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$1 Million for Culture and Visual Arts

Penn has received a $1 million from the Jerry and Emily Spiegel Family Foundation to create The Emily and Jerry Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts at Penn.

The gift, intended to increase student exposure to contemporary art and to engage undergraduates in the vibrant visual arts community at Penn and in Philadelphia, will create and support a series of coordinated courses, programs and events. Most of the programming will occur in association with the Institute of Contemporary Art.

The centerpiece of the gift will be the annual Spiegel Exhibition Symposium in Contemporary Culture. Organized in conjunction with an exhibition at ICA, the symposium will address a cross-disciplinary theme suggested by the exhibit. Examples abound of works that address issues of interest to psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and communications experts, as well as art historians. The symposium will feature Penn faculty from a variety of fields, in addition to visiting lecturers. To encourage student participation, faculty will address symposium topics in course work and in informal, residential settings.

The first symposium, to be held on March 17-18, will explore the theme of resistance through the art of Barry Le Va, whose work will be featured at ICA as part of a major retrospective survey. Labeled "anti-form" or scatter art," Le Va's aggressive, room-scale installations of felt and glass challenged the art of the late '60s and '70s. The symposium will examine resistance as it appeared in the culture and politics of the periods, from punks and Vietnam protest to the furthest reaches of contemporary art, music and literature. The artist and noted music critic and cultural historian Greil Marcus will deliver the keynote address.

The gift will also fund on-campus residences of visiting contemporary artists, critics and practice professors; student events at ICA; a series of freshman seminars to be taught by Penn faculty and members of the Philadelphia arts community covering areas as wide-ranging as visual studies, film studies and art history; and support for the University's new undergraduate residential program in Contemporary Culture and Visual arts.

"We are thrilled," said Emily Spiegel, who credits her daughters—Pamela Sanders (C'78) and Lise Spiegel Wilks (C'80)—with inspiring the gift, "to be part of this new initiative, which will bring contemporary culture and visual arts into the lives of Penn's undergraduates in a number of wonderful ways. Our hope in creating this program is that students will realize that visual arts carry tremendous meaning relevant to the society in which we live and that they will feel comfortable exploring the messages these works carry."

"The Spiegel gift wonderfully strengthens the University's ongoing efforts to lift the visibility of the remarkable array and quality of arts and culture activity on campus," said Peter Conn, interim provost, and Andrea Mitchell Professor of English. "Thanks to the Spiegel family's support, Penn students will have enriched access to the most exciting work in contemporary culture and visual art, giving them an appreciation for the arts that will stay with them long after they leave the University."

Jerry Spiegel is chairman, founder, and owner of Spiegel Associates, a real estate company that manages residential, retail, office and industrial properties on Long Island. He is also chairman of the Architectural Board of Kings Point, N.Y. a position he has held since the late 1980s.

Emily Spiegel is an associate member of the Board of the Metropolitan Opera, a member of the Painting and Sculpture Committee of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and an honorary member of its Board of Trustees.

They are founders and officers of the Jerry and Emily Spiegel Family Foundation, which routinely supports hospitals, universities, the arts and other charitable causes. Mrs. Sanders has been a member of ICA's Board of Overseers since 2000. In 1999, the Jerry and Emily Spiegel Family Foundation funded the Spiegel Lobby in the Quadrangle.



  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 2, September 7, 2004


September 7, 2004
Volume 51 Number 2


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