Arts Advocates: Stacey Nicholas
Q&A with Stacey Nicholas
Philanthropist Stacey Nicholas is an advocate for interdisciplinary research, arts outreach and STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics). She is committed to the UCI community through several pivotal roles: UCI Foundation Trustee; member of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering Leadership Council and Diversity Advisory Board; member of the Claire Trevor Society Leadership Committee; and is involved with the School of Education. For Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA), Stacey has made her strongest impact in research and outreach. We recently sat down with her to learn more about her passion for the arts and her involvement with the school.
Q. How did you become involved with CTSA?
SN: I met Dean Stephen Barker at my first UCI Foundation Board retreat a few years ago. We had an immediate rapport, and found we had so many things in common. After hearing about his vision for the CTSA, I wanted to become more involved. Also, he told me about a fledgling program between CTSA and the Rhode Island School of Design, where my daughter is a student (as part of the Brown-RISD Dual Degree program). I was excited that two institutions that I am passionate about are collaborating to advance the arts.
Q. Over the years, in what ways have you supported the school?
SN: John Crawford spoke to me about the new interdisciplinary multimedia design program that he is creating. As an engineer who loves the arts, this was so aligned with my interests. I was enthusiastic about supporting this innovative program, which includes the Your Ocean, My Ocean intermedia production between the CTSA and RISD. I am excited to see how the program will propel the CTSA into the future!
Q. Interdisciplinary and 21st century arts research is a priority for CTSA. Why is it important to you?
SN: I believe that STEAM education is so important in today’s world. The arts and engineering have so much in common, starting with the need for creativity. Problem solving cannot be effective without artistic thinking. I am so happy to see the CTSA collaborating with other schools at UCI on common goals.
Q. What has been the most impactful experience you’ve had at CTSA? Do you have a favorite program or project?
SN: I am thrilled about the vision for IMCA, and how it will be transformative for UCI. I have also loved seeing the collaboration between the CTSA and other schools and institutions that I care about. I have been so impressed with so many aspects of the arts at UCI — the Beall Center for Art + Technology, the New Swan Theater, and most of all, with the CTSA students. I am still learning more every day.
Q. Why do you feel it’s important for others to support CTSA and the arts?
SN: In today’s world, we can’t count on funding from the traditional sources. I believe that the arts, and integrating an arts education into all disciplines, is so important. People that share this passion want to step up and make sure that the arts will be supported into the future.
Q. What do you feel makes the arts at UCI unique?
SN: The arts at UCI and the CTSA are in a great position. Interdisciplinary research and collaboration is thriving at UCI, and the potential for partnership with the other schools is unmatched. The quality of the arts education at UCI is also world-class.
Q. What are you most looking forward to seeing through your philanthropic partnership with CTSA?
SN: Watching the students do amazing things!