemed legacy and dedication to innovation make them the perfect partner as we embark on this transformative journey together. With CalArts, we are poised to cultivate creativity, foster inclusion, and champion equity in art education for students, faculty, and the entire artistic community.”


About CalArts

California Institute of the Arts has set the pace for educating professional artists since 1970. Offering rigorous undergraduate and graduate degree programs through six schools—Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater—CalArts champions creative excellence, critical reflection, and the development of new forms and expressions. As successive generations of faculty and alumni have helped shape the landscape of contemporary arts, the Institute first envisioned by Walt Disney encompasses a vibrant, eclectic community with global reach, inviting experimentation, independent inquiry, and active collaboration and exchange among artists, artistic disciplines, and cultural traditions.

About VCFA

As the only college devoted exclusively to graduate fine arts education, Vermont College of Fine Arts offers artists and writers a transformative and progressive educational experience in a unique low-residency format. Students and faculty join together twice a year for intense and invigorating in-person residencies, followed by six months of faculty-guided, self-designed, individualized study at home.