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Female empowerment drives ASU MainStage's latest theatrical season

August 31, 2015

When the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre set out to finalize its 2015-2016 MainStage season, the idea of female empowerment was at the forefront of the discussion.

And why wouldn’t it be? It’s no secret that gender diversity issues have plagued Hollywood and Broadway for years. The most recent Hollywood Diversity Report showed that only one in eight film directors is a woman. And earlier this month an article in The Guardian lamented Broadway’s continued lack of plays and musicals penned by women. MainStage Logo The MainStage 2015-2016 season logo reflects its content and diversity. Download Full Image

It’s not much better in the Phoenix metro area where some theater companies will not feature a single production written by a woman in their 2015-2016 seasons, as local theatre critic Robrt Pela noted earlier this year.

With these issues in mind, the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre decided to take action by programming a theater season featuring a majority of female playwrights. 

“There’s been a good deal of discussion about the miserably low number of plays by women getting produced in major U.S. theatres, as well as the dearth of women’s stories on stages and screens,” said Lance Gharavi, assistant director of theater in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and artistic director of the MainStage theater season. “At the recent 2015 Oscars, all of the films nominated for best picture were stories about men, and all of the nominees for best original and best adapted screenplay were men.

“That will not do.”

Five of the seven theater productions in the upcoming MainStage season tell stories that focus on female characters, and the majority of plays were written by women.

“This is nothing to be smug about. This shouldn’t be the exception. It should be the rule. It should be the it-goes-without-saying normal,” Gharavi said. “But sometimes leading, sometimes innovating, can just mean doing the obvious.”

The MainStage theater season isn’t just about celebrating women. It will also focus on American culture. There are two productions for children. There’s even a world premiere of a play by one of the school’s MFA students. But the common thread is celebrating the work of female artists.

With that, here is the complete MainStage theater lineup. Find more information or purchase tickets here.

“A Streetcar Named Desire”
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16-17, 22-23, 24; 2 p.m. Oct. 18, 25
Where: Lyceum Theatre
Directed by Wyatt Kent
Written by Tennessee Williams

This classic of American theatre and cinema follows the fragile and refined Blanche DuBois, who has fled to her sister’s New Orleans apartment to escape financial ruin. There she is confronted by her own past and fresh calamity in this Southern Gothic tale of lust, lies, brutality and madness.

“Dry Land”
When: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30-31, Nov. 1, Nov. 6-8.
Where: Studio 133
Directed by William Partlan
Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel

The creation of up-and-coming playwright Ruby Rae Spiegel, “Dry Land” tells the story of two high school swimmers, Amy and Ester, who are drawn together by the need to secretly terminate Amy’s unwanted pregnancy. An intimate and searing portrait of teenage friendship and desperation set in a girls’ locker room. Mature content.

“Brooklyn Bridge”
When: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13-14, 19-20, 21; 2 p.m. Nov. 15, 22; 11 a.m. Nov. 20 (student matinee)
Where: Paul V. Galvin Playhouse
Directed by Ricky Araiza
Written by Melissa James Gibson

Meet Sasha, a 10-year-old with an impending essay deadline, absent parents and no pen. In her quest for a writing utensil and for company, she wanders through her apartment building, where she meets a variety of colorful tenants, who tell her stories about the Brooklyn Bridge and help her to confront her fears. Appropriate for families and young audiences.

“Lasso of Truth”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12-13, 18-19, 20; 2 p.m. Feb. 14, 21
Where: Lyceum Theatre
Directed by Pamela Fields
Written by Carson Kreitzer

Bondage, Gloria Steinem and lie-detector tests all figure into this racy tale about Wonder Woman’s origins and the lasting effects of her legacy. This is a story about the nature of comic books, truth and love. Mature content.

“The America Play”
When: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 19-21, Feb. 26-28
Where: Studio 133
Directed by Nia Witherspoon
Written by Suzan-Lori Parks

In this contemporary classic of the American theater written by a Pulitzer Prize winner, a character called the Foundling Father who bears a striking resemblance to Abraham Lincoln runs an attraction that allows passersby to  re-enact the president's assassination for the cost of a coin. This production will mark the 10th anniversary of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s Theatre & Performance of the Americas program.

