Idyllwild Arts Academy

Residential Arts High School

Still Accepting Applications for Fall 2018


Brown, Bennington, Bard, Cornell, Swarthmore, Tufts, UC Berkeley, UCLA–why have these elite colleges accepted 2016 and 2017 graduates from “that little art school” in Southern California?

Because Idyllwild Arts’ innovative and challenging double curriculum of arts and academics produces creative thinkers who can adapt to any college environment (and thrive in any professional environment!).

And because colleges care about geographic diversity. As education expert Dave Bergman notes (Link), “colleges will almost always favor the applicant coming from a more distant or exotic locale” because she “brings a unique background and perspective to campus.”

Welcome to Your Life-Changing Experience in the Arts

Your lifetime adventure in the arts begins at Idyllwild Arts Academy, one of the most prestigious arts schools in the world and only one of three such institutions in the United States. We encourage you to take the first step in fulfilling your artistic dreams.

At Idyllwild Arts Academy you’ll join talented young artists from around the world who, just like yourself, are setting off on an exciting journey to pursue serious study in Dance, Film, Music, Theatre, Visual Art, Creative Writing, InterArts and Fashion Design.

Here you will find your arts education enhanced by renowned teachers who are working professionals in their respective fields. While your artistic potential blossoms, you will also gain a college preparatory academic education. As a result, Idyllwild Arts Academy students receive a rich and diverse education in both arts and academics. We have helped our graduates continue their arts education at the top universities and conservatories in the world.

See Yourself Here

We welcome you to peruse our website to learn more about our school and the exciting opportunities that await you. Our mission is to bring together talented artists from many different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds and provide a place for them to flourish and grow both artistically and academically.

If the arts are your passion, then this is where you belong. As you become more familiar with Idyllwild Arts Academy, we are sure you will begin to see yourself here.

We invite you for a campus visit during which you will have the opportunity to meet our staff, get to know our students and faculty, participate in classes, see the campus and audition or interview with our department chairs. Through your personal visit to Idyllwild Arts Academy, you will discover an exciting place to pursue your dreams. We look forward to meeting you!

Admission Process

We are delighted that you have taken the first step on your journey to a lifetime in art by applying to Idyllwild Arts. We have streamlined the application process to make it easy and convenient for you.

The application process includes the following steps which are requirements to be considered for admission to Idyllwild Arts Academy:

1) Complete the Admission Online Application (We accept the SAO – Standard Application Online)

a) Submit a Student Essay – “Why do you want to attend Idyllwild Arts Academy? How will you benefit from and Idyllwild Arts education?” (250 words minimum) – Mandatory for Creative Writing, Dance, Music and Theatre Applicants. Not Mandatory for InterArts/Fashion Design, Film & Digital Media or Visual Arts.

b) Confidential Parent Questionnaire: This questionnaire must be completed by a parent or guardian.

c) Application Fee: A $60.00 non-refundable application fee is required of all U.S. applicants; a $100.00 non-refundable application fee is required of all International applicants. (There is an additional $50.00 charge for those who do not apply online.)

2) Artistic Reference: The Artistic Reference form should be completed by a teacher or private instructor who has recently taught the applicant in his/her chosen arts discipline. Download Arts Reference Form

3) Academic Reference: The Academic Reference form should be completed by a recent teacher of a major academic subject. Counselors and principals who have not taught the applicant are asked not to submit an academic reference but are welcome to submit additional letters of recommendation. Download Academic Reference Form

4) School Transcripts: Transcripts (record of grades) are required and should be requested directly from the student’s school(s). Unofficial copies may be submitted for initial review.

5) Audition or Portfolio Presentation: As a requirement for admission, students must audition, present a departmental essay or portfolio relevant to his/her art discipline. Please refer to the Audition and Portfolio Requirements.

6) Admission Interview: A personal interview is required of all international students. Interviews may be conducted on campus, through Skype or during an audition tour.

