Campus: CSU, Northridge -- December 1, 2000

Entertainment Company Donates Animation Equipment to CSUN

North Hollywood-based Calico World Entertainment has donated more than $185,000 worth of animation equipment to Cal State Northridge's Art Department.

The gift was prompted by Tom and Claudia Burton, the company's executive and managing directors, respectively, and former owners of Calico Creations Ltd. Tom Burton said his former company, an award-winning animation studio, was recently acquired by World Events Productions and they wanted to do something with all the equipment they no longer needed.

"We didn't want it to end up recycled in the professional community," Burton said. "What better place than at a university like CSUN?"

Joe Lewis, chair of the Art Department, called Calico's gift "significant."

"It has raised everyone's expectations about the kinds of services we can deliver to our students, and the kind of work our students can deliver to the real world," Lewis said. "We're very excited about it."

Calico World Entertainment is known for its traditional and digital animation, visual effects and design for television, feature films and electronic entertainment. Among the company's projects were the award-winning "This Land is Your Land: The Animated Kids' Songs of Woody Guthrie" and the children's animated television series "Widget."

Burton said Calico now works primarily in digital formats, and donated most of its more traditional animation equipment to CSUN. Among the items donated are animation cameras, equipment to make stop-motion clay animation, samples of animation production and hand-painted backgrounds.

The gift is part of the university's capital initiative, CSUN Rising, which has a goal of raising $11 million to restore and upgrade the university's teaching facilities, instructional technology, laboratory equipment and instructional furnishings. The campaign has raised $7.1 million to date.

Art professor Mary Ann Trujillo, who oversees the department's

animation program, said Calico's gift would make a "significant improvement in resources and equipment."

"As a professor, it is gratifying to see this kind of support from industry professionals toward our educational goals of fostering artistic pursuit and the acquisition of strong skill sets in animation among our students," Trujillo said. "This can make a real difference for the classroom learning experience."

Trujillo said the "meticulously painted and totally gorgeous" backgrounds were brought into the classrooms and used immediately. Other equipment will be eased into classroom use gradually.

"Calico was involved in various kinds of productions," Trujillo said. "With what they've given us, the students can learn about the entire process of putting a project together."

Trujillo said she felt honored that Calico chose CSUN as the recipient of its equipment.

"They wanted to be able to help students, and we do have some really hard working, dedicated students in animation. We have some real talent here and we need to encourage our students as much as we can," she said.

Tom Burton called the gift "fortuitous."

"It was a great moment in time, and we're extremely happy about it," he said. "We feel we have ties to the university."

Claudia Burton briefly attended CSUN and Calico Creations played a key role in helping the university keep the campus and community informed in the months following the 1994 earthquake.

California State University, Northridge has more than 27,000 full- and part-time students and offers 48 bachelor's and 39 master's degrees. Founded in 1958, it is the only four-year university in the San Fernando Valley.

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