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ASU Gammage BEYOND announces 2016-2017 season

Free post performance after-party with ticket purchase

July 21, 2016

ASU Gammage BEYOND has announced its 2016-2017 performance season, including five different performances with topics that cover PTSD, the environment and race in America, time passage, why we go to school and the power of love and loving.

The BEYOND performance series brings world-class artists into the community who immerse themselves by not only presenting evocative and compelling work, but also by connecting to local residents through engaging cultural participation programs.  A Contra Tiempo dancer ASU Gammage BEYOND has announced its 2016-2017 performance season. Download Full Image

For most shows, ticket holders will also be invited to a post-performance after-party with the artists.

“This special access to artists is something many patrons won’t experience anywhere else throughout an entire series,” said Michael Reed, ASU Gammage senior director of Programming and Organizational Initiatives. “Through BEYOND, our audiences have experienced hundreds of unique community and educational interactions as well as remarkable performances by some of the greatest dance, music and theater artists of our time.”

Tickets are on sale now, available at and

• General admission: $20

• ASU faculty and staff: $15

• Students and military: $10


ASU Gammage BEYOND 2016-2017 season:

"Speed Killed My Cousin" 
7 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 15, ASU Gammage

The Carpetbag Theatre brings us the acclaimed production of "Speed Killed My Cousin," a moving story of a young, African-American woman veteran of the Iraq War and her struggle with "Moral Injury," Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). A third generation soldier, the central character courts death by vehicular suicide. "Speed" explores multiple issues related to war, including the history and otherness of African Americans in the military and the experiences of women in combat. Memories and flashbacks unfold before her, and in her rear-view mirror, as she drives. Ultimately she must decide whether to let go of the wheel or to choose life.

The Carpetbag Theatre tells our human story with courage and unfailing integrity. Telling deeply moving stories of communities of color for over two decades has been the calling card of this award winning theater gem from Tennessee. We are very proud to host Carpetbag Theater for their Arizona debut and powerful depiction of issues faced by our deployed military personnel.

"Agua Furiosa / Contra Tiempo"
7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 12, ASU Gammage

"Aqua Furiosa" Los Angeles-based "Contra Tiempo's" newest evening length dance/theater work, is a burst of energy, passion and physical expression that draws audiences in to confront realities of race in our country. Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Oya, the Afro-Cuban deity of wind and storms, artistic director and choreographer Ana Maria Alvarez, harnesses her unique Urban-Latin movement approach to create a visually stunning and thought provoking evening of dance performance. "Aqua Furiosa" merges call and response, a live vocalist, water themes, fierce physicality and the performers’ own personal narratives. Audiences will walk away from "Aqua Furiosa" impacted, entertained and inspired to join the complex and transforming conversation of race in America.

Ana Maria Alverez and the artists of "Contra Tiemop" are a breath of fresh air on the international dance scene, integrating vibrant expression of Latina/o culture, the complexities of contemporary America and passionate, nuanced dance artistry in a signature language all their own.

"Aging Magician" / Rinde Rinde Eckert Paola Prestini
7 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, ASU Galvin Playhouse

"Aging Magician" is a new music-theatre work, a composite of sonic and visual elements that paints an allegory on time, youth, and the peculiar magic of ordinary life, and, perhaps, the ordinary magic of a peculiar life. Accompanied by a string quartet and a choir of young people, "Aging Magician" moves us along with Harold, from the surgical repair of a timepiece to the magic show of time itself, lives and deaths, appearances and disappearances. The man’s vibrant last adventure is brought to life by a team of multidisciplinary artists who combine music, theatre, puppetry, instrument making and scenic design to create an enduring work for the stage. This work features vocalist Rinde Eckert, a musical set by Mark Stewart and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus and string quartet.

Rarely do artists of Rinde Eckert, Paola Prestini and director Julian Crouch’s caliber and imaginations collaborate. The result in "Aging Magician" is a richly layered, surreal and transporting multi media musical meditation on life and the passing of time not to be missed.

"It's So Learning" / The Berseker Residents
7 p.m., Saturday, March 4, 2017, ASU Gammage

"It's So Learning" is the seventh show from the comedic trio, The Berserker Residents. The show will push and pull you down a crazy, twisting, hilarious and terrifying path of self-reflection that asks the question, “Why do we go to school?” In "It's So Learning," you’ll be handed a backpack full of the supplies you need to survive inside the classroom; you’ll be hauled through the quizzes, grades, bullies, praises, graded again and hopefully you’ll graduate. Don’t be tardy as a faculty of eccentrics is taking attendance. Prepare for anything in this interactive classroom experience.

