University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price have announced the creation of the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.
Founded with a commitment of $15 million from alumni Keith L. Sachs and Katherine Sachs, this transformative gift – the largest gift ever made across the arts at Penn – will establish the Sachs Arts Innovation Hub and closely link arts education to the Penn Compact 2020’s goal of advancing innovation across the University.
“Creativity is the very soul of innovation, and what is art but creativity made manifest?” Gutmann said. “Keith and Kathy are among the undisputed patron saints of the arts at Penn, and their latest extraordinary generosity will transform how we understand, teach and break new ground in the arts. The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation promises to empower a new wave of artistic and ingenious creation at Penn.”
The new Sachs Arts Innovation Hub, to be located in the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, will aim to visibly energize the arts and arts innovation at Penn. It will integrate research, teaching and practice, working collaboratively with faculty, students, arts and culture leaders and the Provost’s Arts Advisory Council, while building on the highly successful initiatives of the three-year Art and Culture Initiative sponsored by the provost and the School of Arts & Sciences.
“This tremendous gift comes at an especially exciting time for the arts at Penn,” Price said. “It allows us to integrate and amplify the wide range of activity already underway in our world-leading arts institutions and academic departments – and in a city bursting with unrivaled arts opportunities – creating a whole decidedly greater than the sum of its parts. The longtime leadership of Keith and Kathy Sachs across the ICA, Penn Design and the School of Arts & Sciences has set the stage for this new era, and we are all indebted to their generosity and vision.”
Led by an executive director, to be appointed through a national search, the Sachs Program will expand sustainable curricular innovation in the arts across the University, including grants to develop courses, workshops, master classes and other learning opportunities; encourage hands-on artistic production and public art spaces; foster cross-campus collaborations, especially between arts centers and academic programs; appoint artists in residence and other new faculty members; and build community and new audiences for the arts at Penn.
The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation culminates more than a decade of support for the arts at Penn from Keith and Katherine Sachs. These major gifts, which have transformed the landscape of arts education on campus, include the Sachs Guest Curator Program at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Sachs Professorship in Contemporary Art in the Department of History of Art in the School of Arts & Sciences and the Fine Arts Program Fund and Visiting Professorship in the Department of Fine Arts in the School of Design. The Sachs’ vision has been to expand arts programs across the University by integrating the ICA, the Department of Fine Arts and the Department of History of Art and bringing outstanding artists to teach on campus.
“We believe strongly that the arts are essential to the core mission of education,” Keith Sachs said. “The very best students seek out a university with a vital arts program. At the same time, the arts are central to advancing key Penn values, such as diversity, innovation and integrating knowledge.”
“We are especially pleased,” Katherine Sachs said, “that our gifts to the arts create synergies and new ideas across campus. These connections foster the creativity and imagination that our students need to become the leaders of an ever-changing world.”
Keith Sachs is former CEO of Saxco International, member and former chair of the School of Design Board of Overseers and a trustee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He is a longtime leader of the Class of 1967 Gift Committee, which he is chairing during its 50th-reunion year. Katherine Sachs, an adjunct curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for many years, is an emeritus member of the University Board of Trustees, a member of the University’s Design Review Committee and a member of the ICA Board of Overseers, which she formerly chaired.