* We accept the SSAT

Home Schooling Requirements

The Idyllwild Arts Academy recognizes a family’s right to choose home schooling as an option for their children. In order to be considered for admission to the Arts Academy, students who are home schooled must participate in a state recognized home schooling program and submit the following materials in lieu of high school transcripts as well as have a parent answer the questions below:

  • Documentation of compliance with a state accredited home schooling program
  • A comprehensive description of the home schooling curriculum, outlining coursework and books used
  • Grades for each course taken with a description of grading standards
  • SSAT testing results or those of another standardized test

Please answer the following questions: What factors played into your decision to home school your child? How do you feel your child will perform in an independent school environment both socially and academically?

Admission Policy

Idyllwild Arts Academy admits students of any sex, race, religion, color, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or gender identification to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or gender identification in administration of its educational policies, scholarship and financial planning, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Request More Information


Financial Supplement (Tuition and Fees)
Financial Aid Application (Parent’s Guide and Forms)

Contact Admission Office

If you already have an application, please mail the completed application materials to:

Admission Office
Idyllwild Arts Academy

52500 Temecula Road
P. O. Box 38
Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038

Direct Line: 951.468.7223
Fax: 951.659.3168

Application Requirements

Audition and Portfolio Requirements

All applicants must satisfy the following audition requirements according to his/her arts discipline. We highly encourage all students and their families to schedule an on-site visit after the application is submitted to become familiar with our campus and participate in a live audition/interview.

Requirements For One-Year Seniors and Post-Graduates

If you are an international one-year senior who has never attended an international secondary school, we suggest that you should either apply for 11th grade, or else graduate in your own country and then apply as a Post-Graduate since you will not have the graduation requirements to be accepted as a one-year senior.

Please take a few minutes to fill out the following survey to help our counselors better understand your college expectations. Junior Life Skills Survey

The following should be submitted along with your application:

  1. TOEFL score for international One-Year Seniors and Post-Graduates
  2. SAT, PSAT, or ACT score for domestic One-Year Seniors and Post-Graduates. If you are unable to submit an SAT score, please indicate your plan for taking the SAT
  3. Transcripts for all the years you have attended secondary school
  4. 3.0 GPA minimum

If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call the admission office at: 951.468.7223

Creative Writing

The Creative Writing major at the Idyllwild Arts Academy is designed to encourage the creative powers of gifted young writers, to teach writing skills and techniques, to introduce the discipline of close reading and practical criticism, and to prepare students for college and the many paths a professional writing life may take. Students are expected to study literary history, to think critically, and to experience the process of literary creation and revision firsthand.

Candidates must submit a portfolio that includes several representative writing samples. The portfolio must include some poetry and fiction, but may also include work from other genres such as nonfiction and dramatic writing. The submission should be fifteen to twenty pages total. Applicants are evaluated on overall academic achievement as well as writing skills and experience. Due to the large amount of reading required, applicants should have a high level of reading comprehension.

For Specific questions regarding the Creative Writing admission process contact:
Kelly Wills at 951.659.2171 x2341 or


The Dance major is designed to provide students with the technical and artistic versatility required to advance in the professional dance world. Ballet plays a crucial role in the education a Dance major receives with a focus on classical technique emphasizing healthy movement habits. Dancers are also required to take modern and jazz dance each year they are enrolled in the program. The Dance Department puts on two main stage productions as well as studio works throughout the year, including student choreography.

Candidates for the Dance major are encouraged to audition on campus or during an audition tour. If a live audition is not possible, candidates must submit an American format DVD or provide an online audition on a site such as YouTube containing the following:

Exercises at the barre (5 minutes): Students should stand sideways in relationship to the camera. Females should not wear skirts. Pliés, Battements tendus, Battements dégagés, Ronds de jambe a terre, Battements fondus, Battement frappés, Ronds de jambe en l’air, Grands battements, Développés.