If off the beaten path is where you like to go and ironic, brilliant and just plain wacky humor is your thing, The Berserker Residents are a can’t miss experience. "It's So Learning" will take you on a hilarious, awkward and insightful trip through the familiar absurdities called adolescence and public school.

"Dearest Home" / Kyle Abraham / Abraham.In.Motion
7 p.m., Saturday, April 1, 2017, ASU Gammage

MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship awardee, choreographer and dance artist Kyle Abraham comes to ASU Gammage for the first time with "Dearest Home" (working title), an interactive dance focused on Love and Loving.  Abraham’s beautiful, visceral, and unique signature choreography is alive and well in this moving and lush set of mostly solos and duets generated in conversation and collaboration with people of many ages and subcultures. "Dearest Home" interweaves movement, in its most vulnerable or intimate state with an interest in cross-cultural conversation and community action to create an open dialogue on how different demographics view and converse on topics rooted in love and the absence of love.

Kyle Abraham is simply one of the most compelling artists creating dance works today. His rare gift lies in the ability to be completely relevant, exciting and moving through the language of dance ... a movement poet, a visceral social commentator ... for any audience. He is changing the idea of what dance performance is and can be for people from all walks of life.

Public relations manager, ASU Gammage


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"Towers Falling" comes ahead of 15th anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks.
Author hopes book will guide conversations with young people about the tragedy.
July 8, 2016

ASU professor Jewell Parker Rhodes writes children's novel about terror attacks of 9/11

Jewell Parker Rhodes writes children’s novels about tough subjects. The best-selling author had tackled slavery, the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina, but there was one challenge she hadn’t taken on: the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It had been more than a decade since the tragedy when Rhodes got an idea for a 9/11 story that she said “stayed in my soul.” 

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Her initial reaction, and early advice from family and friends, had been to stay away. The topic seemed too raw, intense and emotional for young readers. But on a long flight, Rhodes said she began to feel a connection to the people on the hijacked planes and developed the story that would become her latest book, “Towers Falling.” 

Timed for the 15th anniversary of the attacks, the story for young readers takes a fictional fifth-grade class through lessons about one of the defining moments of modern history. Rhodes said she hopes “Towers Falling” can be a tool for educators and parents to guide discussions with children.

“Students are the citizens of tomorrow and need to be taught how 9/11 affected our world,” said Rhodes, artistic director of Arizona State University's Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and writing professor in the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

“We’re now seeing the impacts of terrorism and how it has become even more widespread since 9/11. Do we really want to wait 30 years from now to teach the people who are going to have to live with this?”

To get the book done, Rhodes had to sensitively introduce young readers to an attack that killed more than 3,000 people, including hundreds of police and firefighters, and triggered a massive counter-terror response from the U.S. government. She also had to craft a story that teachers could teach, something that conveyed both shocking devastation and the ultimate triumph of American resilience and ideals. She wanted to make the grim moment into a story that could inspire young people to become good citizens.


She said it came together when she was “cocooned on a 14-hour plane flight.”

“It was a midnight flight and everything was dark save for a reading light,” Rhodes said. “Being in that space and spiritually connecting with the people on those planes brought it into focus for me.”

A possible approach as well as the title popped inside her head. For Rhodes it was “a sign that I should try and write this book.”

Rhodes wanted input from fellow teachers, so she consulted the principal and other staffers at the Brooklyn New School, PS 146, who witnessed the two planes flying into the World Trade Center through their school windows. The educators said they were still traumatized by the crashes, which left the school coated in debris and ashes, and the sudden realization that family members and friends worked in the twin towers. Even years later, many still couldn’t discuss it with their students, some of whom asked, “What happened?” and “Where are those buildings?”

Rhodes also discovered through classroom visits around the country that lessons on 9/11 varied widely and that many teachers had avoided the topic altogether.

Part of the trepidation had to do with age: At what point is it appropriate for young people to learn about a troubled chapter of recent history?

“It depends,” said Amanda Vickery, assistant professor of elementary social studies at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

“It can be taught at the elementary level, but it has to be done in an age appropriate way that doesn’t focus on fear but teaches about bravery, citizenship, resilience and the human spirit,” she said.

Vickery said teachers aren’t eager to venture into such territory because they want to “preserve and protect the innocence of the child.”

In Arizona, current state social studies standards do not call specifically for lessons on 9/11 or contemporary terrorism. That doesn’t mean, however, it’s not being taught, said Kenneth De Masi, past president of the Arizona Council for the Social Studies.

“Many teachers are challenged in placing Sept. 11 in the context of world history,” said De Masi, who has taught social studies for the last four decades. “It is simply a question of when to do it, how to do it, for how long and who should do it? I know some people in our society that I would not want to be teaching my grandkids 9/11 or terrorism in general.”

That doesn’t appear to be the case with Rhodes, who has received widespread support for the project.

