Dear Idyllwild Arts Community,
Last year, when the Class of 2020 returned to campus for their senior year, they had normal teenage aspirations. They looked forward to art exhibits and recitals. They signed up for activities like IdyTalks and the Art In Society Symposium, and they raised funds and awareness for issues in which they believed, such as Autism Awareness and Clowns Without Borders. They anticipated school dances and coffeehouses and seeing their friends perform throughout the year. And, of course, they counted on participating in the extraordinarily beautiful commencement ceremony of Idyllwild Arts Academy. In March, our students left campus much too soon as the global pandemic forced them to leave their friends, teachers, and arts culminations behind.
The Class of 2020 joined graduates all over the world who were forced to celebrate their accomplishments differently than those who graduated before them. While I know this was disappointing for every high school graduate, I think it was particularly disappointing to boarding students who lived away from their families for the past four years, to the parents who supported their children’s dreams, and to the students who chose to go beyond a traditional high school curriculum in order to immerse themselves in pre-professional training in the arts. However, this class, like those before them, must now turn their attention to the fall and what is next to come.
Idyllwild Arts graduates are not children. They are young adults, equipped to think critically, challenge the status quo, and make a difference in the communities in which they will live and serve. At Idyllwild Arts, we believe that art is the greatest teacher of humanity and that our graduates are now prepared to step forward more attuned, aware, and ready to contribute to humankind.
This class will join alum Elora Hardy, who returned to Bali to create sustainable housing for families, and alum Shepard Fairey, whose Hope and We the People artwork spoke for many who have felt voiceless for generations. This class will join hundreds of other Idyllwild Arts graduates who bring joy and hope through their art and music in professional companies every day.
The Class of 2020 has left their indelible mark on Idyllwild Arts. As they move into an uncertain world at an uncertain time, we wish them godspeed and look forward to the difference they will make for the good of us all.
President and Head of School