Although Friday the 13th is a day generally associated with bad luck, CalArts turned the superstition on its ear as the community celebrated the inauguration of its fourth president, Ravi S. Rajan, with a day of performances and visual arts.
Rajan follows in the footsteps of his predecessors: Robert W. Corrigan, Robert J. Fitzpatrick and Steven D. Lavine.
Festivities kicked off in the Main Gallery at 9 a.m. with an exhibition of artwork by CalArts students and alumni curated by artist Dave Muller (Art MFA 93).
The celebration continued at 10 a.m. with a processional to The Wild Beast concert pavilion with musical performances by CalArts’ African Ensemble and Gamelan and large-scale sculptural heads of CalArts’ four presidents wheeled along the route.
Once at The Wild Beast, the inauguration ceremony began with “Fanfare for (R)evolution Arts,” a new musical piece written for the occasion by Herb Alpert School of Music Dean David Rosenboom and selected lines from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s “Poetry as Insurgent Art.”
Board of Trustees Chair Tim Disney and other CalArts community members then offered formal remarks and introduced President Rajan’s inaugural address.
Afterwards, the President’s noontime Welcome Lunch featured food trucks and special performances by the CalArts Latin Jazz Ensemble and Rajan himself on trumpet.
Rajan’s inauguration also served as the launch of CalArts Weekend, the Institute’s annual homecoming celebration, welcoming alumni, parents and the CalArts community for conversations, performances, tours, class visits, a carnival, and the first concert of the Wild Beast Concert Series 2017-2018 season.
— Katie Dunham