In 1986, my aunt Alyce Williamson, ArtCenter College of Design trustee, founded ArtCenter100. With the guidance of then-President David Brown, they determined the mission of ArtCenter100 should be to raise money specifically for scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students, in all departments, based on both financial need and demonstrated ability. The need for scholarships remains greater than ever, since 74% of students receive some form of financial aid while at ArtCenter.
Members of ArtCenter100 meet two to three times a year at either the Hillside Campus or South Campus to hear from faculty members and department heads about what is happening at the school and in their fields. Members also go on a variety of relevant field trips four to five times a year, such as visiting artist’s studios, world-class museums and businesses owned and operated by ArtCenter alumni. The most rewarding part for the members is to meet our scholarship recipients and experience firsthand what they are learning and creating. Last year Albert Soto, Transportation Design graduate and ArtCenter100 scholarship recipient, spoke at our Annual Meeting and shared the story of his path to ArtCenter and beyond. He had many challenges along the way, but through perseverance, passion and the support from ArtCenter100 among others, he realized his dream.
One of our more recent field trips was to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, to have a docent-led tour of the work of the highly respected artist and alumna, Laura Owens. To see the work of this talented ArtCenter faculty member was enlightening and educational.
When my Aunt Alyce founded the group, she invited family and friends who embraced the mission as fervently as she did. One of those members was my mother, Victoria Williamson, who included me in a variety of ArtCenter100 events and field trips over the years. As a young woman, it established a wonderful foundation for my understanding of the importance of giving back to the community. Fast forward 20 years, and I had the honor of my Aunt Alyce inviting me to join the ArtCenter100 Board. I am so pleased to be continuing our family’s tradition of giving back!
I’ve been honored to be President of ArtCenter100 for the past two years. Every year, my relationship with the school deepens considerably. My involvement in ArtCenter100 has broadened my knowledge of the importance of design in every aspect of our daily lives and provided me the opportunity to see the brilliant minds of the College’s alumni at work in the world.
As an interior designer, I continue to draw inspiration from the talent, dedication, and imagination that our students display, and it encourages me to keep an open mind to all possibilities in life and work. All it takes is attending a Grad Show or a stroll through ArtCenter’s student gallery to inspire you to work even harder to reach your full potential. Whether it’s ArtCenter students making strides in the gaming industry or in cutting-edge transportation design, seeing these young people come into their own has been very rewarding.
As we all know, education is a costly expense in today’s economy. ArtCenter100 scholarships awarded on an annual basis reinforce the College’s commitment to attract and admit the most talented students, regardless of financial circumstances. Our scholarship donations are growing and membership is getting closer to our goal of 100 members, which is very exciting. I am so proud of the vital support that ArtCenter100 has provided over the past 33 years. We have raised close to $3.5 million dollars, which is an average of more than $100,000 per year. It is safe to say that since its inception in 1986, ArtCenter100 has made a significant financial contribution through its support for hundreds of scholarship students.
I am grateful for the women in my life and the tradition of giving back that they instilled in me. ArtCenter100 is an extraordinary group of accomplished women whose enduring commitment and generosity continues to impress me. There are many philanthropic causes to support in the greater Los Angeles area, and I am so appreciative that our members include ArtCenter100 as one of their causes.
The primary message behind ArtCenter100 is this: We are here to support student scholarships and will continue to do so for years to come. So if attending ArtCenter seems like an impossible dream, know that there is a support system in place for those in need of financial assistance. Here’s to another 33 years of giving back
Emily Williamson Hancock