School of Theater
Scene Design Program
Head of Scene Design:
Scene Design BFA & MFA Programs
Focusing on the development of the skills and knowledge needed for professional scene designers, this program is based on the understanding that the designer’s multifaceted contribution to a production involves much more than providing a visual background. Under the leadership of scenic designer Christopher Barreca, whose teaching is informed by his active design practice in international, regional and Broadway venues, the curriculum explores all aspects of live performance as a collaborative process, giving special attention to the shaping of artistic vision, aesthetic sophistication, critical thinking and craft. Since scene designers are visual artists who work in theater, the program is closely allied with other visual arts programs at CalArts, as well as programs in dance, performance art, and film and video.
First-Year BFA Students apply to our Design & Production program, and complete an Undergraduate Foundation Year.
Head of Applied Design for Performance: Mary Heilman
This is a two-year MFA program offering intensive professional training in Scenic Art, Art Direction and Visual Communication. It is designed for careers in film, theater, themed entertainment, television, immersive design and other entertainment industry specializations and media. This degree is also applicable to artists seeking careers in museums, commercial murals, interior design, and other exhibition development. It is intended to serve students who have completed some training in art and/or theater and require more advanced skills and aesthetic exposure to have viable careers. CalArts students would progress through a unique and rigorous curriculum, preparing them for increasing industry demands.
Head of Video for Performance: Peter Flaherty
The Video for Performance Specialization at CalArts trains visionary artists in the creation of interactive tools and moving imagery for live and time-based artwork. The program focuses on the development of each student’s artistic process, technology/software skills, and awareness of contemporary media theory in lab and discussion-oriented classes. The focused, small group of MFA students will engage in personal and Institute projects under the direct mentorship of their advisors. The program aims to attract a variety of collaboratively-minded students from the various areas of art and technology that will make these ambitious interactive projects possible, including Film/Video, Computer Programming, Visual Art, Interactive Systems, and more.