In the centre (5 minutes): Pirouettes en dehors and en dedans, Adagio with développés, a combination with chainés, a combination with small jumps and, if possible, beats, a combination with big jumps.

For females who have worked en pointe: Exercises performed at the barre and/or a center variation.

Jazz or Modern Combination (5 minutes): We are looking to see present technical level, body potential and movement quality/love of dance.

Students should include a 5 x 7 photo taken in first arabesque.

For Specific questions regarding the Dance admission process contact:
Andrea Chesley at 951.659.2171 x2344 or

InterArts / Fashion Design

1) Please tell us which Pathway you would like to follow: Fashion Design, Design, Storytelling, Performance Practice OR Digital Communication.

2) Essay: What is the Point of Being a Student in the InterArts Department? Please use these questions to structure your essay (3 paragraphs)

  • What attracts you to the InterArts Department?
  • Which Pathway would you like to follow and why?
  • Which Art forms do you find most interesting?
  • What experience do you have in those Art forms?
  • Explain your point of view as an artist, (Fashion Designer / Designer / Storyteller / Performer / Digital Communicator) along with your main artistic influences.
  • The InterArts Department, more than any other department, changes depending on the strengths and interests of its students: what do you think YOU would like to contribute to the department?

3) Submit 5 – 10 examples of work in at least 2 different art forms. Please refer to guidelines in the other departments for help with this. This work should reflect your chosen pathway as much as possible. No matter what, you should always submit your best work. All work must be original. (See specific guidelines for Fashion Design.)

For Fashion Design your examples of art work must include:

  1. Creative personal artwork in any art form, although Visual Art is preferred.
  2. Three to five design sketches.
  3. At least one original design. This could be a garment you have made or something you have designed that someone else made for you. Examples could include street wear and/or any design of yours that has ever been on stage: costuming, fashion, school mascot, something for an event, etc.

For Specific questions regarding the InterArts/Fashion Design admission process contact:
Kelly Wills at 951.659.2171 x2341 or

Film & Digital Media

The Film Department is founded on two basic principles: story and collaboration. We want our Film students to become socially relevant story tellers, educated and practiced in both classic and modern cinematic technique in the various disciplines of filmmaking. Through the study of these artistic and technical skill sets, students will develop artistic identities and a collaborative creative spirit. Classes and workshops include study and mentoring in screenwriting, producing, directing, production design, cinematography, editing, post-production, and advanced equipment (dolly, Steadicam, jibs, etc.).

  1. An essay (2 to 4 pages) about a life-changing moment: We all experience myriad life-changing moments, some big and some small. Some represent drastic change in our lives, while others represent subtle change, but all are significant. Tell us a story about something that happened to you, or something you witnessed, that had a profound impact on your life. The story must be submitted in prose format and should be 2-4 pages long.
  2. A creative writing sample that you have written in the last year. If you don’t have one already written, write a new piece. This cannot be the same as your story about a life-changing moment; it must be a completely different piece of work. Acceptable formats include screenplay, play, short story, poem, and even stream of consciousness.
  3. A short video. All kinds of people are in the film business—outgoing, shy, loud, soft-spoken, flamboyant, reserved. No single personality or personal style is best suited for the profession. With the multiplicity of career choices in the industry, any type of person can find a niche. Keep this in mind and introduce yourself to us. Record a 3-5 minute monologue or narrative (starring yourself!) on the topic, “Why I Want to be a Filmmaker.” This should tell us why you are motivated to be a filmmaker, but in a creative and fun way. It should be an imaginative reflection of who you are.
  4. Optional: visual art in the form of photography, film, video, performance piece, paintings or sculpture, a creative website (including photographs of your work), a creative Instagram account. . . anything that helps us know more about you as an artist/designer.