“Jewell is a very magical person, and she has the presence of an angel,” said Sid Reischer, a fifth-grade teacher at Castleton Elementary in upstate New York. Reisher received advance copies of “Towers Falling” from publisher Little, Brown Books as part of his yearlong study of 9/11. Reisher read it to his students in April while Rhodes participated through Skype.

The reading became “an avenue for students to have a conversation with their parents about 9/11 as part of their homework,” Reischer said. He said other student outcomes included a “feeling of connection to the country as a whole, a deep appreciation for first responders and what it means to be an American.”

Reischer said “Towers Falling” affected parents, many of whom had personal connections with people who died that day.

Towers Falling book cover

“For the kids to see the emotional impact it had on the parents was very valuable and an important piece,” Reischer said. “It showed that history is alive and well and is about people. We had very rich conversations about the subject for the next few days.”

Reischer’s study will culminate with a visit from Rhodes. She will travel to the 9/11 Memorial to meet with about 75 Castleton students on Sept. 9, to memorialize the attacks.

“The idea that Jewell will come and meet us there makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these kids,” Reischer said. “When does an author do that? It’s amazing if this all comes off.”

“Towers Falling” is set for release Tuesday, July 12. 


Reporter , ASU Now


ASU School of Music welcomes Ying Quartet for 2016–17 visiting quartet residency program

June 27, 2016

Bringing concert music into everyday life is not always the focus of chamber music groups, but it is a priority of the fearlessly imaginative Ying Quartet, whose members have been performing together in diverse settings for two decades.

The ASU School of Music, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is lucky to have this renowned group come to ASU for the 2016-17 annual visiting quartet residency program. Each year, the innovative program hosts a major professional string quartet for three visits, and these top musicians serve as featured artists and teachers for students, integrating a comprehensive chamber music curriculum into the extensive training. The Ying Quartet, pictured, are the 2016-17 visiting string quartet in residence at ASU's School of Music. The Ying Quartet is the 2016-17 visiting string quartet in residence at ASU's School of Music. Download Full Image

“This will be the first time having the Ying Quartet in our residency,” said Jonathan Swartz, artistic director of the program and violin professor in the School of Music. “They are known for excelling in many of the things that distinguish our program — a commitment to communication, education, creation and performance of art relevant to our place and time, and impacting the community. They are an ideal quartet for our program, and our students are thrilled to get the opportunity to study with them.”

Thanks to their impressive qualifications and broad musical interests, the group performs regularly in world-renowned concert halls as well as more ordinary locales like workplaces, schools and even prisons. Their desire to explore the diverse possibilities of the string quartet and share it with others is what has led them to pursue such a range of experiences in which to showcase their art. This has helped truly set them apart in the chamber music world.

One of their primary ventures, an ongoing commissioning project called LifeMusic, was initiated to increase the string quartet repertoire. With support from the Institute for American Music, they commission emerging and established composers to write music that reflects contemporary American life and have accrued an impressive list of new titles.

“The second visit from the quartet will have the theme ‘Americana,’ to specifically bring into focus the Ying’s mission of commissioning works that represent different parts of America,” said Swartz. “We always try to tap into our visiting quartet’s interests and expertise, and this is one example.”

The School of Music’s quartet program is curriculum-based, with each visit from the quartet centering around a curricular project. Within a four-year window, four different quartets come to do a residency, with no repeats. There is a strong yearly continuity, thanks to multiple visits from the same quartet each year, yet during the typical duration of an undergraduate degree program, students are exposed to a variety of expertise by having a new quartet serve in residence each year. These features of the quartet program set it apart from similar offerings at other universities and help to ensure that School of Music string students receive the best possible training during their time at ASU.

Heather Beaman

Communications liaison, School of Music


Short-story contest finalists explore futures shaped by climate change

June 21, 2016

Speculative fiction stories have the power to take abstract, contentious policy debates about humans and their changing environment and turn them into gripping, visceral tales. The emerging literary genre of climate fiction — epitomized by novels like Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy and Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Water Knife” — helps to imagine possible futures shaped by climate change and to encourage more creative thinking about how humans might respond and adapt.

