Where artistic aspirations lead to successful lives

The myth of the “hungry artist” is pervasive in the community, but this is one of the concepts that Idyllwild Arts Academy has put together with its wonderful education.

The High School of Residential Arts is the number one and internationally known in the United States

Provide a diverse student body with pre-professional training in the arts, as well as a comprehensive university preparatory curriculum.

Their 300 students, representing 30 or more countries, arrive at the school with a great deal of motivation to pursue artistic excellence in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, creative writing, film, digital media, interdisciplinary arts or fashion design.

Their graduates go on to study at elite colleges, art schools, and conservatories around the world. Despite what they learn at these institutions, their experiences at Idyllwild Arts remain second to none. this is the reason:

Miguel Soto

Idyllwild Arts

Idyllwild Arts Academy has taught Miguel Soto a variety of valuable skills that he uses to this day. Source: Idyllwild Arts Academy

Miguel Soto has felt a special attachment to music since childhood. With an excellent exam and a generous scholarship, Idyllwild Arts has given the young man from Mexico a platform to nurture his talents and dreams.

An avid songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, he began his Idyllwild Arts journey on Songwriting before joining the jazz program as a drummer. His academics never held back. “What surprised me most,” he recalls, “is that the academy gives learners a complete education.”

This combination led to quickly trace his progression to Berklee College of Music – a dream destination for budding musicians. Backed by another scholarship, Soto reached an upper hand thanks to his academic background at Idyllwild Arts, which also provided him with a more solid foundation in music than many of his peers.

With a bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance and Music Production, Soto rises to the top as the hawks who pounced on the Southern California High School he knows and loves. With every step he took, he couldn’t help but look back on his Idyllwild Arts journey with gratitude.

The school taught him a variety of valuable skills, including collaboration – which he does today with the producers and writers he works with as Warner Chappell music recording artist – as well as confidence as a performer.

Those skills got him so far. Ranked in the Top 10 of the year by “The Voice Mexico,” Soto is one of Boston’s most sought-after wedding and special event artists.

Maisie Lo

Idyllwild Arts

Idyllwild Arts laid the foundation for Maisie Luo to thrive as a graduate student. Source: Idyllwild Arts Academy

Born in China, Maisie Lou was only 13 years old when she arrived at Idyllwild Arts to nurture her love of drawing. Experience has taught her more than perfecting her craft. “Idyllwild Arts taught me to practice time management, communicate my feelings, and stand up for myself as a human being,” she says.

These competencies, among others, boosted her confidence in taking the next academic step. After spending her freshman year at the Maryland Institute of Art College (MICA), she transferred to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. After graduation, Law returned to Idyllwild Arts to teach in the Department of Visual Arts and work as a student dormitory parent.

Today, she is pursuing a master’s degree in theology at Harvard Divinity School, with a focus in environmental and animal ethics. She credits the observational art classes she took at Idyllwild Arts for laying a solid enough foundation for her to thrive as a graduate student.

Without these sessions, she wouldn’t have the same viewpoint or emotion that she has now. Idyllwild Arts also taught her to practice interdisciplinary excellence, with the opportunity to be involved in sculpting and stop motion projects.

Celeste Headley

Idyllwild Arts

Celeste Headley only has fond memories of her time at Idyllwild Arts in the 1980s. Source: Idyllwild Arts Academy

Celeste Headlee’s Idyllwild Arts Journey dates back to the 1980s – a testament to the school’s historic reputation for ensuring great results. As a teenager, she dreamed of becoming an actress. She joined the Academy full-time in her final year after two exciting summer enrichment programmes. As a major in musical theater, she was part of the school’s first graduating class in 1987.

“Almost everything was different from my experience at Idyllwild Arts compared to my time in regular high school,” she says. “Friendships were deeper, relationships with teachers were meaningful, and I was able to focus on the things I loved most—all of which prepared me for life after graduation in so many ways.”

Idyllwild Arts helped her realize her love for writing. She took a playwriting class that helped her develop the skills she uses today as a successful broadcast journalist, public speaker, and author.

“I remember all my classes very well,” she says. “I remember this intensely because not only did we write the plays, we performed them for each other to see what worked and what didn’t work almost immediately. They were very valuable to me.”

Her book, We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations that Matter, was published in 2017 in response to a request created by her highly successful TED talk, “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” Her latest issue, Talking About Race, is published by HarperCollins.

Like Miguel Soto, Maisie Lou, and countless other Idyllwild Arts alumni, the mark that Headley left in the world will be deeply influenced by her academic experience.

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