Since its first class in 2013, The Calibraska Arts Initiative has taken on many forms ranging from a single animation class with webcams taped to milk crates to a statewide initiative running classes using industry standard software and equipment in Lincoln, North Platte, and Scottsbluff taught by teaching artists flown out from LA. This summer the initiative takes on a new form as a hybrid program with classes happening in-person and online.
The program kicks off on June 7th and runs through July 30th and offers classes that run the gamut of creative subjects from direct cinema to character design, effects animation, 100 years of SciFi, acting, hip hop dance, CG Modeling and more! Calibraska Arts Initiative Director, Erica Larsen-Dockray, leans on her connections from her alma mater, CalArts as well as her extensive experience as an animation teaching artist in Los Angeles to put together a stellar line-up of instructors each year, many of whom are college faculty, working at the big production studios, and award winning artists and producers.
Larsen-Dockray and her former student, Zekkeraya El-magharbel, who graduated from Calarts with a double major in Animation and Music, are planning on flying out to Nebraska to teach animation classes across the state at Calibraska’s partner sites. The tour of in-person animation classes will be in Lincoln June 7-18 at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, North Platte June 21-July 2nd at Mid Plains Community College, and Scottsbluff July 5-16 at the West Nebraska Arts Center and SHS. Their classes also have spots for students to zoom in online if they are not near the tour locations.
“What once was a passion project teaching on family visits back home to Scottsbluff in the summer has turned into a full time job and I couldn’t be happier,” said Larsen-Dockray. “Having to adjust to the pandemic was tough last year but this summer I’m really looking forward to returning to my hometown state as well as exploring new ways of teaching and connecting with more rural communities in Nebraska by offering classes with students both in person and being zoomed in.”
This summer will be the first time rolling out their “satellite site” concept which Larsen-Dockray is working hand in hand with Calibraska partner, Nebraska 4-H to develop. The goal is to identify extension offices where students can zoom into the Calibraska classes if they are too far off from the “tour”. Larsen-Dockray hopes to eventually outfit offices with Calibraska’s signature animation backpacks created to mimic those Larsen-Dockray used at CalArts. Each backpack is a mobile animation downshooter and has film, photography, editing, design, and digital animation capabilities. This summer, Buffalo County will be the pilot for this model including a backpack and other tech with support from 4-H and the Kearney Area Community Foundation. Calibraska is also supported by Vistabeam Internet and the Nebraska Coast Connection.
Calibraska strives to take away barriers to these special opportunities to anyone and is running a $100 campaign asking businesses and individuals to sponsor students in need. To see the breadth of their in person classes please check out their short highlight reel from 2019 at http://bit.ly/
Registration is now open for the classes which range from 7yrs on up to adults. For more information on the classes, to sign-up, or to donate, visit www.calibraska.org or contact Calibraska at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (ne) 308.631.5704, (ca) 661.670.8663.