Philanthropy for Art's Sake: $2.5 Million Gift from Keith and Katherine Sachs
October 12, 2011
A heightened sense of aesthetics serves as an antidote to intellectual anesthesia. No one knows this better than chair of PennDesign’s Board of Overseers, Keith Sachs, W’67, and his wife, Katherine, CW’69, a University trustee.
Ardent art enthusiasts and dedicated Penn people, the Sachses recently gave $2.5 million to advance scholarship in the fine arts and raise aesthetic awareness and engagement across Penn and in the arts and academic communities beyond campus.
Their philanthropy establishes the Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Endowed Visiting Professor in the Fine Arts
at Penn Design and the Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Fine Arts Program Fund. The Sachs Visiting Professor will be a practicing artist who will advance visual studies at Penn and strengthen connections between PennDesign, the Department of the History of Art in the School of Arts and Sciences
, and the Institute for Contemporary Art
, engaging students and expanding fine arts programs across the University.
“Keith and Kathy Sachs have chosen to support two of the highest priorities for PennDesign—faculty support and programming—in a critically important department, Fine Arts, and we are grateful for their generosity,” President Amy Gutmann noted of these two gifts that will strengthen and inform each other. As a new Sachs Visiting Professor arrives, drawn to Penn in part by the opportunities created by the Sachs Fine Arts Program Fund, he or she will bring fresh ideas and—literally—new perspectives on the fine arts.
Keith Sachs, W’67, and his wife, Katherine, CW’69
Once at Penn, the Sachs Visiting Professor will have an array of resources at PennDesign
and across campus to draw from and contribute to, including clay
, sculpture, and painting studios, multimedia and printmaking labs, and a state-of-the-art motion capture studio
for 3D modeling and computer graphics in Penn Engineering
. Even Penn’s compact campus—already the subject of study for drawing and photography classes—can serve as a source for artistic inspiration, while facilitating the Sachs Visiting Professor’s collaborations with students and colleagues just a few steps away in the Jaffe History of Art Building
, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA).
“We were happy to support the School of Design in expanding the impact of fine arts through world-class faculty and interdisciplinary collaboration so that students from many fields of study may benefit from exposure to the fine arts,” said Keith Sachs, adding that it is “important to assure that the School of Design can serve as an incubator for fine arts collaboration in the region…”
Coming in the sixth year of the Making History Campaign, the Sachses’ most recent gifts build on and strengthen their previous philanthropy, which includes endowing the Katherine Stein Sachs CW’69 and Keith L. Sachs W’67 Professor of Art History. The Sachs Professor of Art History, Kaja Silverman—who recently received a prestigious Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Achievement Award for her influential scholarship in visual theory—was no stranger to Penn when she arrived last year. Thanks to the Sachses’ support for In Conversation at the ICA, Professor Silverman participated in a series of events that brought the Philadelphia community, curators, and artist into deeper dialog with faculty about ICA exhibits and the theories of visual studies. And their sponsorship of Animate Art! and the Sachs Guest Curator Program enable the ICA’s mission to explore, analyze, and define contemporary art in its broadest sense, and to grow an engaged community of art lovers.
The Sachses’ gifts also resonate with existing Penn programs in the arts, such as: the Spiegel Freshman Seminar
, which is currently engaging first year undergrads in an examination of Pop Art icon, Andy Warhol, whose first US exhibit—at the ICA in 1965—was quite the scene
; the Howard A. Silverstein and Patricia Bleznak Silverstein Studios Abroad, which this year focused students’ lenses on subjects in Mumbai
for a photography workshop
and exhibit, Populus Flows
; and the Halpern-Rogath Curatorial Seminars, which most recently brought students deeper into the riches at the Penn Museum
to curate an exhibit on Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands
, and brought Art History faculty, Renata Holod
and Robert Ousterhout
to the Pera Museum
in Instanbul for a related symposium
The Sachs Visiting Professor in Fine Arts and the Sachs Fine Arts Program Fund will enhance and more fully integrate the arts into everday life at Penn, enhancing undergraduate and graduate Fine Arts programs and engaging the broader audiences in Penn’s interconnected arts resources.
Critical to awakening aesthetic sensibilities and enhancing artistic expression, support for faculty and programs are key priorities of Design Matters: the Campaign for PennDesign and for the Making History Campaign.
» more like this in Alumni | Arts | Faculty | Penn People | Philanthropic Citizens