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Orientation at CalArts

New students learn about courses at a recent CalArts student orientation.

In a few days, you will send your child off to CalArts—and you may be dropping off a student at college for the first time. Even if you’ve gone through the drill before, you’ll quickly discover that orientation at CalArts is somewhat different than at other schools.

By now, you may have checked out the online information on orientation. If you haven’t, it’s available on the CalArts website. The site provides a detailed schedule of activities and other useful facts. If you are accompanying your child to Valencia, you’ll get to tour the campus, meet administrators, faculty, students and other parents, ask questions, and experience what a CalArts class is like. There are other aspects of orientation that are truly singular to CalArts, and you will be invited to participate. To reveal any more will spoil the fun!

Managing the First Weeks

But what about your child? How will he or she manage during the first few weeks?

Few people can address those questions as well as Leo F. Hobaica Jr., a Character Animation faculty member and assistant dean of the School of Film/Video. Hobaica has taught at CalArts since 1996, and has been helping to create and participate in an interesting orientation for the past several years. At orientation, Hobaica will address parents in a candid session he calls “THE TALK: Let’s Talk, Talk.”

Shaping Talent

While it’s exhilarating for new students to begin at CalArts, it may also take some adjustment.

"Your young artists have gotten into a very prestigious school. They’re thrilled to be here. They have great talent, and now they’re with peers as talented as they are. We want students to see that everyone comes from a different vantage point."—Leo F. Hobaica Jr., Character Animation faculty member and assistant dean of the School of Film/Video

CalArts students quickly learn that collaboration—whether it’s on a film, in a play, or as part of a music or dance ensemble—strengthens the entire presentation as well as each individual’s contribution.

Changing Perceptions

“We’re not just getting our students to dance well, though there’s nothing wrong with that,” Hobaica says. “We’re working to change their perceptions and challenging them to look inside themselves. If they’re smart and work hard, they’ll find a place or a person that can help them clarify or illuminate their personal voices. We’re helping them tell their truth.

“There’s a chance that they could turn out to be someone famous. They could end up alleviating some kind of suffering in the culture at large. Occasionally at our school, something brilliant happens.” But that doesn’t happen to everyone, he says, and there’s no shame in that.

"Most of us, myself included, are average citizens who have to consistently work hard on our craft and our studio practice, whatever the métier. Our drive, contentment and the nourishment we get from our studio practice, and ‘doing it our way,’ still gives us the advantage of living the type of lives we are deeply hungry for—and which the culture needs from us."—Leo F. Hobaica Jr.

Orientation begins on September 3. For more information, call the CalArts Student Affairs office at 661-253-7874. To see what makes CalArts tick, watch What’s CalArts All About?.

Last edited by rsdavid on May 07, 2014
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