“She Kills Monsters”
When: 7:30 p.m. March 25-26, 31, April 1-2; 2 p.m. March 26, April 3
Where: Paul V. Galvin Playhouse
Directed by Lance Gharavi
Written by Qui Nguyen

To rediscover the younger sister she lost to a tragic car accident, Agnes must embark on a quest into deepest, darkest geekdom in this action-packed, ’90s-themed romp through the fantasy world of Dungeons & Dragons. The line between fantasy and reality blurs as Agnes battles her own demons and learns to embrace the unordinary. Appropriate for families and young audiences.

“on display”
Where: 7:30 p.m. April 15-16, 20-21, 23; 2 p.m. April 17, 24.
Where: Lyceum Theatre
Directed by Phil Weaver-Stoesz
Written by John Perovich

Jack, a shut-in artist who lives on the Lower East Side, is faced with tough choices when his mother unexpectedly passes. Mary is determined to get his work into a gallery with the help of a curator, but their innocent partnership develops into a dangerous dance of exploitation. Splatter paintings are a grisly metaphor in this play about art, abuse and revealing the unseen in this world premiere by ASU MFA playwright John Perovich.

Communications Program Coordinator, ASU Art Museum


ASU News

Summer residency turns ASU students into rock stars

August 27, 2015

Michaelangelo once said that he never created sculptures; he simply chipped away at stone to reveal what was already inside.

Now two ASU students have given a millennial spin to that idea, using a digital program and robots that make it easier for artists to find what’s inside these slabs of rock. two men talking MFA graduate Eric Clausen listens as MFA student Alvin Huff talks about the Digital Stone Project in which they participated this past summer in Italy, while gathering in a sculpting lab in Tempe on Aug. 14. The project used robots to roughly sculpt digital sketches into blocks of marble. The artists still needed to do the fine precision work including sanding, polishing and buffing. Download Full Image

This past summer Eric Clausen and Alvin Huff, graduate students in the School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, participated in the Digital Stone Project, an international arts initiative based in Tuscany, Italy. It’s where they engaged with several master sculptors learning the time-honored tradition of carving marble, and where a state-of-the-art robot did most of the heavy lifting — or in this instance, carving.

The project used five- and seven-axis robots wielding diamond tool bits to roughly sculpt digital sketches into blocks of marble. The artists then do the fine precision work, including sanding, polishing and buffing their 300- to 400-pound marble sculptures.

“The use of a robot allowed me to experiment in a way where I didn’t have to deal with the laws of nature if the marble got cracked or chipped,” said Huff, who is working on his master’s degree in sculpting.

He used his time in Italy to sculpt “Shelter,” an abstract piece with ornate details.

“The robot also allows your abstract mind to create any object you can think of without having to pay for the materials, mess up your clothes or rough up your hands.”

The Digital Stone Project was founded in 2005 by sculptors who wanted to create a new way of working in stone by leveraging digital technologies. The monthlong residency is held each June at the foot of the mountains of the Garfagnana region of central Italy, where marble has been quarried for more than 2,000 years. These mountains provided the stone canvas for Michaelangelo’s iconic sculpture, “David.”

“The setting was inspiring because it was outside at the foot of these mountains and inside of a tent,” said Clausen, who earned his Master of Fine Arts degree this year. “I was completely removed from all of the trappings of a big city. It was just me and a slab of marble.”

His slab contained a small face tucked away inside a pair of exaggerated ears. He called it “Noise.”

Clausen and Huff were accompanied by Mary Neubauer, an art professor the Herberger Institute, as well as staff and students from a handful of other universities. 

“One of the missions of ASU is to be interdisciplinary in our approach to almost everything, and that does include the arts,” said Neubauer, who also worked on a marble piece while in Italy. “We’re well-positioned to accept new technologies while still teaching the fundamentals. Students will need to have these skills in order to be employable.”

This was Neubauer’s second trip to Italy. She spent the month working on an intricate, ribbed ring sculpture dubbed “Monsoon.”

Her piece, as well as Clausen’s and Huff’s, was on exhibit for the month of July in Villa Strozzi in Florence, Italy, not far from the home of Michaelangelo’s “David.”

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU News

Futurist author to imagine Southwest water wars at ASU

August 25, 2015

In Paolo Bacigalupi’s most recent science fiction novel, “The Water Knife,” Phoenix is dried up and California and Nevada are not too far behind. The millions of people who rely on the Colorado River to survive are not only thirsty, but fighting for their lives.

