CalArts to celebrate inauguration of President Ravi S. Rajan

Ravi S. Rajan, fourth President of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). Photo by Myles Pettengill, Courtesy of CalArts

With music, art, rolling sculptures and a fleet of food trucks, California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) will celebrate the inauguration of its fourth President Ravi S. Rajan next month.

The all-day festival on Oct. 13 will feature a creative processional, musical performances, an inaugural address from Rajan and a welcome lunch.

The inauguration also kicks off CalArts Weekend Oct. 13 and 14, which welcomes alumni, friends and family to institute as they attend forums, watch alumni performances and act as “students for a day.”

According to CalArts, the weekend includes two elements of Rajan’s leadership vision: supporting open inquiry and pluralism, and recognizing young artists as agents of change.

“Ravi believes deeply in CalArts’ core mission, and has lived it himself as an artist and educator,” said Tim Disney, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at CalArts in a statement. “I believe this personal experience, along with his lively imagination, his commitment to innovation, experimentation and excellence, and most importantly, his generosity of spirit, make Ravi the right leader to guide CalArts now and into the future.”

Rajan joined CalArts this fall after serving as the dean of the School of Arts at State University of New York at Purchase (SUNY Purchase).

At SUNY Purchase, Rajan created the master’s program in Entrepreneurship in the Arts—the first of its kind in the world—and launched a $100 million capital renovation of the school’s art and design facilities.

He also worked with Nobel Prize-winning scientists on multimedia projects at The Rockefeller University, performed with various ensembles including productions on and off Broadway, and collaborated with other artists in the production of installation works and theater performances.

Rajan’s inauguration is expected to be an event true to CalArts fashion and begin at 9 a.m. in the institute’s Main Gallery.

An hour later, a processional, featuring musical performances by CalArts’ African Ensemble and Gamelan, large-scale sculptural heads of CalArts’ four presidents and contributions from the institute’s six schools, will lead the crowd to The Wild Beast outdoor pavilion.

The start of the ceremony will be announced with a “Fanfare for (R)evolution Arts” written for the occasion by David Rosenboom, dean of Herb Alpert School of Music, and a delivery of selected lines from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s call to action “Poetry as Insurgent Art.”

Disney will offer welcoming remarks and introduce guests and performers before Rajan will give his inaugural address.

After the inauguration, attendees will participate in the President’s Welcome Lunch featuring entertainment from CalArts’ Latin Jazz Ensemble and a solo trumpet performance by Rajan.

Rajan’s inauguration is free and open to the public.  To RSVP for the event visit:

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