For specific questions regarding the Film & Digital Media admission process, please contact:
Jara Ruiz-Anchia at 951.659.2171 x2347 or


The Music Department prepares talented musicians for successful professional careers. The faculty auditions serious and talented young classical, songwriting and jazz musicians from around the world. Private instruction is offered by the finest teachers and performers in Southern California. Instrumentalists participate in orchestra and small ensembles; pianists study piano literature, keyboard skills, accompanying and ensemble playing. Jazz students work on improvising and playing in combos while developing their own style. Guitarists can participate in jazz ensembles. Singers study diction, ensemble singing, and the history of the art song and opera. Songwriters study both performance and business aspects of their field. All students meet and hear guest artists perform and participate in master classes.

Candidates for the Music major are encouraged to audition during their campus visit. If a live audition is not possible, students must submit an American format DVD or provide an online audition on a site such as YouTube containing the following:

Classical Piano:

Three prepared pieces representing contrasting styles from the standard repertoire. All works must be performed from memory.

Classical Orchestral Instruments:

2-3 prepared pieces representing contrasting styles.


2-4 original songs with words (and also, if you wish, 1-2 cover songs performed instrumentally and sung to show arranging/interpreting skills).  Auditions must be filmed on an American formatted DVD or uploaded to YouTube or another online streaming website.

Jazz Piano, and Instrument:

Three prepared pieces from memory: a blues, a standard and a jazz standard. Students are asked to demonstrate knowledge of scales, inversions and chords.


One song or aria from the classical repertoire which illustrates the student’s range. Also, one jazz song from the following list:

Jazz Voice

  1. Autumn Leaves
  2. My Funny Valentine
  3. Girl From Ipanema
  4. Night and Day
  5. My One and Only Love
  6. It Could Happen To You
  7. Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)
  8. Alice In Wonderland
  9. Bye Bye Blackbird
  10. Route 66

Classical Voice

  • 24 Italian Songs and Arias
  • First Book of Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone/ Bass
  • Handel
  • Mozart
  • Schubert

For auditions on campus, you may choose to bring your own pianist, or we can provide one for you. If you plan to work with one of our pianists, please make sure your audition pieces are submitted no later than two weeks prior to your audition, with all of your tempos and expressive markings clearly written in the score.

At the audition, we are interested in seeing the applicant’s level of accomplishment and musical knowledge. Students will be asked to perform any technical studies they are studying, major and minor scales. All students are asked to sight-read and demonstrate their knowledge of music theory. In addition to the above skills, jazz students are asked to improvise.

An optional Composition Focus is available to all Classical Music majors.

For specific questions regarding the Classical Music admission process, please contact:
Kelly Wills at 951.659.2171 x2341 or

For specific questions regarding the Jazz and Songwriting admission process, please contact:
Christy Wilke at 951.659.2171 x2223 or


The Theatre major offers concentrated pre-professional training. Training is Stanislavsky based and incorporates self-use techniques to guide students toward greater self-awareness and knowledge of the potentials of their own resources. The program offers disciplined training as exemplified in conservatory theatre training programs on the college level. Students declare an area of concentration in acting, musical theatre or theatrical design/technical theatre at the time of admission (or in their junior year). The curriculum includes classes in acting, mask characterization, Shakespeare, stage combat, stage movement, music fundamentals for musical theatre, acting for the camera, improvisation, scenery and costume design, stage management, musical theatre repertory, voice and diction, lighting and sound fundamentals, class voice and drafting for the theatre.

We strongly recommend that candidates audition during their campus visit. If a live audition is not possible, students must submit an American format DVD or provide an online audition on a site such as YouTube containing the following:

Acting or Musical Theatre: Two prepared monologues from memory of no more than two minutes each. One must be a Shakespearean verse monologue and one must be a monologue from a play written after 1900. Applicants must also sing sixteen bars of a song a capella.

Theatre and Production Design: Applicants must interview with the design faculty and/or submit a portfolio for review.

