cal state summer school for the artsThe California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) is a rigorous, month-long residential training program for talented and motivated high school students.  Established in 1985 by the California State Legislature, CSSSA selects students based on review of applications in Animation, Creative Writing, Dance, Film/Video, Music, Theatre and the Visual Arts.  More than 12,000 young artists have immersed themselves in the intensive, multi-disciplinary artistic environment.  At the end of the four weeks, on the campus of CalArts in Valencia, CA, students leave filled with new ideas for the future, new bodies of work, and new friendships.  CSSSA teachers are distinguished college and university instructors and accomplished artists, many of international prominence.  CSSSA strives to engage faculty who are practicing, professional artists.

The California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA) expects that while some graduates will become professional artists, others will go on to apply their creative skills in other professions. The goal is to provide an educational experience that goes beyond the practice and improvement of aesthetics and technique. CSSSA broadens the students' understanding of their creative potentials, regardless of their eventual life paths.

Through the California State Summer School for the Arts Foundation and its Scholarship Fund, no student is denied admission because of an inability to pay room, board and tuition. Nearly 40% of students receive partial or full tuition scholarships and, to date, nearly $4 million has been awarded.  Each year, 18 of the most promising artists receive Herb Alpert Scholarships for Emerging Young Artists Awards. These college scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $40,000, are funded through a $1.2 million grant from The Herb Alpert Foundation.

As many of you know, during the past year, CSSSA's brilliant and committed Director, Robert Jaffe, died unexpectedly.  He was a valued Surdna colleague who made important contributions to our planning and program development - particularly around increasing access.  In February 2011, the CSSSA Arts Foundation named Michael Fields as the School's new Director.  Since 1990, Fields had served as chair of CSSSA's Theatre program, developing curriculum, selecting faculty and students, and serving as a guest lecturer and director. He is a founding member and producing artistic director of the Dell'Arte Company, based in Northern California.  In his new role, Fields will build on the vibrancy and vitality of this extraordinary summer program.  

The California State Summer School Arts Foundation has created the Rob Jaffe Memorial Fund, to support CSSSA's Visiting Artist Program that continues to accept donations in his honor.

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