One in a thousand: ASU art professor selected for national 'best of' show

December 8, 2014

Artist Angela Ellsworth is an associate professor in the intermedia program in the ASU School of Art, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Ellsworth explains intermedia as hybrid art practices or interdisciplinary art practices. artist Angela Ellsworth, professor in the ASU School of Art Download Full Image

“In our area,” she says, “we have work in media, digital sculpture, we have video. I’m teaching performance art, there’s social practice. It’s an area that really speaks to contemporary art practices across the nation.”

Ellsworth is also one of about 100 American artists hand-picked for the show “State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now,” on view at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, Arkansas, through Jan. 19, 2015.

To produce the exhibition, Crystal Bridges president Don Bacigalupi and curator Chad Alligood spent months traveling more than 100,000 miles around the continental U.S. Their goal was to show the best of what was happening in American contemporary art.

In all, they visited almost 1,000 artists’ studios, and then picked their top 100 artists for the show.

“It’s a really diverse cross section of contemporary artists working today in the United States,” Ellsworth says. “I’m very honored.”

The exhibition includes two sculptural pieces by Ellsworth: a new piece called “Close to You,” which consists of two pioneer bonnets covered in pearl corsage pins, and one single bonnet covered in pins.

Of the two bonnets, she says, “they’re being very close. I see them as in intimate positions.”

The single bonnet is one of dozens she’s creating to stand in for the many wives of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church.

“Although I’m not a practicing Mormon now, I’m very interested in that history,” Ellsworth explains. “I’m interested in, specifically, polygamy – the practice of polygamy and how that connects to queer culture and non-hetero normative relationships, now that states seem to be struggling over gay marriage specifically.”

And within what Ellsworth describes as “that very patriarchal construct,” she is interested in reimagining “a group of the women and creating their own sort of community in a sense.”

Ellsworth says that the “remarkable landscape” surrounding the School of Art is “a real draw” for faculty and students, as is the region’s rich history. The desert informs her work, as does her teaching.

“I feel like I learn [from students] about contemporary culture and the way other generations are functioning and dealing with media and social media. We talk about that in classes: What does it mean to be an artist, and what’s the responsibility of being an artist? “

Ellsworth says she’s aware that some of the students she teaches won’t go on to be professional artists.

“So there has to be something that the student can take away that might not just be how to make a painting or how to make a performance,” she says. “There are life skills that include problem solving, troubleshooting and basically being critical thinkers.

“One can use critical thinking no matter what career we go into.”

Deborah Sussman Susser

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


ASU receives presidential recognition for commitment to community service

December 9, 2014

For the fifth consecutive year, the Corporation for National and Community Service has named Arizona State University to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

ASU’s commitment to social embeddedness, a university-wide responsibility to work with local, national and international communities to create social change, secured its spot in each of the 2014 Honor Roll categories: General Community Service, Education, Economic Opportunity and Interfaith Community Service. students painting tree trunk whitte Download Full Image

ASU is the only public university in the state of Arizona to receive the Honor Roll classification.

More than 19,500 students provided over 778,000 hours of community service during the last academic year through mutually beneficial partnerships with local, national and international sites. ASU offers over 325 courses that integrate community service with academic content through academic service learning, and it also employs over 50 staff members who coordinate community service and engagement opportunities in units across the university.

"Service and higher education go hand in hand," states Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). "These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement."

CNCS, the federal agency for volunteering and service, has administered the award since 2006 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education, Campus Compact and the Interfaith Youth Core.

For the full list of 2014 awardees, visit

Jessica Eldridge,
Manager, Public Service Initiatives

Britt Lewis

Interim Communications Director, ASU Library