For Specific questions regarding the Theatre admission process contact:
Andrea Chesley at 951.659.2171 x2344 or

Visual Arts

Applicants must submit a portfolio of a representative number of works (approximately 10-20 pieces) that embody their own work. All submitted work must be the candidate’s original work and not in the Anime or Manga style. No modified or altered pieces will be accepted. Images of art works should be submitted via email, uploaded to their online application, or as digital photo images of work in a bound folder.

We have an allotted space of 1GB reserved for your entire portfolio submission, so be mindful of the size in megabytes of your upload. The dimensions (height and width) of your images should be kept to a manageable size to facilitate easier viewing. Please do not submit original works.

The portfolio must include approximately seven drawings of objects from direct observation—that is , not from photographs; three of these seven must be figure drawings. The portfolio must also include five other works that investigate a specific theme; these can use any medium as long as the works suggest a consistent investigation of your idea. Each piece must include a description of the type of project and/or title, description of mediums, and size and date.

The following questions must be answered in short answer format:

  1. Describe your beliefs about the role of the artist in today’s world.
  2. What do you expect to gain from your experience at Idyllwild Arts?
  3. Do you intend to pursue visual arts in college and/or as a career?
  4. Describe some of your previous experience with visual arts classes, projects, summer programs and/or media you have an interest in.

For specific questions regarding the Visual Arts admission process, please contact:
Jara Ruiz-Anchia at 951.659.2171 x2347 or

Tuition / Scholarships / Financial Aid

Idyllwild Arts Academy is committed to supporting arts education for students from a wide variety of backgrounds, regardless of a family’s ability to pay the full tuition amount. We believe it is vital to a student’s current and future success to be surrounded by a culturally and socio-economically diverse student body. This gives our students a well-rounded foundation for the rest of their lives. We, therefore, encourage every family that is interested in an Idyllwild Arts education to apply.

Because colleges care about geographic diversity, Brown, Bennington, Bard, Cornell, Swarthmore, Tufts, UC Berkeley, and UCLA have accepted 2016 and 2017 graduates from “that little art school” in Idyllwild, California!

One education expert notes (Link) that “colleges will almost always favor the applicant coming from a more distant or exotic locale” because she “brings a unique background and perspective to campus.”

Of course, it also helps that Idyllwild Arts’ innovative and challenging double curriculum of arts and academics produces creative thinkers who can adapt to any college environment (and thrive in any professional environment!).

Financial Aid Statistics

Percent of school receiving financial aid = 60%
Total financial aid budget = Greater than $5,000,000

Financial Aid is available and based on the the needs of each individual student. How To Apply…

Merit Scholarships are also available. Please consult with the Director of Enrollment Management for current opportunities. Learn More…

2018-2019 Cost of Attendance

Boarding Tuition: $62,835
Day Tuition: $30,000
Spring Boarding Tuition: $34,000
Spring Day Tuition: $19,000

Financial Supplement (Tuition and Fees)

Financial Aid Application (Parent’s Guide and Forms)

Frequently Asked Questions

How competitive is the admission process?

We accept two thirds of our applicants. The students who apply are usually the students who are meant to be here.

Is the Arts Academy only for students who plan to be professional artists?

No. We have an equal focus in academics. We have students who want to be professional artists, doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc.

What kind of academic opportunities are available?

We offer college preparatory academics with weighted honors courses, as well as onsite ACT, SAT and AP exams.

Where do Idyllwild Arts students go to college?

Our graduates are sought out by the top universities and colleges across the nation and abroad. They go on to places like Juilliard, Oberlin, Cooper Union, RISD, MICA, NYU, USC and UCLA.

Does IAA consider my academic grades when making a decision on my acceptance?

Yes. A 3.0 or above is desirable.

Does IAA require any testing?

All international applicants are interviewed by our faculty on Skype or in person to determine English level.

What is dorm life like?

We do our best to provide a family-like atmosphere in our dorms. There is close interaction between students and dorm parents, fostering an atmosphere of care and mutual understanding.

Learn More…

How safe is the campus?