Arizona State University’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative is proud to announce the 12 finalists for its inaugural Climate Fiction Short Story Contest. These authors created unique and compelling visions of how humans might live in a future radically affected by climate change. A grand-prize winner will be selected from these finalists and announced in September. 2016 Arizona State University Climate Fiction Contest Download Full Image

The finalists are:

• Ashley Bevilacqua Anglin, “Acqua Alta”
• Kathryn Blume, “Wonder of the World”
• Kelly Cowley, “Shrinking Sinking Land”
• Stirling Davenport, “Masks”
• Adam Flynn and Andrew Dana Hudson, “Sunshine State”
• Diana Rose Harper, “Thirteenth Year”
• Henrietta Hartl, “LOSD and Fount”
• Matthew Henry, “Victor and the Fish”
• Shauna O’Meara, “On Darwin Tides”
• Lindsay Redifer, “Standing Still”
• Yakos Spiliotopoulos, “Into the Storm”
• Daniel Thron, “The Grandchild Paradox”

The finalists’ stories will be published in an anthology to be released in September in conjunction with the grand-prize winner announcement. The anthology will include a foreword from science fiction legend Kim Stanley Robinson, who served as a judge for the contest, and an interview with award-winning climate fiction author Paolo Bacigalupi. The grand-prize winner will receive $1000, and several runners-up will receive bundles of books signed by Bacigalupi.

The contest is the first public climate fiction endeavor hosted by the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, which explores how imagination might shape our social, political and scientific responses to the challenge of climate change. It was co-sponsored by ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean’s Council. The contest received more than 700 entries submitted by writers from 67 countries.

The stories consider the potential future ramifications of climate change for communities across the globe, from London and Madagascar to Venice, rural New England and the Florida Everglades. They engage with themes including artificial intelligence, DIY culture, human enhancement, wildfires and environmental insurgents overthrowing national governments.

All submissions were subject to multiple rounds of blind review by an editorial board that included experts on sustainability, conservation, geology, climate modeling and environmental history from ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Rob and Melani Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, School of Life Sciences, School of Earth and Space Exploration, and Department of History, and experts in science fiction and creative writing from ASU’s Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and the Center for Science and the Imagination.

To learn more about the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, visit

Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination


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ASU celebrates Frankenstein's 200th birthday with writing dare.
The tale of Frankenstein combines entertainment with serious ethical inquiry.
June 16, 2016

Frankenstein writing contest seeks to reanimate the conversation of science and responsibility

Two hundred years ago, in the early morning hours of June 16, Mary Shelley found herself possessed by a waking dream in which she “saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life …”

Born of a nightmare, the story of Frankenstein is one of the most enduring cautionary tales regarding scientific creation and moral responsibility. As the story goes, a young Shelley conceived of the idea after a group of fellow writers dared each other to write the best scary story during the inclement summerThe year 1816 is known as the Year Without a Summer as the world was locked in a cold, volcanic winter caused by the eruption of Mount Tambora in 1815. In 1816, when Mary Shelley and Percy Bysshe Shelley (her soon-to-be husband) visited Lord Byron at Lake Geneva in Switzerland, the weather did not allow for outdoor activities, so the group spent time reading each other ghost stories indoors. of 1816 on the shores of Lake Geneva.

Now, Arizona State University, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Chabot Space and Science Center, and Creative Nonfiction magazine are daring amateur and professional writers to do the same. The Frankenstein Bicentennial Dare competition hopes to inspire new stories that reflect on questions of science, technology, ethics, creativity and responsibility.

The competition is part of the larger Frankenstein Bicentennial Project, launched by co-directors David GustonDavid Guston is the founding director of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and co-director of the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes. and Ed FinnEd Finn is the founding director of ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination. He is also an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering (Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts/Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering) and the Department of English (College of Liberal Arts and Sciences). in 2013 to position ASU as a hub for the seminal novel’s global bicentennial celebration.

“From the very beginning [‘Frankenstein’] found a happy home onstage and, later, on celluloid, television and video — not to mention breakfast cereal, Halloween costumes, political cartoons and more,” said Guston.

“The novel itself grapples with issues — already apparent to Mary at the cusp of our scientific age but appearing again in each generation of knowledge-based technology, from galvanism forward to synthetic biology and artificial intelligence — related to the nature of creativity and responsibility.

“This theme, of course, applies to the earliest myths about the creation of human beings in many religions, but Mary’s story, dense with conflicting norms and changing paradigms, emerged as a modern myth suitable for retelling and reconfiguring.”

The Frankenstein Bicentennial Dare will be separated into two categories. The first, presented by ASU, NaNoWriMo and Chabot, invites participants to write short, scary tales about unexpected consequences and unintended monstrosities — though monsters are not always evil, and things that begin innocently enough, like a song, can be misappropriated and wrought into something monstrous. Winners of the short-fiction contest will receive personal feedback from Hugo and Sturgeon Award-winning science fiction and fantasy author Elizabeth Bear, as well as a curated selection of classic and contemporary science fiction books. Submissions will be accepted through July 31.

The second, a long-form nonfiction competition presented by ASU and Creative Nonfiction magazine, asks authors to document true stories about the evolving relationships between humanity and technology for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize or one of two $2,500 runner-up prizes. Winners will be announced in mid-2017, and winning essays will be included in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Submissions will be accepted through March 20, 2017.

