By Mike Murphy
Newsweek and the Daily Beast recently did a review of colleges and universities and released a list, by program, of the top schools in each category. Santa Clarita's own California Institute of the Arts ("Cal Arts") ranked number one for Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees and was cited as "the most artistic school in the country."
The methodology used by this survey varies from others, which rank strictly by academic performance. Newsweek and The Daily Beast included such things as how imaginative the school's study body is and how much it fosters a creative atmosphere for the students.
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To quantify the criteria, the survey considered the percentage of students majoring in visual and performing arts and the number of official campus clubs devoted to artistic pursuits. These included drama, music ensembles, dance, film society, literary magazine, musical theatre, student newspaper and television station. Cal Arts placed first ahead of some of the top universities in the nation offering fine arts programs, such as NYU, USC, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon and Northwestern.
Cal Arts Media Relations Manager Margaret Crane said in a press release that the school is "internationally recognized as a leading laboratory for the visual, performing, media, and literary arts" and that the college "consistently produces outstanding artists across the disciplines including actor Don Cheadle, Pixar's John Lasseter and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Mark Bradford."
Reacting to the survey, Cal Arts President Steven Lavine said, "I've never been a fan of pitting institutes of higher learning against each other, but it is undeniably gratifying to receive this recognition. Cal Arts selects students for evidence of their creative potential and we strive to provide an environment that supports that creative development rather than trying to mold students to a preconceived idea of artistic excellence. The accomplishments of our alumni, across so many fields both within and outside the arts, are the best proof that confident creativity is their greatest asset."
For information on the exhibits and performances available at CalArts, visit www.calarts.edu/calendar .