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Dear Friends,

I want to let you know how much the San José Museum of Art means to me and what it has done for my life. When I was a student at San José State University, I went to school and worked full-time while living in foster care. At my foster home, I shared a bedroom; there were many people in the house. Work and school were full of people and obligations, too. I didn't have a place to clear my mind and imagine other possibilities until a friend gifted me an SJMA membership. The San José Museum of Art provided a welcome refuge full of mind-changing art for me. From then on, I would stop by the Museum several times a week to sit in the galleries and look at art.

The opportunity to reflect in quiet, safe, and uplifting galleries made a world of difference to me. I was able to sort my thoughts and learn about art. Art gave me new ways to think, new subjects to consider, and a sense of myself as part of the world. SJMA has had a lasting effect on me. I'm now an art history professor at Sonoma State University where I encourage my students to visit SJMA each semester.

I cannot tell you how elated I am that SJMA now offers free admission for children, students, and teachers. Museums should be for everyone. Many of my classmates at SJSU did not grow up with museums and had the impression those spaces were not theirs. Free admission for students and teachers sends the message that art belongs to them, too.

I visit SJMA every time I am in San José and it cheers me to see so many different people in the galleries looking at art, taking selfies, and discovering what art has to offer. High-quality shows like The House Imaginary and Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World welcome a diverse range of people who relate to the art in a variety of ways. Critical and daring shows excite and inspire.

SJMA gives so much to our community; it creates community in its welcoming galleries where we can gather and dream together. For a future in Silicon Valley that's truly for all of us, please join me in supporting our Museum with a personally meaningful year-end gift. Your support will make a lasting impact!

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Sincerely,

Dr. Letha Ch'ien

Dr. Letha Ch'ien

P.S. I recently participated in this short video, SJMA: 50 Years of Creative Impact.

If you have any questions about the Museum or your gift, please contact Claire Tsai at ctsai@sjmusart.org or 408.291.5372.

The Museum's tax ID number is 23-7062028.