Everything you need to know about Friday’s CalArts graduation

California Institute of the Arts students proceed to their seats ahead of the school's 2017 commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 12, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Hundreds of students from the internationally renowned California Institute of the Arts will don their hand-made costumes and decorated dresses, as they grace the stage for the 2018 graduation ceremony.

The Graduation Courtyard will be packed with future graduates from the school’s 70 comprehensive degree programs in the visual, performing, media and literary arts.

The self-described “all-inclusive community for a diverse set of authentic voices” will begin the ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday on the north side of campus, along McBean Parkway.

The crowd applause as California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) President Ravi Rajan walks up the stage to deliver his speech during his inauguration at the campus in Valencia on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Similar to CalArts, the ceremony is very informal, the website reads. “There are no robes, gowns or hats.”

Many students opt to wear an orchid lei during commencement. While bouquets and leis will be sold at commencement, guests are encouraged to pre-order and pick up their leis on campus ahead of the ceremony so that students are photographed wearing their leis when crossing the commencement stage.

The ceremony takes place outside, so depending on the weather, the temperature can range from very warm to cool once the sun sets. Seating is limited, so if you are expecting a large group it is advised to come early to secure seats in the shade.

California Institute of the Arts graduate Antonio Perez walks to his seat with his fellow graduates in a Mother Nature-inspired outfit that Perez says relates to his artistic work. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Parking on campus is limited due to construction. If parking on campus is preferred, it is recommended to arrive two hours prior to the beginning of the ceremony. Disabled parking, with visible placard, is available on campus.

Off-site parking and a shuttle back to CalArts will be available at the Mormon Church on McBean Parkway.

The school suggests that families allot extra time for the drive up the 5 freeway on Friday evening.

“It is a favorite route out of Los Angeles and is often more crowded and slower than anticipated,” officials said. “Drive time from LAX to CalArts can take as long as 1.5 hours during rush hour.”

Rose Marie Strasen, right, and Audrey Grace Stanton, left, sip champagne straight from the bottle as they wait for the 2017 California Institute of the Arts commencement ceremonies to begin on Friday, May 12, 2017. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

For those who’d prefer to avoid the rush and watch from home, the CalArts’ Commencement will be live-streamed at facebook.com/CalArtsGraduation.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided in the Main Gallery.

For more information, contact the Office of Student Affairs at 661-253-7874 or [email protected].

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