Extremely safe. It is located on the outskirts of the town of Idyllwild, where the population of less than four thousand includes many artists and very little crime. The campus has a security staff and all the dorms have security alarms.

Are there organized sports teams or opportunities for exercise?

Our students’ busy double schedules leave no time for organized sports, but Physical Education and dance classes and running club offer plenty of chances to exercise. Students also have opportunities for yoga, mounting biking, hiking, etc.

What kinds of health services are available to students?

A certified medical professional is available for student care twenty-four hours a day. The campus Health Center is staffed daily.

What do students do on the weekends?

Activities are organized for every weekend. These can include attending concerts in Los Angeles, student performances on campus, school dances, visits to Disneyland, etc.

What is the average class size?

The average class size is fifteen, allowing our teachers to give individual attention to every student.

How many students attend IAA?

We can accommodate slightly more than three hundred students.

What is the daily schedule like?

The daily schedule consists of morning academic classes and afternoon arts classes. A typical day begins with breakfast from 7:15 to 8, followed by academics until 1 pm, then lunch, followed by arts classes from 2 to 6:30. Dinner from 6 to 7 is followed by rehearsals or performances from 7 to 10 and quiet study time from 8:50 to 10. Students must be in their dorms by 10, with lights out by 10:30.

Do students receive help with the college search and application process?

Our team of college counselors work with students beginning in their 9th grade Life Skills course, and continuing through graduation. They offer assistance on the college search, application process, essay revision, testing, and financial aid. Representatives from top colleges and conservatories regularly visit campus for events such as our fall College Fair, a spring College Panel, and master classes. Arts Department Chairs, faculty, and our staff work together to help students research and gain admission to programs best suited for their interests.

Does the Academy offer Advanced Placement courses?

Our students do not have enough time in their busy schedule to take AP classes. However, we do offer weighted honors courses and AP exams.

Can I have a double major?

No. However, you could major in InterArts, which allows you to study more than one art discipline.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. More than sixty percent of our students receive financial aid, which totals over $5 million every year.

Learn More…

Are merit scholarships available?

Idyllwild Arts Academy offers merit-based awards on a competitive basis to incoming students. These scholarships, among the highest honors given to Idyllwild Arts Academy’s students, are renewable through four years, subject to outstanding artistic and academic achievement as well as satisfactory behavior.

Learn More…

Events & Performances

Idyllwild Arts invites you to any of the following events. Please let us know if you are interested in attending, email or call 951.468.7223

Meet the Team
Director of Enrollment Management
Assistant Director of Admission
Admission Counselor / Dorm Parent
Admission/Data Specialist
Manager of Communications & International Student Relations
Associate Director of Admission & Financial Aid
Admission Counselor
College Acceptances - Class of 2017