Center for Science and the Imagination editor and program manager Joey Eschrich hopes the wide reach of ASU and the various partners involved will ensure the greatest amount of public engagement possible.

Science advancements and writing have a long history together.

“As long as people have tried to create new knowledge (aka ‘science’) there has been someone else there to write about it,” said ASU English professor Cajsa Baldini, the advantages of which include “the benefit of combining entertainment and the engagement of the individual imagination with serious ethical inquiry.”

Submissions for the Frankenstein Bicentennial Dare are being accepted now. Full details, contest rules and guidelines for entries can be found at

“I hope that we identify some really insightful, inspirational and creative approaches to understanding how we might — and how we should — engage with science and technology,” said Guston, “and, in the words of one scholar, learn to love the monsters that we create.”


Top image by Nina Miller, Center for Science and the Imagination graphic designer

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7 reasons ASU is the 'Entrepreneurial University'

ASU's university-wide support of entrepreneurship honored by symposium.
At ASU, innovative thinking stretching across all disciplines and departments.
June 14, 2016

Deshpande Symposium award honors university's innovation-fostering culture

Editor's note: This story is being highlighted in ASU Now's year in review. To read more top stories from 2016, click here.

Arizona State University’s entrepreneurial spirit was honored Tuesday night at the annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education.

At the symposium in Lowell, Massachusetts, ASU representative Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president of strategic partnerships and programs, was presented with the Entrepreneurial University Award, a recognition of ASU’s support of entrepreneurial programs and curriculum across the institution, from student startups to maker spaces to projects aimed at having an immediate impact on the world.

“It was the opinion of the Awards Committee that Arizona State University best exemplified a strong overall commitment to foster entrepreneurship across an institution by building both innovative educational courses and programs as well as student engagement at many levels,” wrote Raj Melville, executive director of the Deshpande Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to advancing entrepreneurship and innovation as catalysts for social change.

Here’s a look at seven activities that contributed to ASU’s newest honor:

A culture of startup support

This newest accolade builds ASU’s credibility as a forward-thinking institution that values new ideas: In 2016, U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU as the “Most Innovative School,” ahead of Stanford, MIT, Duke, Harvard and Cornell.

In fiscal year 2015, ASU faculty were issued 62 U.S. patents, launched 12 new companies and submitted 270 invention disclosures to Arizona Technology Enterprises, which attracted more than $40 million in new external funding. ASU’s venture development activities have led to the formation and assistance of more than 80 companies; in Arizona, four of these companies alone represent more than 350 jobs created.

Recently launched ASU student-led startups have won numerous external and intercollegiate competitions. They include Let's Chat, a language-learning app; Neolight, a medical-device solution for babies with jaundice; and Epifinder, a tool that enables faster diagnosis and treatment for epileptic patients.

For Elizabeth Oviedo, a 2016 graduate of ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business’ MBA program, the recognitions reflect reality. She said that ASU is unparalleled in its support for student entrepreneurs because of the accessibility of its faculty and staff and their willingness to help student startups regardless of what department they were based in.

“As a New American University, ASU’s design aspirations guide its growth and transformation. Among these principles is a deep commitment to entrepreneurship in all forms,” said ASU Knowledge Enterprise Development Executive Vice President Sethuraman Panchanathan. “That means more than a class or a program: it is a mind-set woven into the university’s culture. Entrepreneurship radiates from the heart of ASU’s mission to produce innovations of the future and the master learners who will lead us there.”

The presenting of the Deshpande Symposium award.

Ji Mi Choi, associate vice president of strategic partnerships and programs, accepts ASU’s Outstanding Achievement as an Entrepreneurial University Award from Jack Wilson (left), president emeritus of the UMass system and UMass Lowell distinguished professor of higher education, emerging technologies and innovation, and entrepreneur Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande on Tuesday at the Deshpande Symposium on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education in Lowell, Massachusetts. Photo by Tory Germann for UMass Lowell


Top photo: A journalism student poses for a portrait using the telepresence robot during Innovation Day at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication on Jan. 20. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now


Beth Giudicessi

Senior director of communications, ASU Enterprise Partners


ASU Herberger Institute wins 3 highly competitive grants from National Endowment for the Arts

June 13, 2016

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has recognized ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts with grants for three separate projects totaling $50,000.

