Today we’d like to introduce you to Jered Gold.
Jered, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Los Angeles and — except for a few detours up-and-down the Pacific Coast — L.A. has always been home. Specifically, I grew up in the Valley and moved around a bit after high school, taking classes at a few community colleges until I landed at San Jose State University.
I moved back to the Valley after college and lived for a time in Hollywood and then back to the Valley before meeting my husband. Together we moved to Downtown L.A. in 2007. Those days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant open past 6:00 p.m. but they were an incredible few years and we met amazing people and witnessed a lot of growth. So much so, that we eventually got priced out of the rental market.
Eventually, we relocated to Glassell Park, where we purchased a new townhome. In a lot of ways, this area of Northeast L.A. reminds me of Downtown when we first moved there — though the community here is already well established. It is exciting to witness the area change, with new businesses and services popping up and plans to revitalize the L.A. River being proposed, but I hope the improvements we’re seeing are done with consideration for the people and businesses already here — this community has an authentic, sort of magic feel that I’d hate to lose.
I majored in hospitality management with a minor in business and marketing. Working in the hospitality industry, I often found myself in various public relations roles, overseeing customer relations programs, chamber events or store activities. I parlayed these skills to land a job in television production, which led to a gratifying opportunity in corporate communications at Universal and, ultimately, to ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. I’ve been at ArtCenter for more than a dozen years, with my job responsibilities increasing in scope and ability over that time. I now head up the Marketing and Communications team as vice president.
I’m incredibly fortunate in my current role to work with a great team of people. Together, we seek to create greater awareness of the College, its mission, students, faculty, and alumni by developing meaningful stories, sharing compelling images, amplifying the brand and creating significant touch points that have resonance beyond the College.
I find Pasadena to be a really surprising city. It’s got beautiful architecture, numerous cultural institutions, a burgeoning downtown, and a nice mix of restaurants, nightlife, and shopping. I think Pasadena benefits from the social and economic impacts of being a college town without being dominated by any single university. With ArtCenter, Caltech, Fuller, Pacific Oaks, and PCC you’ve got a constant influx of new perspectives, creativity, critical thinking and diverse interests. There’s a lot of hidden opportunity in this town for imaginative people. That’s in part why I joined the Board of Directors of Innovate Pasadena, a nonprofit focused on helping entrepreneurs and cutting-edge organizations connect and succeed in the region. If I can create greater awareness of design and creative thinking as an essential element of successful start-ups and emerging businesses, I view that as an important extension of my job at ArtCenter.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
My path certainly wasn’t a straightforward one or always smooth, but I think that’s true for most people. And, today, from my vantage point I feel incredibly grateful, both in my personal life and my professional life. And I try not to take that for granted.
I could certainly talk about some rough patches — my parents were divorced, my step-dad was an abusive alcoholic, I experienced brief bouts of homelessness and situational depression, family struggles, the death of loved ones — but I tend not to dwell on those stories.
The important thing, in my opinion, is to be mindful of the past, to use whatever empathy perspective might offer us to grant others the space to find their own way and, hopefully, to illuminate our own individual path going forward.
ArtCenter College of Design – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
ArtCenter College of Design is a private, nonprofit, conservatory-like college that offers 11 undergraduate and seven graduate degrees across a number of industrial design, communication design, and visual art disciplines. Honestly, I think all of our majors have something special to offer. We are most well known for our Transportation Design program, but the departments with the largest number of students are Illustration and Graphic Design. Recently, we’ve added new areas of specialization in Product Design and Entertainment Design. We have robust Photography and Film programs and are seeing continued interest in Advertising, Fine Art, Interaction Design and Environmental Design.
The College has a long history of preparing graduates for commercial success and developing industry partnerships that provide our student’s opportunities to work on real-world, corporate-sponsored projects and land valuable internships. We balance that with our unique Designmatters program, that empowers students to engage in projects that leverage art and design strategies to tackle complex issues in society. In fact, the College recently formalized these courses to offer a minor in social innovation. Projects focus on sustainable development, public policy, global health and social entrepreneurship. Examples include “Safe Agua” projects in Chile, Peru and Colombia designed to address water poverty; working with the cities of Long Beach and Santa Monica on health and wellness campaigns, and creating an anti-gun violence curriculum for LAUSD.
A leader in art and design education, ArtCenter boasts a rigorous and transdisciplinary curriculum taught by an expert faculty of practicing artists and designers. The caliber of our faculty and visiting artists has been extraordinary: Ansel Adams taught photography here; on a visit to campus, Keith Haring painted a mural; science fiction author Bruce Sterling was the College’s first “Visionary in Residence.” But the real value of an ArtCenter educaiton is evidenced by the success of our alumni, which includes many of the world’s leading car designers (representing virtually all of the top advanced automotive design studios); contemporary filmmakers and animators (Man of Steel, Transformers, The Vow, How to Train Your Dragon, Moana); ad makers and branding gurus (“Got Milk?,” The Endless Summer poster, logos for FedEx, Nike, Twitter, PayPal and Union 76); concept designers, (The Avengers, Star Wars, Blade Runner); artists, illustrators and photographers (Blue Dog, The Creatrix); product designers (Apple computers, Oakley Zeros, Kikoman soy sauce dispenser, Jawbone’s UP fitness tracker, Livestrong wristband); environmental designers (Apple stores, Niketown, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum); footwear and apparel designers (Adidas, Nike, Vans, Under Armour) and numerous others who have shaped culture with their talents and vision.
What are your plans for the future? What are you looking forward to or planning for – any big changes?
The College itself is embarking on a master plan in the City of Pasadena. Originally located in Downtown Los Angeles (when ArtCenter was founded in 1930) and then in Hancock Park, the College moved to the hills above the Rose Bowl in the 1970s. More recently, the College expanded to a second campus located at the Southern Gateway to Pasadena. The master plan outlines opportunities to develop much-needed student housing, new spaces for learning, improved outdoor spaces, and to create greater connectivity between the College and the surrounding community — all with an eye toward placemaking and sustainability.
The landscape of higher education, by its very nature, is always shifting. A focus on learning outcomes and career preparedness is key. The STEM or STEAM movement (Science Technology Art Engineering and Math)—which is directly linked to design thinking and innovation — is vital to the advancement of our culture. And certainly, a greater focus on diversity, equity and inclusion will result in a more open, respectful and educational experience for all facets of college life.
However, I think the rising cost of obtaining a college degree will have the greatest impact on higher education over the next 5-10 years. The cost of attending ArtCenter is on par with other private schools or similar art and design colleges, but a specialized education is expensive. We are keenly aware of this and we’re always balancing access and affordability with the highest level of instruction and services we can offer. To achieve this balance, ArtCenter depends on individuals, foundations, and corporations for a scholarship. To be clear, there are other strategies we utilize to offset the cost of tuition, but a gift to scholarships is the best investment in our student’s potential to create a better world.
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Juan Posada (c) ArtCenter College of Design