The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation provides grants and other forms of strategic support to artists, faculty, cultural centers, students, and other arts advocates at Penn. Our vision is that the arts at Penn are valued and embraced as a creative catalyst, driving innovation, inspiration, and action.
The Sachs Program supports a creative, culturally diverse, and pluralistic Penn community. We are committed to supporting individuals and groups from all races, ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, disabilities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation’s mission is to support and inspire creative practice and practitioners across the university – in all twelve schools, in the university’s artistic and cultural centers, and through the many partnerships and collaborations that connect Penn to the world at large. We aim to support a vibrant creative community and to ensure that our community members are valued and supported in the ways necessary to thrive. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism are central to our goals as a program, as well as to our priorities for grantmaking.
We aim to bolster marginalized peoples and elevate voices that have historically been silenced. We also seek to support artists and practitioners in the creation of work that grapples with current issues and ideas relevant to our time, as well as in contextualizing scholarly and historical research in topical ideas and innovative approaches to practice and pedagogy. Experimentation is a core value of The Sachs Program, as is collaboration within and across disciplinary and institutional boundaries. We are committed to a holistic approach for enriching the arts at Penn, investing in schools and centers, as well as in creative practitioners, and contributing to collective efforts for the growth and expansion of arts-driven activities and spaces.
The Sachs Program is also committed to cultivating meaningful partnerships between Penn and its surrounding communities and encouraging non-hierarchical artistic and intellectual exchange. The Sachs Program does not place greater value on one art form over another but rather aims to support a range of innovative and experimental practices across disciplines, departments, centers, creative groups, and peoples.
Staff and Board
The Sachs Program is directed by John McInerney, with support from Chloe Reison and Tamara Suber. The Sachs Program operates independently under the Provost’s Office. It receives counsel and guidance from an advisory board comprised of standing faculty and select arts leaders at Penn.
Sachs Program Staff
- John McInerney, Executive Director
- Chloe Reison, Associate Director
- Tamara Suber, Administrative Assistant
Sachs Program Advisory Board
- Deborah A. Thomas, Co-chair
R. Jean Brownlee Term Professor of Anthropology
- Sharon Hayes, Co-chair
Associate Professor of Fine Arts
- Al Filreis
Kelly Family Professor of English
Director, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing
Faculty Director, Kelly Writers House
- Christopher A. Gruits
Executive & Artistic Director, Penn Live Arts
- Dagmawi Woubshet
Ahuja Family Presidential Associate Professor of English
Associate Chair, English Department
- Grace Sanders Johnson
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies
- Jasmine Elizabeth Johnson
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies (Currently on leave)
- Ken Lum
Professor and Chair of Fine Arts Department (Currently on leave)
- Margo Crawford
Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Professor for Faculty Excellence
Professor of English, Director, Center for Africana Studies (Currently on leave)
- Matt Neff
Director of Undergraduate Fine Arts and Design, Weitzman School of Design
- Mauro Calcagno
Director of the Center for Italian Studies, Associate Professor of Music (Currently on leave)
- Michael Leja
James and Nan Wagner Farquhar Professor and Chair of History of Art Department
- Michelle Lopez
Assistant Professor, Sculpture, Weitzman School of Design
- Timothy Rommen
Davidson Kennedy Professor in the College
Chair in Music
- Toorjo Ghose
Associate Professor, School of Social Policy & Practice, Calvin Bland Faculty Fellow, Engaging at-risk Black Youth
Founding Coordinator at SP2, MSW MFA Dual Degree Program
- Zoë Ryan
Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director, Institute of Contemporary Art
Keith and Katherine Sachs
The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation is supported by an endowed gift from Keith L. and Katherine Sachs. Keith L. and Katherine Sachs have provided major support for the arts at Penn for more than a decade, completely transforming the landscape of arts education on campus.
This transformative gift – the largest gift ever made across the arts at Penn – will establish The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation and closely link arts education to the Penn Compact 2020’s goal of advancing innovation across the University.
Past gifts by Keith L. and Katherine Sachs have supported the Sachs Guest Curator Program at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Sachs Professorship in Contemporary Art in the Department of History of Art in the School of Arts & Sciences, and the Fine Arts Program Fund and Visiting Professorship in the Department of Fine Arts in the School of Design