In May, the NEA announced its second round of recipients to receive grants this fiscal year, and that list included associate professor Mary Hood in the School of Art and postdoctoral scholar Alexandre Frenette. During its first round of grants, the NEA selected the Herberger Institute’s ASU Art Museum as one of 56 museums nationwide to receive a grant.  2015 Map(ing) Kate Horvat, Mac Bydalek and Craig Kelly work on a print for Map(ing) 2015. Associate professor Mary Hood recently received a grant from the NEA to help support the biennial printmaking residency program. Photo by Craig Smith. Download Full Image

“Securing a grant from the NEA is the gold standard of recognition that your ideas have national merit,” said Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute. “To get three awards in a single year is testimony to the fact that ASU and the Herberger Institute are advancing research and creative projects that are models for the rest of the country.”

Associate professor Mary Hood received a $15,000 Art Works grant to help support her Map(ing) project, a biennial printmaking residency program that explores contemporary Native American and Indigenous artistic practices. Art Works grants, the NEA’s main grant category, are awarded to projects that result in creation of art, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts or the strengthening of communities through the arts, according to the NEA. 

For Map(ing), Native American and Indigenous artists with very limited or no printmaking experience collaborate with graduate students from the printmaking program at the ASU School of Art to create a limited edition of 25 prints. The teams use printmaking and visual storytelling to explore concepts of culture, place, language and identity. The event concludes with an exhibition and a moderated public forum.

“In the past years I’ve really scraped together the money that’s needed to put together a project like this, with help from the Herberger Institute and the School of Art, who have both funded it over years, and from a lot of community donations,” Hood said. “So the financial support is really important. But the validation of the project is also important. For a granting institution of that size to see the impact of this project is extremely rewarding.”

The Art Works grant program also funds research that investigates the impact of the arts on individuals and groups.  In this category, the NEA awarded $15,000 to help fund a study on the careers of arts graduates. Postdoctoral scholar Alexandre Frenette will partner with Timothy J. Dowd from Emory University as co-principal investigators for the project. Using data from the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a national survey that documents the experiences of arts alumni, they will look at the factors that shape which graduates remain active in arts-related careers and which ones exit. Dean Tepper, who is the research director for SNAAP, will also serve as principal investigator on the project.

“There are many misleading articles and narratives out there about the careers and lives of people who study the arts,” Frenette said. “There are problems within our educational system and there is inequality, but we’ll really only understand and address these if we pay attention to real facts and data. We will use SNAAP data to better understand the careers of arts graduates and, in the process, show what’s working and what we really do need to improve.”

Frenette’s project is one of only 18 projects nationwide to receive a Research: Art Works grant from the NEA this year.

“I was surprised and very pleased,” Frenette said of receiving the grant. “We were going to pursue this work anyway, but now we can do it much more in-depth. Ultimately, then, the work will have more of an impact.”

In December, the NEA awarded $20,000 to the ASU Art Museum to support an upcoming project called Space in Between. Artist Margarita Cabrera will collaborate with the museum, the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Latino community to develop a series of soft sculptures in the form of desert plants. The project aims to address themes of art and community, craft, immigration, empowerment, cultural identity and labor practices relevant to the Arizona region and its local immigrant history. 

“Margarita Cabrera’s work expands the notion of what community-based art can accomplish by addressing social justice issues in relation to immigration, labor and identity,” said ASU Art Museum curator Julio Cesar Morales.

The sculptures will be on display at the Desert Botanical Garden in the fall of 2016. 

For more information on NEA grants and a complete list of recipients, visit

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator, School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute


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June 9, 2016

Dance artist Marcus White to cultivate connections, diversity in the classroom as new ASU dance professor

Dance artist, creative producer and teacher Marcus White, who will join the faculty of ASU’s School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts this fall, says he cultivates community and diversity in his classroom, and he plans to bring those values to ASU.

“I’m super excited to join ASU this fall,” said White. “Arizona State certainly has positioned itself as a leader in the nation. In particular, as someone who works in an interdisciplinary way, I was drawn to the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and the Herberger Institute.”

White is the founder and creative director of Marcus White/White Werx, a performance production company that spans various genres and dance styles. As director, he has created work for both stage and screen. His teaching practice draws on postmodern contemporary dance and urban styles, specifically waackingWaacking consists of moving the arms — typically over and behind the shoulder — to the music beat. It also involves posing and footwork., vogue and house. Additionally, White is a dance film creator and curator. In these roles, he has worked closely with presenters such as the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center, American Dance Festival’s Movies by Movers and the newly developed “Dance: American Art 1865–1960” exhibition, which celebrates dance in visual art developed at the Detroit Institute of Arts and is expected to tour throughout the United States.

“He brings deep connections into professional practice, is a master of both urban and modern forms and has a deep interest in working in communities,” said Stephani Etheridge Woodson, interim director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre. “He has a vibrant professional practice and copious curiosity. We are lucky to have lured him to Arizona.”

