Calibraska is the brain-child of teaching artist and CalArts adjunct animation professor Erica Larsen-Dockray (Scottsbluff/Mitchell, NE native), Monique Larsen of Inventive Media, and Billy Estes of the Historic Midwest Theater. Calibraska’s purpose is to cross-pollinate Western Nebraska flavor with California flair by inviting California students, alumni, and faculty to teach classes in their metier while enveloped in the inspiring landscape of Nebraska and to give Western Nebraska natives access to working professionals, concepts and technical programs used in the animation and art industry.
“My journey from Mitchell, NE to being a teaching artist and professor of animation in L.A. was long because it was so foreign to my family and myself. With Calibraska, I want to pay it forward for my home town by allowing others a chance to connect with the larger animation and art world. Likewise, it was an obvious choice to continue my teaching and art practice while enjoying an extended stay with my family. Bringing co-teachers from CalArts for the first time took it all to a whole new amazing level. They instantly fell in love with Nebraska…seeing their reactions and the reactions of our students told me I’m definitely on to something here.”
Tempe Hale, who taught animation for the Calibraska classes, recounts her experience of coming to Nebraska for the first time last summer, “As a Southern Californian, I had no idea what to expect coming to Western Nebraska for the first time. I found a community of students excited to learn and experiment with animation. Where else can I teach a class how to animate on celluloid film, watch it projected at the beautiful Midwest Theater, and then learn how to rake a field of hay on my day off? I can’t wait to see what this summer holds in store!”
Diego Larsen, from Mitchell NE has attended the Calibraska workshops since its first year in 2012 when asked about his experience last year he said, “The teachers really let us be creative and I learned a lot about animation. It was awesome to see my stuff on the big screen!”