Support Creative Leave for CalArts Faculty
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We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned that Creative Leave is not guaranteed for all eligible faculty members at CalArts. We understand that a donor’s gift funded (an insufficient number of) Creative Leaves for several years and has now run out. The number of Creative Leaves granted for next year has been cut in half, with no guarantee of how many, if any, will be offered in the following year.
Steps should have been taken earlier to ensure the continuance of Creative Leave, and to safeguard this vital source of creative development for faculty and, by extension, all students at the Institute. We understand that finances are tight at the moment, but we are concerned by evidence that there is a lack of will on the part of the Board of Trustees and the Administration to support Creative Leave going forward. This failure to ensure Creative Leave is an assault on the value that we hold most dear: artistic creation. We respectfully request that Creative Leave be guaranteed to every regular faculty member at CalArts as part of their contract at a rate of one semester every seventh year.
Students make the choice to study at CalArts on the strength of its faculty’s reputation as artists and teachers. Students want to study with artists who are regularly embarking on new, ambitious projects where they learn new techniques and hone their methods as artists. Students directly benefit in the classroom from the acumen of faculty returning from Creative Leave with new ideas, new experience, and new work.
To withhold support from the Creative Leave program is shortsighted. While on Creative Leave, faculty complete significant projects that gain notice nationally and internationally, as documented in the report compiled by faculty member Charles Gaines. This is a huge benefit to the Institute. We cannot hope to maintain the vitality and international reputation of CalArts without supporting Creative Leave.
Creative Leave, in the form of a paid semester’s leave every seven years (a Sabbatical) is an almost universal practice in institutions of higher learning, including art schools, where it is understood as a way to maintain the vitality and rigor of the institution as a place of learning.
Students, alumni, and faculty are united in appreciating the value of Creative Leave, because we share an intimate understanding of the enormous value of “time to work” to an artist. CalArts was founded on the principle of working artists teaching working artists. As artists, we have chosen to build our lives around making art. In our own life schedules, we prioritize the act of artistic creation. The Institute that we comprise should reflect this deeply held value by supporting Creative Leave.
CalArts Faculty in Support of Creative Leave