American Musical and Dramatic Academy
American University
The American University of Rome
Bard College Conservatory of Music
Bennington College
Berklee College of Music (3)
Boston Conservatory at Berklee (2)
California College of the Arts (4)
California Institute of the Arts (6)
California State University, Channel Islands
California State University, Dominguez Hills
California State University, Fullerton (2)
California State University, Long Beach (2)
California State University, Los Angeles
California State University, Northridge
Chapman University (2)
Chapman University, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Clark University
Columbia College Chicago
Columbus College of Art and Design
The Cooper Union
Cornell University
Cornish College of the Arts (8)
Dean College
Dominican University
Drake University (2)
Earlham College
Eastman School of Music (2)
Elon University
Emerson College (2)
George Washington University
The Glasgow School of Art
Goucher College (3)
Hampshire College
Hanover College
Humboldt State University
Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music
The Juilliard School
Kansas City Art Institute
Lewis and Clark College
Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts
Loyola Marymount University
Manhattan School of Music (3)
Maryland Institute College of Art (7)
Marymount Manhattan College
Mills College
Molloy College, CAP21 Conservatory
Montclair State University
New England Conservatory (3)
The New School, Eugene Lang
The New School of Jazz
The New School, Parsons School of Design (5)
New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (2)
Norwich University of the Arts
Oberlin Conservatory of Music
Occidental College
Oklahoma City University (2)
Oregon College of Arts and Crafts (2)
Otis College of Art and Design (2)
Pace University (2)
Pacific Northwest College of Art
The Peabody Institute
Pratt Institute (7)
Purchase College, SUNY
Reed College
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rhode Island School of Design (2)
Rider University
Ringling College of Art & Design (9)
Rochester Institute of Technology
Roosevelt University, Chicago College of Performing Arts (2)
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts
San Diego State University
San Francisco Conservatory of Music (2)
San Francisco State University (2)
Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Savannah College of Art and Design (3)
School of Visual Arts (10)
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (4)
Sewanee: The University of the South
Southern Methodist University, Meadows School
Stony Brook University, SUNY
Swarthmore College
Temple University
Texas State University
Tufts University
University of Arizona
The University of the Arts
University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins (4)
University of the Arts London, Chelsea College of Arts
University of the Arts London, London College of Fashion (2)
University of British Columbia
University of California, Berkeley (2)
University of California, Irvine
University of California, Los Angeles (2)
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Cruz (3)
University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music
University of Miami, Frost School of Music
University of Michigan, School of Music, Theater & Dance (2)
University of Redlands
The University of Rochester
University of Southern California, Roski School of Art and Design
University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts
University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music (2)
University of Texas at Austin, Butler School of Music I
University of Utah, College of Fine Arts (2)
University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
Wagner College
Webster University, Leiden
Woodbury University

The Village of Idyllwild

Located at an elevation of over 5,000 feet on the western slopes of Southern California’s San Jacinto Mountains, the village of Idyllwild is renowned for its cultural and arts environment, as well as its stunning natural beauty. Set amid towering alpine forests, majestic mountains, and tranquil meadows, Idyllwild is an historic town that has long had a reputation as an arts mecca.

Idyllwild offers a peaceful and remote setting from urban distractions, although it is located just 2 hours by car from Los Angeles or San Diego. Students can take advantage of Idyllwild’s broad choice of recreational activities on campus, or by visiting the nearby town of Idyllwild, with its restaurants, specialty shops, and art galleries.

The Idyllwild Arts campus is located only 2 miles from the center of town.


From the Riverside Area thru Hemet:

Route 60 Riverside, towards Beaumont. Right on route 79, 8.3 miles to traffic light. Left onto Ramona Express Way, travel 8 miles to Florida Ave. Left at traffic light onto Route 74. Fifteen miles up mountain to Highway 243 at Mtn. Center. Left onto Route 243, four miles to Idyllwild. Left on Tollgate Road, one mile to campus.

From the Los Angeles Area thru Banning:

Route 10 or 60 East to Banning. Take the 8th St. exit to Route 243 which leads up the mountain 25 miles to Idyllwild. Continue one mile through the village. Right on Tollgate Road one mile to campus.

From the San Diego Area:

  1. Highway 15 north to Temecula. Exit Highway 79 south toward Indio/Palm Desert. Highway 371 Turn (or bear) left onto (Continue towards Indio/Palm Desert). Left at Highway 74, 10 mile to Highway 243. Right four miles to Idyllwild. Left at Tollgate Road. 1 mile to campus.
  2. Route 15 north to Winchester Road. Right on Winchester Road to Route 74; Right on Route 74 to Mtn. Center. Left on Route 243, 4 miles, left on Tollgate Road, 1 mile to campus.


There is no public transportation to or within Idyllwild. Transportation is available via campus vans from Ontario International Airport or Palm Springs Regional Airport and Idyllwild. Arrangements must be made in advance.


Vacation Rentals:

If you want an amazing place to stay in Idyllwild, our very own design teacher of 16 years, Melissa Wilson, has designed three homes to meet all of your different needs. These homes are all upscale, newly remodeled and all have 5 star reviews. It is extremely important to Melissa that you always get 5 star treatment. The links are below or you can email her directly with any questions you may have:

The 1 bedroom with sleeping loft: or 

Idyllwild Manor
55350 South Circle Dr.

