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A student working on their painting in an art class.

Breaking Convention

Jennifer and Ariel Lechter help students imagine their futures

Thanks to generous support from Jennifer and Ariel Lechter, the newly established Artists’ Futures Fund will train College of Creative Studies (CCS) and College of Letters and Sciences student artists for the practical, competitive world beyond graduation.

CCS is known for a signature experiential learning model for undergraduates embedded within a top public university. In support of this foundational approach, the Artists’ Futures Fund will give students valuable insight from professional artists and non-artists. Students will gain tools for various careers in the world of art and the many paths that draw on creative thinking.

“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,” said Jennifer. “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,” said CCS Art Program and UC Santa Barbara 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 through writing and interviewing, and to discover future educational and employment paths in discussions with alumni and others.

“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,” said Jennifer. “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 Dean Aldana.