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Students walk through art gallery

About Us

What is CSU Summer Arts? To some, it’s an arts program where students learn and teachers teach. To others, it’s an opportunity to see, hear and experience their favorite disciplines of art and explore mediums they aren’t so familiar with.

At its core, CSU Summer Arts is an international summer arts program of master classes and a festival of the arts. It’s a place where profound learning and entertainment converge, creating an inspired educational environment. A place where students live, work and learn alongside world-renowned professionals. A place where the nightly arts festival gives the public a glimpse into this life-changing work. A place where art is inspired and people are passionate.

Everyone who touches CSU Summer Arts -- from staff to patrons, faculty to students -- is changed. Our goal is that those who join us feel inspired, hopeful and determined to keep the arts alive.

Our Mission

Our mission and our passion is to enrich your lives through art. To that end, we provide excellent, innovative programming in arts education, exhibition and performance designed to empower your knowledge, skills and appreciation of the arts. Whether you're participating as a student artisan, master artist, or audience member, we promise that your CSU Summer Arts experience will nurture your artistic spirit and transform your thinking about creative expression.

“To empower people through excellence and innovation in arts education, exhibition and performance.”

Who We Serve

CSU Summer Arts is a national and international program of the California State University. We serve all of California, and beyond. In addition to students and faculty from the CSU, California Community Colleges, and the University of California, we also invite public school teachers, student artists and faculty from private schools and colleges throughout the United States, working professionals, and qualified international students to enroll.

What We Do

Whether emerging artist or seasoned practitioner, student artisans find CSU Summer Arts’ in-residence experiential programs to be education at its best. Our immersive communities of practice empower each artisan to transform artistic practice and self as new aesthetic sensibilities are formed and personal challenges are met. Our approach is grounded in side-by-side transactional learning guided by expert CSU faculty and world-class master teachers. Daily work is enriched and reinforced by engagement in an evening arts festival.

What We Believe

Whether participating as an artist, performer, or audience member, we believe the arts nurture the human spirit and foster citizenry. It is through diversity in the arts that we develop aesthetic understanding and discover other ways of knowing the unique worlds around us. Through the arts, we are able to gain new perspectives on what it means to be human.

What We Value

We strive to develop life-long behaviors, principles and values that sustain creative character. These include:

  • Courage and passion to create
  • Resilience demonstrated by the ability to try, fail and persist
  • Work balanced with play; the roles of process and product
  • Drive to curiosity, problem-finding and problem-solving
  • Respect and ethical behavior; personal development balanced with compassion
  • Diversity in expression

Contact Us

Email Us

Main Office

Office of the Chancellor
401 Golden Shore, 2nd Floor
Long Beach, CA 90802
(562) 951-4060

Fresno State Office

CSU Summer Arts, Fresno State
5241 N. Maple Avenue
Fresno, CA 93740
(559) 278-5858

Meet The Team

We are passionate about art. All kinds of art. We are passionate about helping students transform their artistic selves. We are passionate about providing diverse art to diverse audiences and enabling them to see the world through different eyes.

We welcome you to our world: CSU Summer Arts. Almost anything is possible and every day is a surprise.

We love what we do, and we love sharing it with you.

Ray Smith
(562) 951-4788
(562) 951-4065

(562) 951-4068

(562) 951-4067
(562) 951-4059


CSU Summer Arts was created in 1985 during an arts faculty institute in the woods of Kirkwood, California. The CSU faculty and administrators sought a way to meet the needs of the arts students of the CSU and supplement the programs of the CSU’s large and diverse arts colleges.

In that first incarnation in 1985, CSU Summer Arts was a summer dance program housed on the campus of CSU Long Beach. Due to overwhelming student needs, in 1986​ it expanded its curriculum to include various arts genres, and in 1990, we added the Media Arts Festival.

The program was housed on the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo campus in 1986 and 1987 and then moved to the campus of Humboldt State University, where it remained from 1988 to 1995 before moving to CSU Long Beach for the 1996 to 1998 seasons. In 1999, Summer Arts relocated to the Fresno State campus through the 2011 season. The program was hosted by CSU Monterey Bay for the 2012 through 2016 seasons and is currently hosted again by Fresno State.


CSU Summer Arts established the Media Arts Festival in 1991 to give talen​ted students studying film, broadcasting, video, screenwriting, and new media within the 23-campus California State University system an opportunity to present their work for critical review. In 2000, the Media Arts Festival expanded its mission to include helping students of the CSU bridge the gap between student and working professional. In an effort to realize its expanded mission, the Festival now inclides events geared to helping students of the CSU become better prepared to work in the entertainment and media industries.

A pane​​l of distinguished faculty and industry leaders select each year's finalists and winners, and all finalist selection are screened at the festival. Cash prizes and the prestigious CSU Media Arts Festival Award are bestowed on award-winning work.

The chancel​lor's gallery

The Chancellor's Gallery began in 2002 as a way for the CSU system to celebrate the fine art created by students at Summer Arts each year.

Guest artists for each visual arts course adjudicate the student artwork submissions and select work to be framed and hung in the Chancellor's Office in Long Bea​ch. The work is on display for one year, and is then returned to the students framed and with an exhibition booklet.

Chancellor's Office staff and visitors alike love seeing the fantastic work created by the talented students at CSU Summer Arts.

View the Gallery