SCVBJ Tech Awards join CalArts Expo

College of the Canyons' Chris May (3) catches a pop fly during a baseball game against Antelope Valley College on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Valley will come together on May 3 to celebrate innovation, invention and technological excellence.

Where else but on the campus of the California Institute of the Arts.

The Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal’s first-ever Technology Awards will be staged on the same day as the private university’s annual student showcase, providing a unique opportunity for the valley’s most imaginative minds to further explore the limits of their creativity.

The CalArts Expo, which began seven years ago as what Ajay Kapur called a “renegade show” in one of the school’s hallways with about 30 or 40 students, has quickly become a vital piece of the institute’s DNA. This year’s event will include nearly one-third of CalArts’ 1,500 students, plus a keynote speaker for the first time.

“CalArts is so powerful. We’re so good at film. We’re so good at music. We’re so good at art. And theatre. And design,” said Kapur, the school’s associate dean for research and development in digital arts and one of two directors for the annual Expo. “What we wanted to do was make a day to celebrate innovation across all of those disciplines. That’s what the Expo is all about.”

The Expo will feature a variety of exhibitions, performances and panel discussions from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. – highlighted by the return of an Emmy and Annie Award-winning graduate to the school’s campus.

Animator, writer and director Jorge Gutierrez will deliver the Expo’s keynote address at 8:30 p.m. inside the Sharon Disney Lund Dance Theater. In addition to bringing to life the award-winning television series “El Tigre” and Nickelodeon’s “The Adventures of Manny Rivera,” Gutierrez directed “The Book of Life,” a 2015 Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature Film.

This year’s Expo has a record 10 sponsors, including a pair of Google divisions, ATAP and Magenta. The other sponsors are Ableton, City of Santa Clarita, Lockton, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, Kadenze, Output, Tech MD and wHY.

“It’s bigger than ever!” Kapur said.

The addition of the Business Journal’s 5:30 p.m. event, sponsored by the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, CalArts and SOS Entertainment, will further illustrate the SCV’s emerging brilliance in technology.

The SCVBJ will present eight awards, including Tech Company and CEO of the Year as well as honors for excellence in engineering, creativity and innovation.

“The Santa Clarita Valley is developing quickly as a technology hub, so it’s natural that the Business Journal highlights the companies and the people that are driving this,” SCVBJ Publisher Jason Schaff said. “We value our partnership with the EDC and CalArts in producing this event. They both are big promoters of this sector.”

The Business Journal’s first 2018 awards program, in honor of the SCV’s top women business leaders, attracted about 125 guests to the Valencia Country Club in February. The honorees included Dr. Dianne Van Hook, Cheri Fleming, Marlee Lauffer, Mitzi Like and Tania Mulry, plus 20 more of the area’s most influential female professionals.

The SCVBJ’s third and final scheduled event this year will honor the valley’s top businesses in December.

If you go

What: The 2018 California Institute of the Arts Expo and SCVBJ Technology Awards.
When: Thursday, May 3. The CalArts Expo will be from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. The SCVBJ Technology Awards will be from 5:30-7 p.m.
Where: CalArts, 24700 McBean Pkwy., Valencia.
On the web: CalArts Expo –; SCVBJ Technology Awards –

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