The Emily Brett Lukens Scholarship Fund at Fleisher

Among the thousands of people who comprise Fleisher’s creative community, it is easy to think of our faculty as its heart. They are the ones who offer meaningful guidance and innovative art instruction for students of all ages and backgrounds. Perhaps most importantly, they make the first impression on our students while fostering meaningful relationships both in and out of our studios.

Emily Brett Lukens was a cherished instructor and a fixture in our second-floor studios, leading classes and workshops focused on lithography, painting, and drawing for more than 15 years. Our students will always remember her for encouraging them to leave their comfort zone, take risks, and “dare to be ugly.” Emily was known for her infectious laugh, spontaneous critiques in Fleisher’s hallways, and her ability to form a loyal following among her many students.

Emily was an established artist and printmaker, having studied under Hitoshi Nakazato and earning her master of fine arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to Fleisher, Emily taught printmaking at Penn, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Moore College of Art and Design.

Her work, as she noted once in an artist’s statement, was about texture. “I use these images to collage and paint mixed-media works that represent close-up and far away views of the earth,” she said. Her images regularly combined oil pastels, acrylics, graphite, and sand, and she often worked found objects into them. Those objects could always be found scattered around her studio near the Italian Market, where she would often invite her students for tours.

Emily’s work was shown widely to great acclaim. In the publication Maine Now, Edgar Allen Beem said her “mixed-media Rock Form drawings stand out as strong, simple masses, handily drawn and nicely differentiated by surface texture. They work both as representation and act.” Longtime Philadelphia Inquirer critic Edward Sozanski wrote about Emily’s work several times.

Emily’s presence at Fleisher will be impossible to replace, and she is greatly missed. However, through the generosity of Emily’s husband, William, and her family and friends, Emily’s passion for inspiring artists continues through a new scholarship fund established in her honor. The Emily Brett Lukens Scholarship Fund will provide tuition assistance to students seeking to explore their creativity and improve their well-being through Fleisher’s programming for adults. Students seeking assistance will be encouraged to apply in printmaking, painting, and drawing, Emily’s preferred media.

Fleisher is grateful to all of those who contributed in honor of Emily’s years of dedicated arts instruction. If you have contributed to the Emily Brett Lukens Scholarship Fund, thank you for helping to ensure that those of all backgrounds can access enriching arts education experiences at Fleisher through scholarship. Those interested in making a contribution in Emily’s memory may do so online or by contacting Leah Gelb, donor engagement officer, at or 215-922-3456, ext. 326. With our community’s support, this endowed fund at Fleisher will provide aid to those in need in perpetuity. Leah can also provide additional information on establishing legacy gifts at Fleisher.

Leave a Comment

Comments are subject to review. Your email is never published nor shared. *Required fields