May 3, 1969 – The Groundbreaking for the California Institute of the Arts Takes Place
“Friends of California Institute of the Arts, I’m sure that you can understand and share with me the joy…in welcoming this new institution to our new and growing city of Valencia.” – Thomas Lowe, President of Newall Land & Farming Company
On May 3, 1969, ground was broken for the current campus of the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. The school itself has a long history with the Walt Disney Company: the relationship between Walt and the Chouinard Art Institute began in 1929, when founder Nelbert Chouinard agreed to train Disney artists on a pay-later basis. Disney discovered many promising talents at Chouinard who went on to become prominent Disney artists, including Mary Blair. After Disney’s death in 1966, a large amount of his estate went to finance the construction of the new campus. Unfortunately, after the 1969 groundbreaking, construction of the school was hindered by torrential rains, labor trouble, and the 1971 earthquake. The campus finally opened in November of 1971.