SAIC Receives $750,000 from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation to Support College Arts Access Program

May 20, 2022

CHICAGO—The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation made a $750,000 gift to support the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s College Arts Access Program (CAAP). This is the latest of several gifts made by the foundation, the first of which enabled SAIC to establish the program in 2014.

CAAP is SAIC's three-year college preparatory program, developed in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, which gives high school students access to artistic and academic resources at the School, creating a pathway for them to attend an art and design college. The program helps students from the city’s public schools develop the skills needed to thrive in a college environment. During their time in CAAP, students explore career paths, participate in financial planning workshops, live on SAIC’s campus for a two-week college experience with peers, prepare portfolios and applications for college admission, and work with an undergraduate mentor.

To date, the program has served 108 students from 32 Chicago Public Schools, and CAAP students have a 100 percent college admission rate. In a recent study conducted by Michigan State University’s Center for the Study of Curriculum Policy, it was proven that SAIC’s College Arts Access Program effectively erases the wealth gap that often serves as a barrier to art and design colleges, as well as other higher education institutions. CAAP was made possible nearly 10 years ago with the support of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, and the foundation’s latest gift will allow even more students to experience this life-changing program.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For more than 155 years, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) has been a leader in educating the world’s most influential artists, designers, and scholars. Located in downtown Chicago with a fine arts graduate program ranked number two in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, SAIC provides an interdisciplinary approach to art and design as well as world-class resources, including the Art Institute of Chicago museum, on-campus galleries, and state-of-the-art facilities. SAIC’s undergraduate, graduate, and post-baccalaureate students have the freedom to take risks and create the bold ideas that transform Chicago and the world, and adults, teens, and kids in our Continuing Studies classes have the opportunity to explore their creative sides, build portfolios, and advance their skills. Notable alumni and faculty include Georgia O’Keeffe, Nick Cave, David Sedaris, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Cynthia Rowley, Michelle Grabner, Richard Hunt, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Jeff Koons.

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Bree Witt