Idyllwild Vacation Cabins
54380 North Circle Dr. Unit C
(951) 659-5444

Idyllwild Vacation Rentals
54280 North Circle Dr.
(951) 659-5015

Idyllwild Mountain Rentals
54240 North Circle Drive
(951) 659-5349

New Spirit Vacation Homes
54325 North Circle Drive #102
(909) 910-5005 or (951) 659-3100

Inns B&B’s & Hotels:

Bluebird Cottage Inn
26620 Saddle Drive
(951) 659-2696

Creekstone Inn
54950 Pine Crest Ave.
(951) 659-3342

Fireside Inn

54540 North Circle Drive
(951) 659-2966

Grand Idyllwild Lodge
54820 Pinecrest Ave.

Idyllwild Inn
54300 Village Center Drive

Knotty Pine Cabins
54340 Pine Crest Ave.
(951) 659-2933

Manzanita Cabins
54100 Lower Pinecrest Ave.
(951) 659-3151

Mile High Country Inn
54605 N Circle Drive
(951) 659-2931

Quiet Creek Inn
26345 Delano Dr.
1-800-450-1516, (951) 468-4208

Rainbow Inn
54420 South Circle Dr.
(951) 659-0111

Silver Pines Lodge
25955 Cedar St.
(951) 659-4335

Strawberry Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast
Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Hwy
(951) 659-3202

Thousand Trails
24400 Canyon Trail Dr.
(951) 659-4097

Woodland Park Manor
55350 South Circle Dr.
1-877-659-2657, (951)659-2657


Campus Map


Café Aroma • • 951-659-5212 • 54750 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild CA 92549

Restaurant Gastrognome • • 951-659-5055 • 54381 Ridgeview Drive, Idyllwild CA 92549

Higher Grounds Coffee House & Roaster • • 951-659-1379 • 54245 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild, CA

Idyll Awhile Wine Shoppe Bistro • • 951-659-9463 • 54254 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild, CA 92549

La Casita Mexican Restaurant • • 951-659-6038 • 54650 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild CA

Lumber Mill Bar & Grill • • 951-659-0315 • 25985 Hwy. 243, Idyllwild CA 92549• 951-659-2008 • 26600 Hwy 243, Idyllwild CA 92549

Mile High • 951-659-2008 • 26600 Hwy 243, Idyllwild CA 92549

The Red • 951-659-4063 • 54220 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild CA 92549

Ferro • • 951-659-0700 • 25840 Cedar Street, Idyllwild, CA 92549 • 951-659-5962 • 54905 North Circle Drive, Idyllwild, CA 92549

Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew • 951-659-4145 • 54200 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549

Tommy’s Kitchen • 951-468-4222 • 54700 N Circle Dr, Idyllwild, CA 92549

Fratello’s Ristorante & Pizzeria • (951) 659-3900 • 54295 Ridgeview Drive, Idyllwild, CA 92549

Things to do in Idyllwild

Idyllwild has earned the distinction of becoming one of the 100 Best Small Art Towns in America. (As designated in the book of the same name by John Villani, A John Muir publication). The town features over 15 galleries representing the work of more than 200 artists. Idyllwild is filled with unique gift and antique shops, boutiques, galleries, and wide variety of dining options.

There are hundreds of miles of hiking and mountain biking trails for all levels from gentle strolls to strenuous trails leading to the meadows and peaks that tower above the village. Fishing is also available within 20 minutes at Lake Fulmor and Lake Hemet.

Contact Admission Office

Admission Office
Idyllwild Arts Academy

52500 Temecula Road
P. O. Box 38
Idyllwild, CA 92549-0038

Direct Line: 951.468.7223
Fax: 951.659.3168