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CalArts Names SUNY Purchase Art School Dean Ravi Rajan President, Replacing Steven Lavine

The California Institute of the Arts.COURTESY CALARTS

The California Institute of the Arts.


Nearly 18 months after it was announced that Steven Lavine would step down as the president of the California Institute of the Arts, the Valencia-based art school has found a replacement, its board of directors announced this evening. Ravi S. Rajan, the dean of the school of the arts at Purchase College, State University of New York, will step into Lavine’s shoes to be the fourth director of the institution, making him the first Indian-American president of an arts school in the country. He begins his tenure June 1.

“CalArts is a beacon in the higher ed and arts community that has left an indelible mark on the artists who are forging the future monuments of culture and society,” Rajan said in a statement. “I’ve known and experienced the amazing work of CalArts’s faculty and alumni for decades, and have marveled at the innovation and transformation that has occurred under President Lavine’s leadership. I’m humbled by this opportunity, excited to be a part of this great community, and look forward to building upon the innovative pedigree of CalArts.”

Board director Tim Disney—the great-nephew of Walt Disney, who co-founded CalArts in the 1960s—said that “Ravi showed the fiery passion for the arts that was at the core of CalArts’ founding.”

“His commitment to excellence and exploration and innovation will help continue CalArts’ rich legacy and unbounded future,” Disney added in the statement.

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