ASU to host MLK awards breakfast with special guest broadway performers

January 8, 2015

Arizona State University will host the 30th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast at 7 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Memorial Union on ASU's Tempe campus. This invitation-only event will honor a community member and students who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in our community. The cast of "Motown" is excited to join the festivities to honor these individuals who are committed to creating a compassionate and socially just community.

Community leader Art Hamilton will be honored with the Servant-Leadership Award. Hamilton is the founder of the firm The Art Hamilton Group, LLC. Prior to the founding of the firm in 2008, Hamilton served 26 years in the Arizona House of Representatives. A groundbreaker and a leader, Hamilton was the first African-American and only Arizonan to be elected president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Hamilton also led the NCSL task force to re-write state policies on how state governments deal with families and individuals wrestling with problems of the developmentally disabled. Download Full Image

The recipient of the Student Servant-Leadership award is ASU graduate student Rivka Rocchio, a community-based theater artist focused on theater as a means of cross-cultural communication. Currently in her second year of ASU's Theatre for Youth master's program, Rocchio continues to work throughout Arizona with people who are incarcerated and people who are homeless. Rocchio believes in creating placemaking that allows for artistic communities to flourish.

“Art and Rivka ... exemplify a dedication to our community to make it more diverse. These awards have become some of the most highly-prized, because they highlight and underscore the deep commitment and action being taken by our community to build better communities through the vision and legacy of Dr. King,” says Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, MLK Committee chair and executive director of ASU Gammage.

Twenty five students were selected as winners in the MLK Children’s Contest, a poster and essay contest for K-12 students from across Arizona. This year, more than 1,400 applicants submitted work that highlighted this year’s event theme: “Why Not You."

Winners include:

• Gabriel C., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Jack S., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Moses S., Glendale, Sweetwater Elementary School
• Arella P., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Areliz G., Mesa, Franklin West Elementary School
• Aaliyah Z., Casa Grande, McCartney Ranch Elementary School
• Ashlynn K., Gilbert, Ambassador Christian Academy
• Mia D., Paradise Valley, Ingleside Middle School
• Mikaila P., Mesa, Mesa Arts Academy
• Jorge J., Laveen, Trailside Point Elementary School
• MacKinzi B., Sahuarita, University High School
• Sheshna V., Tucson, University High School
• Judy Z., Tucson, University High School
• Aubrey B., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Preston S., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Lucas H., Laveen, Vista del Sur Traditional School
• Lindsay M., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Zak B., Tucson, Mesquite Elementary School
• MacKenzie M., Mesa, Las Sendas Elementary School
• Brady M., Mesa, Franklin at Brimhall Elementary School
• Alan R., Vista del Sur Traditional School
• Bri J., Pima JR. High School
• Collette W., Scottsdale, Chaparral High School
• Larissa V., Scottsdale, Chaparral High School
• Tiana U., Tucson, Desert View High School

Chicago artist leads annual public history short course at ASU

January 9, 2015

Rebecca Keller, professor at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, is teaching the annual public history short course at Arizona State University.

The short course is a distinctive component of the public history program at ASU. Every year, students have the opportunity to learn directly from a scholar making a mark in public history. Keller is author of “Excavating History: Artists Take on Historic Sites.” Rebecca Keller Rebecca Keller teaching the public history short course. Download Full Image

Mark Tebeau, director of public history at ASU says of Keller, “She is an artist rethinking the history exhibit, excavating it from the bowels of the standard museum experience for the visitor. It is history from the perspective of an artist.”

“As an artist, I am interested in historical research as an engine for art making," says Keller. "The result is not only interesting museum exhibits, but compelling art."

One example is the work she did as part of the Portland Art Museum’s “Object Stories” project. The exhibit included an interactive component in which visitors recorded themselves showing a personal item and describing its value, much like a curator would describe the value of a museum piece. Keller contributed by creating videos that personified objects and gave them a voice.

One of these featured a Native American spoon in conversation with an ancient Chinese jar. “The dialogue cuts through the culturally determined concept of beauty,” she explains. “This exhibit blurs the boundaries of art and history, of museum pieces and those of ordinary use.”

Keller will further leave her mark in Arizona, as she will also meet with stakeholders in professor Paul Hirt’s National Endowment for the Humanities grant project, “Nature, History and Culture at the Nation’s Edge.” Students in the short course will not only learn from Keller’s expertise, but will also collaborate to propose exhibit ideas for this project.

One of the students participating in the short course is Samantha Thompson, a doctoral candidate for history and the philosophy of science in the Center for Biology and Society in the School of Life Sciences. She is also curator of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Thompson took this course because she “wanted to get more exhibit design work. I am not involved with the public history program," she explains, "but the more I talk to Mark [Tebeau, director], the more I would like to be involved.

“It has been incredibly helpful to receive Rebecca Keller’s perspective, coming at it from an artistic point of view," adds Thompson. "It forces us to look beyond text and panels on walls. This will definitely help in the day-to-day projects that I am working on. Now, everything I think about, I think about in exhibit form. Even for papers that I have to write, I think, ‘How would I present this to the general public?’"

The public history program at ASU is one of the oldest and largest in the country. Founded in 1980, it trains students to put history to work, and develops public history methodologies of the future.