White says he considers his classrooms “communities of thinkers and movers” and the studio as a laboratory for ideas and practices, both for the students and himself. He also has a history of expanding that community to reach lower socio-economic communities. In North Carolina, he founded Paradigm Dance, where he developed relationships with Greensboro City Arts to implement an afterschool dance program in the city’s cultural centers within those communities. Later, he developed a program called Moving Voices in Michigan. The Moving Voices project uses dance as a tool to encourage youth to engage in social impact and as a way to empower participants to use movement to tell their own stories.

“Working specifically at the intersection of cultural theory, movement practice and digital media, I come with a unique lens to craft stories and narrative using dance and film,” White said.

White has an MFA from the University of Michigan. He has taught at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan and has also served as a guest artist at various prestigious pre-professional dance programs such as the Dance Theatre of Harlem School, Penn State University, University of Montana, Oakland University and the American College Dance Association.

Sarah A. McCarty

Communications and marketing coordinator , School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute


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ASU's Norman Dubie reads his poems and shares why poetry is so important today.
The why's and where's of writing: Award-winning poet Dubie on his inspirations.
June 9, 2016

ASU professor Norman Dubie, winner of the international Griffin Prize, in his own words

For Norman Dubie, poetry has been a lifelong pursuit.

The Regents’ Professor of English, who came to Arizona State University in 1975 to establish its creative writing program, has written poems since age 15, though his interest in them was sparked at an even younger age.

At ASU, Dubie has taught hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students, formed a community of poets and been published widely. His work has been bestowed numerous accolades, including the PEN USA prize for Best Book of Poetry. In early June, he was awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize, an international recognition of the best book of poetry published in English, for his collection "The Quotations of Bone."

Here, he talks about the importance of poetry and reads some of his work.

Question: What has it been like since winning the Griffin Poetry Prize?

Answer: Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go to Toronto [for the award ceremony] for health reasons. My editor, Michael Wiegers, represented me and he read poems there on the night of the ceremony in front of 2,000 people, which is very brave of him. …

This competition involves 43 countries — it's an international prize — it’s 43 countries, and publishers in each country nominating books. There were seven or eight hundred titles and three jurors. So all of that is, you know, it's very harrowing and everything. I figured I'd eliminated myself by not being able to travel to Toronto. So I was having Thai food Thursday night with some friends when the phone rang and Michael said, “You’re not going to believe this, but you won anyway.” And I said, “Uh-oh!” [laughs]

Q: Why poetry? Why is it critically important in our lives today?

A: A former student called me this morning explaining that he is suffering from stage II lymphoma and he was reading several poems of mine and that he was greatly consoled by them on a very difficult night when he couldn't sleep. That helps.

One of the first poems I ever published in The New Yorker is called “Elizabeth’s War with the Christmas Bear.” It’s a poem about a strong woman who survives a privy council of evil men, and an attack by a bear that had been baited out in the gardens in the summer when everyone had fled London because of the plague. I got this letter from a woman in North Dakota who said she had carried two duffel bags full of frozen diapers to this laundromat and sat there while they were in the wash and cried and then looked at the magazines that were discarded on the table in front of her. And there was The New Yorker with this poem for Elizabeth. She read it, she took heart from it and she said “I didn't off myself and my children.” That always helps. That always makes poems seem relevant, when you get reports like that. …

It’s not a question of the art’s relevance, it's just how do you find enough time to really deal with the audience that's out there? … There are people out there who are completely taken up with language. It's our first resource almost after whatever is going on in terms of smart proteins inside our bodies. So, the writing of poetry is redemptive, and the reading of poetry is redemptive. [laughs] Propaganda, right?

Q: Where do you write? Does your writing change when you change places?

A: I write at a kitchen table. I'm from Vermont; the kitchen table was where the family gathered just to talk, to read magazines, newspapers, books. … I like to eat and so I write at a kitchen table, and I have my whole life, pretty much, but I can write in my head walking.

I’ll give you extreme examples about place and writing for me. When I was first writing when I was a teenager, I started writing with the first snow there in northern New England. And I stopped when the lady’s slippers came up through the snow in April — so I was a seasonal writer. I was somewhat like that for a very long time. When I came here, I decided the summer was the winter. … Here in the desert I've written at night and very heavily between June and October.

Q: What are you reading?

A: I'm reading a really sort of disturbing book that I promised myself I would go back to. It’s called “Hope Against Hope,” by Nadezhda Mandelstam. Osip — the Silver Age Russian poet, Osip Mandelstam, who Stalin in fact sent to labor camps several times, finally had a fatal coronary on the train going back for the third time. His widow was a brilliant woman, and she wrote this book, “Hope Against Hope,” and then she wrote a follow-up, “Hope Abandoned.” …

I'm also reading a biography on the poet Wallace Stevens, and I'm reading an old student of mine who has many books. I have several of her books open. Her name is Sarah Vap. She’s just brilliant, a wonderful poet.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A: Once there was an expedition to West Africa — British 19th-century expedition — and they were approaching the forest and this pygmy elder came out of the forest and walked up to them and said, “There is a dream dreaming us.” He turned around and went back into the woods. And that's how I feel about life on this planet. I think in this creation we are immersed in an infinite mind.


