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CalArts Special Collections & Institute Archives

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Institute Archives Policies

Collection Policy

The Institute Archives collects materials of enduring and permanent value that document the six schools and all of the offices and divisions of CalArts, all student organizations, the Board of Trustees, CAP, CNP, and REDCAT as well as The Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art School.

We collect:

  • Artifacts

  • Audio and visual material, including photographs and photo albums, negatives, transparencies, motion pictures, and recordings

  • Campus planning documents, including architectural drawings and landscape plans

  • *Faculty and Staff papers

  • Institute publications, general and special, including catalogs and bulletins, newsletters, handbooks, press releases, and promotional material

  • **Master’s theses and portfolios written by CalArts students

  • Material from alumni and their organizations, including organizational records, publications, and ephemera

  • Monographs written by CalArts faculty, staff, and administration

  • Oral histories of faculty, staff, and administration

  • Performance programs and recordings

  • Personal papers, including correspondence, diaries, memoirs, photographs, memorabilia and scrapbooks

  • Records of student organizations and activities, including minutes, correspondence, publications, ephemera, memorabilia and realia, including scrapbooks, posters, and brochures

  • Records of the administrative offices, academic departments, and governing bodies of the institute, including minutes, correspondence, memoranda, reports, rosters

  • ***Student work

  • Syllabi, class schedules, and curricular planning materials

  • Works of art

* Faculty and Staff Papers

The Institute Archives collects the papers of CalArts faculty and staff. Each collection is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The Archives accepts the following (additional materials may be considered):

  • Manuscripts

  • Audio recordings

  • Moving images

  • Artifacts

  • Photographs and graphic materials

  • Recordings of lectures, speeches, discussions, performances

  • Course and lecture notes and materials, syllabi

  • Departmental notes

  • Correspondence: official, professional and personal

  • Biographical material: resumes, bibliographies, biographical sketches, chronologies, genealogies, newspaper clippings, and personal memoirs

  • Research files

  • Drafts and manuscripts of articles and books; documents from artistic process

  • Diaries, journals, notebooks, appointment calendars, and memorabilia

  • Ephemera

**Master’s Theses and Portfolios

All graduate students from the following programs are required to submit their thesis/portfolio:

  • MFA Writing Program (Critical Studies)

  • MFA Aesthetics & Politics (Critical Studies)

  • MFA Writing for Performance (Theater)

  • MFA Composition (Music)

Submission guidelines and templates

The Archives seeks to expand this collection to include all programs within the Institute.

***Student Work

The Archives considers student work an important part of the development of the Institute and welcomes transfers of these materials to the Archives. We generally accept artwork, papers, and some coursework; however, please note materials are considered for inclusion in the Archives on a case-by-case basis.

Within the context of faculty and staff papers, the Archives generally does not collect:

  • Student records such as grades, papers, and some individual assignments

  • Articles, journals, books and other published materials. Exceptions may be made by the institute archivist on a case-by-case basis. 

Access Policy

The Institute Archives houses and provides access to the official records of CalArts, REDCAT, CNP, and CAP and is the official repository for institute records having permanent historical or administrative value. The archives contains publications, documents, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, artifacts, and audio-visual recordings of campus events.

The Institute Archives is committed to providing access to the official records of CalArts. However, due to the confidential nature of certain records, access to some materials may be limited. Restrictions are placed on the use of records in order to protect the rights to privacy of individuals and the Institute. Categories of access:

General Distribution Artifacts 
Records in this category are open for review without restriction. Records in general distribution are the publications issued to the general public at the time of their creation, such as announcements, publications, catalogs, brochures, and reports. This may also include information about visiting speakers, endowed chairs and professorships, Institute events and commencements, degrees, honors, awards and prizes, public relations, conferences, and academic programs. After processing, records of this type are open immediately without restriction.

Personal Information Files 
Records that contain personal and confidential information about an individual or individuals are closed for 75 years from the date of creation or until the death of the individual mentioned in the records, whichever is longer. These records may include education records of living current or former students and records of living current or former faculty members, administrators, or other staff members, and donor records. Then, subject to review by CalArts administrative officers, the records are open without restriction. During the restricted period, access may be granted if the named individual gives permission in writing. Information that is part of the public record about an individual is available for research.

Institute Records
Institute Records are records of the administration of CalArts, its policies, and programs that do not fall into either of the two previous categories. After processing, records of the administration of the Institute are restricted to use by the office/department/school of origin for 20 years from the date of creation. Officers of the Institute or administrators of departments/schools may waive this time period at their discretion. Exceptions to the 20-year restriction policy may be established as needed or as a result of a Deed of Gift.

Additional Conditions
All records are reviewed for material that contains sensitive or private information. As a result, individual collections, or portions of them, may have restrictions placed on them that differ from the general restrictions listed above. The standard closure period of 20 years may be reduced or extended with the consent of the President or the office of origin. A researcher may submit a written request for access to restricted records. This request will be sent for approval to the appropriate office. Unprocessed records in any category are open only to the records creator. Permission to examine does not imply the right to reproduce or publish any part of a document.

The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) governs the disclosure of information from student records [20 U.S.C. § 1232g]. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) [45 C.F.R. Parts 160 and 164] and the California Confidentiality of Medical Information Act [Civil Code section 56 et. Seq.] govern health information. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) protects financial information. The California Public Records Act [Government Code section 6267] governs confidentiality of
library records.

Loan Policy

The CalArts Institute Archives will lend materials from its collections to recognized institutions such as art galleries, museums, libraries, etc. Materials are not loaned to individuals. This loan policy has been established to ensure the safety and security of the materials in our collections.

Each loan request is judged on its own merits and the final decision to loan an item(s) is based on the following criteria:

  • The condition of the item
  • The nature and length of the exhibition
  •  The facilities of the borrowing institution
  • The anticipated need of the item(s) for the Institute Archives' own research or exhibition purposes

Some materials in the collections are not available for loan, including those judged too fragile or too environmentally sensitive to travel.

General Conditions

Requests must be received at least 3 months before the planned installation date of the exhibition. Larger requests must be submitted at least 6 months prior to the installation date. Request made with insufficient lead time may be refused.

A formal loan agreement signed by the head of the borrowing institution or his/her deputy is required.

Duration of loans is made on a case-to-case basis.

The Institute Archives reserves the right to specify the conditions for any item(s) as well as the right to recall an item(s) at any time.

No photographs may be taken of the item(s) by the borrowing institution or visitors to the exhibition without our prior permission.

Conservation or remedial treatment of any kind may not be performed without our permission.

The source of the loan will be acknowledged both on the exhibition label for the item(s), and in any exhibition catalog: Courtesy of the California Institute of the Arts Institute Archives

The borrowing institution will provide secure interim storage, in terms of fire and security against physical harm, theft, and unauthorized access, for all item(s). This applies to pre-installation and de-installation.

Items should be packed in the same manner in which they arrived at the borrowing institution, and any accompanying materials, such as identifying markers, should be returned to the Institute Archives.


The Institute Archives does not charge fees to institutions for our agreement to lend to exhibitions. However, we expect to be reimbursed in full for all of the expenses we incur as a result of fulfilling our loans.

The borrowing institution should be prepared to pay any and all of the costs related to their specific loan request.

Typical costs include:

  • Transportation of item(s)
  • Insurance for borrowed item(s), in transit, in temporary storage, and while on exhibition
  • Design-specific matting, framing, or display equipment
  • Photography of item(s) for conversation purposes or in the creation of a digital facsimile

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