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SFSU to launch International Center for the Arts with $3 million gift



Matt Itelson
SFSU Office of Public Affairs & Publications
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Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Exhibits, film festivals, juried monetary awards to celebrate arts worldwide

SAN FRANCISCO, January 19, 2005 -- A new center based at San Francisco State University's College of Creative Arts will add international zest to the Bay Area arts scene with festivals, exhibits, documentary film screenings and prizes showcasing the artistic life of regions and countries worldwide.

The International Center for the Arts, created with a $3 million gift from SFSU alumni George and Judy Marcus, will celebrate some of the world's most innovative art and artists, with a focus on documentary films and visual art.

Drawing upon an international pool of talent, the center creates a venue for artistic creation, a laboratory for established and emerging artists, an incubator for artists, a training resource, access to the professional arena, and a point of intersection inspiring innovation for students and the general public.

The center will present the George and Judy Marcus Prizes, three juried awards each worth up to $50,000. Artists whose work demonstrates excellence, emerging talent or lifetime achievement will earn the award. The center's regular programming will include a Documentary Film Institute, International Celebration of the Arts and Biennial Visual Art Exhibition.

"The International Center for the Arts was inspired by my passion for the arts and my desire to recognize the University that helped contribute to my professional success," said George Marcus, founder and chairman of The Marcus & Millichap Co. "The center's programs will enhance the University's reputation for excellence in the arts, as well as provide a unique opportunity to showcase innovative artistic expression in the San Francisco Bay Area."

Marcus was born in Greece and moved to San Francisco at age 4. He earned his bachelor's degree in economics from S.F. State in 1965, after two and a half years of study. In 1971 he founded The Marcus & Millichap Co., the parent company of a diversified group of real estate service, investment and development firms, including Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co., which is one of the nation's leading investment real estate companies, with more than 850 brokers in markets throughout the United States. In 2003, Marcus & Millichap closed $10.3 billion of investment transactions for private and institutional investors.

"George and Judy Marcus' extraordinary generosity and support of the arts usher in a new era in the artistic and cultural life of San Francisco State University and the greater San Francisco Bay Area," SFSU President Robert A. Corrigan said. "We are proud to be home to a center that will cultivate and present a broad vision of global arts and culture."

Three George and Judy Marcus Prizes will be awarded every year. The film prize will honor the documentary filmmaker judged to have done the finest work of the year. The visual art prize and related acknowledgements will be given to emerging and established artists selected for their artistic excellence and/or lifetime achievement. The international arts prize will be given to artists representing the artistic heritage of a selected region or country.

The center's annual International Celebration of the Arts will feature traditional and contemporary forms of art from a different region or country each year. The inaugural event, "To Cuba, With Love," opens Friday, March 4, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, and continues Saturday, March 5, on the SFSU campus, followed by an evening film program off campus.

"To Cuba, With Love" combines two areas of the center's thematic programming: documentary film and international arts.

The center's Documentary Film Institute will feature an annual film festival, host artists-in-residence, and offer workshops with leading filmmakers on such subjects as financing films and accessing raw footage.

The center's Biennial Visual Art Exhibition will feature works by established and emerging artists in a wide variety of forms — including two- and three-dimensional work, multimedia, performance and installation. In addition, there will be master workshops and classes conducted by leading artists, artists-in-residence, small group critiques and conversations with professional artists.

"Nurtured by the talents and vision in the College of Creative Arts, we are thrilled that the International Center for the Arts and Marcus Prizes will challenge artistic endeavors and reward those who do cutting-edge, inspiring work," said SFSU College of Creative Arts Dean Keith Morrison, who is serving as interim executive director of the center while a director search is under way. "Students, faculty and the general public stand to benefit from this new venue for artistic creation and recognition."

Named SFSU Alumnus of the Millennium in 1999, George Marcus has long supported the University and its programs. He has served on the board and as chairman of the Modern Greek Studies Foundation, which was formed to support the Nikos Kazantzakis Chair for Modern Greek Studies at SFSU. He previously donated more than $40,000 to the University for the Center for Modern Greek Studies, Cinema Department and student scholarships. Marcus is a member of the University of California Board of Regents and served on the California State University Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1989.

Judy Marcus earned her bachelor's degree in education from S.F. State in 1964. She is actively involved with several philanthropic endeavors throughout the Bay Area.

George and Judy Marcus live in Los Altos Hills. They have three daughters and one son.

The SFSU College of Creative Arts has the largest academic program primarily devoted to the broadest array of artistic disciplines in Northern California. Under the direction of Morrison, an internationally acclaimed faculty directs more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students in seven disciplines: art, cinema, broadcasting, music, dance, theatre arts and design. One of the largest campuses in the CSU system, SFSU was founded in 1899 and today is a highly diverse, comprehensive, public, urban university.


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Last modified April 20, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications