Mar 25, 2019

What is CSU Summer Arts?

Andrew Gordon, a key animator with Pixar Animation Studios, taught an eager class this summer in July. Gordon is popular teacher, but he gave Fresno State preference for a special reason –– he is an alumnus of the CSU Summer Arts program.

Started in 1986 as a dance program at the CSU Long Beach Campus, the summer arts give students from each of the 23 California State Universities the opportunity to come together and share what they have in common; creative expression.

Fresno State’s Jackie Doumanian, CSU Summer Arts community relations coordinator, said that Fresno State hosting summer arts has brought some exciting names to town, such as Gordon.

“Sometimes our guest artists aren’t household names, but when you realize who they are within their professions, then you sit up and notice,” Doumanaian said.

The 357 students enrolled last summer got to learn from the best in their field and worked together to create performance and art pieces that they proudly displayed at the end of their sessions.

Students didn’t have to go to the Fresno Art Museum and see Lita Albuquerque’s solo exhibition last summer to find out about this leading California artist. Known for her epic environmental pieces, she taught her Public Art class with special expertise in her field.
“[She] gained international prominence in the 1970’s,” Doumanian said.

For those who missed out this year, no need to worry. The course list for next summer is available at the Summer Arts’ website, along with information about how to apply. Fresno State is hosting it again, bringing back some new and old groups.

One favorite, the theater group “Second City,” is going to be back.

“They specialize in improvisational comedy,” Doumanian said. “They boast alumni including Tina Fey,… Mike Myers [and] Gilda Radner.”

But for any who may want to get away next summer, there is one class going to Florence, Italy. Students for the “Drawing and painting in Florence” class will get their inspiration overseas.

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