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UC San Diego ArtPower Patrons Create Legacy of Support


  • Kristin Schafgans

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  • Kristin Schafgans

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Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Whether it’s a string quartet performing works by Beethoven or a contemporary dance piece that utilizes high tech robotics, the performances offered by the University of California San Diego’s ArtPower program are designed to challenge expectations. To ensure that future generations of audiences have the same dynamic arts opportunities, two ArtPower patrons have made arrangements in their estate plans to support the program beyond their lifetimes.

Established in 2004, ArtPower at UC San Diego provides opportunities for students and audiences of all backgrounds to experience the arts, from classical music to American routes, to contemporary dance, jazz and global music. Its programs emphasize engagement; almost all performances are paired with master classes, talks, workshops or other opportunities to interact with visiting artists.

“Our mission is to engage diverse audiences through vibrant, challenging, multi-disciplinary performances,” said Jordan Peimer, executive director of ArtPower at UC San Diego. “These gifts will help us continue to make the performing arts accessible and ensure their position as a valued asset in our community and in the lives of young people.”

Bringing world-class performing artists to campus


Eric Lasley

Eric Lasley vividly remembers the first time he encountered a classical music performance. He was in the seventh grade when he attended, for a class assignment, a chamber concert of Beethoven’s String Quartets held in the lobby of the University of Illinois student union.

“It was wonderful, I had never heard anything like it,” he said. Out of that first experience grew a lifelong interest in classical music. It’s also what inspired him to leave a legacy of support for ArtPower at UC San Diego.

Lasley has made arrangements in his estate plans to establish the Dr. Eric Lasley ArtPower Endowed Fund, which will provide support in perpetuity to bring performing artists, particularly classical and contemporary musicians, to campus. The fund may also support student engagement programs.

Growing up in small towns in the Midwest and Northeast, Lasley had few chances to experience the performing arts until he was an adult. After moving to San Diego to join the defense giant General Dynamics to work on the Global Positioning System, he started going to chamber music concerts presented by the La Jolla Music Society and the Mainly Mozart Festival.

When he discovered ArtPower, it opened up a new world of arts and culture for him. He credits UC San Diego with exposing him to new genres and groups that he might not otherwise have accessed. For students to have these opportunities right on campus is incredibly valuable, he says.

“A single, impactful experience with art, early in life, can lead to a satisfying, lifelong cultural interest,” said Lasley. “I think it’s important for students at a major university like UC San Diego to have opportunities to experience chamber music—and other musical and theatrical arts—during these formative years of their intellectual and cultural lives.”

Investing in arts outreach and engagement


Joyce Axelrod

For Joyce Axelrod, ArtPower provides an opportunity to enjoy world-class arts while learning more about UC San Diego and engaging with students.

“The idea that the San Diego community can be enjoying performances along with students is very unique,” she said. “I feel that when a university reaches out to the general community, including elementary students, I want to encourage that outreach.”

Axelrod has long been involved with the arts and other community organizations in San Diego. She co-founded the San Diego Jewish Film Festival, which presented it 27th iteration last month, and annually gives to causes that are close to her heart, including ArtPower.

Yet, it wasn’t until she established her own trust that she realized the powerful impact she could have beyond her lifetime. In her legacy plan with the Jewish Community Foundation, Axelrod designated ArtPower as a beneficiary of her testamentary gift. Her unrestricted gift will allow ArtPower to invest where needed most to ensure the program thrives in its mission to engage students with the arts.

“I realized the health of an organization lies in endowments that provide future generations the flexibility to respond to changing times,” she said. “You don’t have to be wealthy to create such a gift, you just have to step up to the plate when it comes to making decisions about your charitable giving beyond lifetime giving.”

From a bequest in a will or trust to a donation of appreciated securities, there are many types of non-cash gifts that will help ArtPower achieve its goals. For more information, visit or call (858) 534-2249.

To learn more about ArtPower at UC San Diego, visit

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