'Amen,' from 'The Mercy Seat'


'Ars Poetica,' from 'The Mercy Seat'


'The Night Before Thanksgiving,' from 'The Mercy Seat'


'Letters for Little Mila,' from Griffin Prize-winning 'The Quotations of Bone'


'Sparrow,' from Griffin Prize-winning 'The Quotations of Bone'



Hear more from Dubie on his inspirations and takes on writing:

 Interview edited for clarity and length.

Top photo: Norman Dubie, a Regents' Professor in the Department of English in ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, answers questions on the ASU Tempe campus on June 6. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Beth Giudicessi

Senior director of communications , ASU Enterprise Partners


Making an immeasurable impression: Jean Makin retires from the ASU Art Museum

June 6, 2016

When Jean Makin began working at the ASU Art Museum in 1989, the print collection consisted of just under 1,500 works on paper. Today that number is approaching 7,000.

“From the beginning, it was really hands on with the collection,” said Makin, who is retiring from the art museum after 27 years as curator of prints. ASU Art Museum Curator of Prints Jean Makin poses in a gallery ASU Art Museum curator of prints Jean Makin. Photos by Diane Wallace Download Full Image

Makin began her arts career as an assistant registrar at the University of Iowa Museum of Art before moving to Arizona, where she worked as the registrar at the Phoenix Art Museum for more than three years.

The ASU Art Museum’s collection of works on paper, which includes artists from Dürer to Warhol, was a huge draw for Makin, who has an MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa. She was hired as the museum’s first assistant curator of prints.

In the early years at the museum, she helped establish the facility at the Nelson Fine Arts Center, physically moving artwork from Matthews Center, where the museum was originally housed. Then came the task of cataloguing the work, which suited Makin well given her previous experience as a registrar.

Curator of Prints Jean Makin interacts with students at the ASU Art Museum

But ultimately, she said, the most gratifying part of the job came in her interactions with students, whether it was a larger class or an individual intern, in the Jules Heller Print Study Room.

“There have been numerous classes that have worked on specific aspects of the collection, researching and writing text that later is used in an exhibition,” Makin explained. “The students are engaged directly with the curatorial process, which is quite different from standard research for a hand-in paper. And they saw their work in the gallery — how many students can claim they created an exhibition?”

Melissa Button, an instructor in the ASU School of Art, regularly brought her classes to the print room to work with Makin.

“I cannot properly express how much I have appreciated and benefited from [Makin’s] endless knowledge and continuous desire to educate the students,” said Button. “[Makin] will not be soon forgotten, as [her] words and enthusiasm for prints will carry through my teaching for many years to come.”

Several of Makin’s former interns said their experience with Makin and the ASU Art Museum’s print collection was formative for them.

“Jean Makin is a gem and a real asset to the arts community,” says Laura Wilde, a former intern who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor in art history from the School of Art and who now works as the outreach and volunteer coordinator at the Phoenix Center for the Arts. “Her vast knowledge, experience and kindness helped me so much while I served as an intern at the ASU Art Museum print department, as I'm sure it helped many others. Her guidance helped me start my arts career.”

While interning at the museum, Emma Ringness’ research with the collection developed into a full-blown exhibition titled “Plate, Silk, Stone: Women in Print” (2013).

“Jean has an incredible wealth of knowledge both in art history and art making,” said Ringness, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in printmaking. “So much of what I learned during my time as an intern in the print study room was not from the research I conducted, but from my conversations with Jean.”

Throughout the years, Makin wore many hats (often simultaneously), from personnel manager to graphic designer, leaving an immeasurable impression on the museum itself. But her legacy extends even farther, to the larger ASU community and beyond.

“Jean has been central to the museum’s mission for over 27 years, and her commitment and expertise is shown through her amazing history of exhibitions and the building of the phenomenal print collection,” say ASU Art Museum Director Gordon Knox. “Thousands of students, academics and members of the public have come to know and love the print collection thanks to Jean’s hard work.”

Makin’s final exhibition at the museum, “The Brandywine Workshop Collection,” includes work from a satellite collection of prints that the ASU Art Museum received from the Brandywine Workshop in Philadelphia in 2015 and features artists such as Betye Saar, Tomie Arai and Willie Birch. The show will be on view July 5 through Dec. 17.

Communications Program Coordinator, ASU Art Museum