Dear Idyllwild Arts Community,
I recently attended a performance of The Understudy, a musical that was part of Arts Enterprise Laboratory (AEL), a unique IAA program that provides grants for students to create independent projects. For nearly ninety minutes, the audience laughed and cooed as the musical unfolded. The plot was interesting, the characters menacing and sweet, and the music featured memorable motifs and, at times, very complex harmonies. The writers, Lam Trinh and Oriana Gidi, and the cast deserved the standing ovation they received. It was delightful.
The final weeks of school were filled with wonderful in-person performances like this. Even if students were unable to be on campus, the faculty found creative ways for them to share videos with audiences seated in our campus venues. IAA students always push themselves and refuse to settle for artificial boundaries. Seeing their work, particularly at the end of the year, is always joyous.
Last week, we bid farewell to the 35th graduating class of Idyllwild Arts Academy. The Class of 2021 is forever changed by the effects of the global pandemic, societal challenges that have come to light in recent years, and the impact of living and learning in isolated spaces. But as I looked at the performances leading up to graduation, I was reminded of the power of creativity and the resilience that results from pursuing one’s passion.
Seventy-five years ago, when the founders of Idyllwild Arts established our world-renowned Summer Program, they did so with the profound belief that art is the greatest teacher of humanity and that artmaking is only one outcome of a creative life. They established Idyllwild Arts as an international haven for artists of all ages and believed that, through artmaking, our students would carry beauty and hope to villages, communities, and cities around the world. They built Idyllwild Arts Academy and Summer Program, believing in both the transformative power of art and the magic of Idyllwild, to provide the perfect respite for citizen-artists who wished to make a difference in the world.
As the Class of 2021 leaves our mountaintop village, they now join our alumni network of citizen-artists whose lives have been enriched by our mission, “changing lives through the transformative power of art.” We know that these graduates will make our mission matter and that they will make a difference in this world, just as our founders envisioned over seven decades ago.