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New Grant Strengthens Bridge to the Community

New Grant Strengthens Bridge to the Community

(October 27, 1999)

A $1.4 million grant from the Maxwell H. Gluck Foundation will allow the University of California, Riverside to expand and extend an existing program that puts faculty and student artists and presenters directly into the community.

The grant, announced Tuesday, Oct. 26 at the Sweeney Art Gallery, brings the total Gluck Foundation funding to UCR nearly $2.9 million. The new money will allow The Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts at UC Riverside to continue through the end of the year 2003.

The Gluck Program was initiated in 1996-97 by then-Dean Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez. The Gluck grant pays for UCR dancers, writers, musicians, actors and art historians to teach and perform in schools and nursing homes in the Inland area. It is one of only three similar arts programs in the nation funded by the Gluck Foundation. The other two are at The Julliard School and at the University of California, Los Angeles.

"We will be increasing the number of music fellowships, adding a tap dance troupe, a children's theatre group and creating a multi-media interactive gallery at the Sweeney Art Gallery," said Patricia O'Brien, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at UCR. She also said the new funding also will allow the Gluck Program to do more hands-on training with children in how to be a courteous and knowledgeable audience. "The way to create future audiences is to begin early," O'Brien said.

The news came during the annual Gluck Fellows reception at the Sweeney Art Gallery and the room was packed with the faculty and student artists and presenters who are ambassadors for the arts in the community.

Richard G. Reinis, secretary of the Gluck Foundation Board of Directors and also a member of the UCR Foundation Board of Trustees, announced the grant. Afterward, Camilia Kocol, executive director of the Gluck Foundation, told the gathered students and faculty: "There's nothing more wonderful in the whole world than to see you here. I'm imagining the genius and talent that you bring to people who might not otherwise be able to experience that joy."

Dean O'Brien accepted the grant, but took no credit for earning it. "I think this is a tremendous endorsement of the quality of the arts at the Riverside campus," she said. She listed the accomplishments of the Gluck program over the past three years, including 797 performances with a total audience exceeding 25,000 people. "I am on a daily basis struck by the power and strength of the faculty in this room," she said.

She is not the only one. Spread out on tables at the reception were the thank you letters from school children and photographs of performances at schools and nursing homes. Gluck Fellow Fred Strickler, the chairman of the UCR Department of Dance and a well-known tap dancer, was once stopped in a grocery store parking lot by a little boy who told him, "I know you. I saw you dance. I like you." Strickler said, "Better yet, he told me that I was good."

The Gluck Fellows perform and teach in elementary, middle, and high schools as well as nursing homes in the Inland area, including Moreno Valley High School, Arlington High School, Chemawa Middle School, Community Care and Rehabilitation Center, Longfellow Elementary School, Cypress Gardens, Emerson Elementary School, Gage Middle School, The James Leonard House, and;

North High School, the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Administration Hospital, Sierra Middle School, Magnolia Convalescent Hospital in Riverside, California School for the Deaf, Lincoln High School, Riverside Hospice, Poly High School, Mira Loma Middle School, Ramona High School and Plymouth Tower.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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