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The California State Summer School for the Arts is an intensive, creative residential program for the most talented high school students in California. Its mission is to train the next generation of arts professionals in animation, creative writing, dance, film & video, music, theatre, and visual arts. Entering its 27th year in Summer 2013, the program has trained more than 13,000 talented students.
Admission is offered to 500 California high school students, with 20 slots available for applicants outside the state and country. Students enrolled in grades 8 – 12 can apply to the program. Criteria for admission are artistic excellence and artistic potential. As part of the rigorous application process, students must prepare a portfolio specific to each artistic discipline. Submissions may include film, visual arts, or writing samples, or for music and dance, audition videos.
As mandated by the California State Summer School for the Arts’ enabling legislation, no student is denied admission solely on the basis of an inability to pay tuition or fees. On average about 40% of the students who attend the program qualify for full or partial tuition assistance. To date, nearly $4 million has been awarded to underserved students from throughout California.
The curriculum emphasizes process over product. Students are immersed in a creative laboratory under the guidance of professional artists, writers and performers of national stature. Students who complete the program receive three units of California State University course credit, are designated California Arts Scholars and are presented with the Governor’s medallion, the state’s highest distinction for artistically talented youth. Each year 21 of the most promising artists are selected to receive college scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $40,000, provided through a three-year, $1.2 million grant from The Herb Alpert Foundation, Scholarships for Emerging Young Artists Award Program.
The California State Summer School for the Arts is held at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), a fully accredited degree granting institution of higher learning for students of the visual, cinematic and performing arts in Valencia, CA.