Message from the President & Head of School


Greetings from Idyllwild,

What do you want to be when you grow up? This was a question that many of us heard throughout our adolescent years. The implications of that question were two-fold. First, it seemed that we were expected to choose a profession as early as possible and direct our education and activities toward achieving that goal. Second, it implied that we were to chose one career and stick to it. Most of my peers back then were woefully aware that the correct answer to the question was that we wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer.

It is gratifying that today’s generation is asked not only what they want to do but also who they wish to be. This generation is facing unimaginable challenges but also boundless opportunities. Technology has changed the size of their world and nearly eliminated any barriers to reaching others, particularly those from differing backgrounds and cultures. But whether our students chose a career in the arts or use their talents to embark on multiple professions, an Idyllwild Arts education is the foundation on which to build ideas, make plans and pursue dreams. Alumni such as Elora Hardy (’99) has returned to her home in Bali and is addressing environmental challenges by building homes made of bamboo, and Shepard Fairey (’88) continues to make us think, question and challenge our humanity. Both alumni hold careers that embody what is possible with an education rooted in the arts and steeped in a diverse environment. At Idyllwild Arts, signature programs such as Arts Enterprise Laboratory (AEL) and Art in Society help ensure that our students remain challenged to think deeply about the global citizens they wish to be as they prepare for careers within and outside of the arts.

In just a few days we will welcome the class of 2023. They have declared what they want to be when they grow up. You have only to see their passion, their talent and their work ethic to know that they have chosen a path to their future. While some may believe that the question, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” is antiquated, at Idyllwild Arts we rest on the assurance that our educational program and nurturing environment will challenge and inspire each student to develop into thoughtful, reflective citizens who seek to do good as they pursue their dreams and goals and make their indelible mark in this world.


Pamela Jordan
President and Head of School