Artists’ Futures Fund established at CCS with gift from Jennifer and Ariel Lechter

September 8, 2020

College of Creative Studies and College of Letters & Science Art Students will have access to Artists and other professionals to imagine their futures

Jennifer Lechter and her father, Jerry Friedman. Photo by Sterling Tyler Photography
Jennifer Lechter and her father, Jerry Friedman. Photo by Sterling Tyler Photography

“I am delighted to announce the establishment of the Artists’ Futures Fund at the College of Creative Studies, made possible due to the generosity of Jennifer and Ariel Lechter,” said Dean Gerardo Aldana. “It will have an immediate positive impact on Art students and their preparation for future careers.” 

The College of Creative Studies (CCS) is known for its signature undergraduate experience: an experiential learning model embedded within a tier one research university. In support of this foundational approach, the Artists’ Futures Fund will provide training of CCS and College of Letters & Science Art majors for the practical, competitive world awaiting them beyond their undergraduate education. Student course participants will gain valuable insight from professional artists and non-artists on best practices, and will explore the tools they’ll need to acquire within various career tracks in the world of art and many paths that draw on art and creative thinking in the non-profit and for-profit sectors.  

“This Fund is dedicated to the memory of my father Jerry Friedman who always believed that hard work, strong academics, a great attitude, and effective mentors are the formula for success in any profession,” voiced Jennifer Lechter.  She continued, “Throughout my father’s early years, he benefited greatly from people taking the time to help him grow professionally while pushing him to strive to be the best. In turn, my father would always make the time to mentor his employees and truly anyone who was interested in advancing his or her career.”

The Artists’ Futures Fund is a tremendous step toward providing the career guidance our students have been looking for and will train them in multiple practical skills while empowering them to take charge of their vision as creatives, explained CCS Art Program and UCSB Department of Art Professor Jane Mulfinger. The Fund will allow the CCS Art Program, under the leadership of Mulfinger, to offer a course of study that will propel Art students to articulate their thoughts in writing and in interviewing, and be introduced to future educational and employment paths by discussions with alumni and others.  

For Lechter, “The ever-changing art world is so hard to navigate as well as trying to find a viable career path and even preparing for that interview. We wanted to give Art graduates knowledge and tools to secure jobs in careers that enrich our world. Art is so important in all of our lives.”

“We are grateful to donors for their investment in CCS, allowing the College to break free from conventional educational experiences and provide unique learning opportunities.  This gift from Jennifer and Ariel enables a significant component of what makes the learning experience at CCS unique,” said Aldana.

 CCS faculty and its passionately curious students thank Jennifer and Ariel Lechter and all College donors for their philanthropic support of our students’ futures.