The California Institute of the Arts, colloquially called CalArts, is a private university located in Valencia, California in Los Angeles County. It was incorporated in 1961 as the first degree-granting institution of higher learning in the United States created specifically for students of both the visual and the performing arts. It is authorized by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) to grant Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts in the visual, performing, and, since 1994, literary arts. The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts was accredited in 2009 to grant a Doctor of Musical Arts.
The school was founded and created by Walt Disney in the early 1960s and staffed by a diverse array of professionals. The institute was started as Disney's dream of an interdisciplinary "Caltech of the arts". CalArts provides a collaborative environment for a diversity of artists. Students are free to develop their own work (over which they retain control and copyright) in a workshop atmosphere.