It’s a compelling story that captures a not-so-distant future. Will Phoenix eventually collapse? Will the river dry up? Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi Paolo Bacigalupi is an award-winning science fiction writer whose latest novel, "The Water Knife" was released earlier this year. He will appear at ASU on Sept. 17. Download Full Image

As part of Arizona State University’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, a partnership between the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and Center for Science and the Imagination, Bacigalupi will visit ASU on Sept. 17, to share the inspiration behind “The Water Knife” and discuss how he uses creative writing to imagine the future of the Southwest.

Bacigalupi follows award-winning author Margaret Atwood as the second guest lecturer for the initiative.

Bacigalupi's visit will include a free public lecture titled "The Imagination Drought: Speculative Fiction as a Tool of Warning and Empowerment" at the Tempe Center for the Arts, and will feature a reception and book signing after the the writer's talk. Tickets for this lecture are available beginning Aug. 25.

“We are very excited to have Paolo Bacigalupi come to the setting of his latest novel and talk with students, faculty, researchers and residents about the state’s environmental challenges and how they relate to his gripping tale,” said Patricia Reiter, executive director of the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives. “ASU’s Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative seeks to develop multiple narratives surrounding climate change. Bacigalupi is a perfect example of how the arts and sciences combine to help us visualize our future.”

After being exposed to environmental issues as High Country News’ online editor, Bacigalupi has become a leader in the emerging climate-fiction genre. His first novel, “The Windup Girl,” explores a world where fossil fuels are depleted and big corporations bioengineer food and people.

“Bacigalupi’s work exemplifies the broader mission of the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative to open up our thinking about what might be possible,” said Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and Imagination. “His arresting, deeply imaginative visions of the planet’s future are both soaring and gritty, anchored by deeply compelling characters struggling and thriving in the aftermath of climate change. Stories like his are vital to understanding what kind of world we’d like to live in and help us reinvent the present to reach that future.”

Bacigalupi’s second novel, a young-adult piece called “Ship Breaker,” tells the story of a young boy who strips stranded oil tankers for parts in the Gulf Coast.

“In writing for teenagers as well as adults, Bacigalupi shows us that an awareness of environmental issues must be cultivated across generations,” said Jewell Parker Rhodes, Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. “His fearless and intelligent novels are compelling, not only for their adventurous plots, but for their artistry in evoking raw and complex emotions for their deeply human characters.”

For more information and tickets, visit

Jason Franz

Senior manager, Marketing and Communications, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives


ASU News

Bringing urban culture into the ivory tower

August 13, 2015

Edson “House” Magaña was still in high school when he got his nickname. It came from his preference in music — a strain of electronic dance music that provided a heavy beat he could dance to.

The nickname stuck through the years and today, Magaña is known as one of the most accomplished breakers, or breakdancers, in the Southwest. A dancer is caught mid-move during last year's Urban Sol event. Download Full Image

He’s also an Arizona State University alumnus, having earned his undergraduate degree in psychology from ASU in the ’90s while simultaneously receiving another kind of education, off campus, in urban dance and hip-hop. He founded the Furious Styles Crew and is a member of the Mighty Zulu Kings, a legendary urban art crew that dates back to the early ’70s.

But for a long time, he didn’t see a place for his passion in academia.

“I would walk by the dance department all the time, looking, but I saw people doing weird things,” Magaña said of the modern dance classes. “I was like, what's going on in there?”

These days, if you walk by the dance building at ASU you might still see some modern dance. But you could also catch someone breaking, waacking, voguing or any number of the urban dance styles Magaña has studied for most of his life. The variety comes courtesy of a new program at the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.

Beginning in the fall 2015 semester, the ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts is introducing a new track in the Bachelor of Arts in Performance and Movement degree: urban performance practice. The program builds upon and unites an existing series of classes, clubs and events that have grown rapidly over the past several years in response to both student and community interest. The urban performance practice track offers a critical look at both the history and practice of urban dance and culture.

“It's the only program in the whole country where you can focus on urban dance, and it's really taken seriously,” said Sarah “Saza” Dimmick, who is pursuing her master's in dance. “We're able to examine it from an academic standpoint, looking at the social impact that it's had over the years, even re-examining the stereotypes and the things that are projected upon the culture. And it's really cool because we're kind of helping shape the direction that it's going to go. Creating thoughtful dancers, thoughtful artists within the urban forms that can take the culture to the next step.”

The roots of the program began with Urban Sol, a Herberger Institute initiative designed to support the existing community of urban artists in the Phoenix metro area, to welcome this community to ASU and to elevate the urban art movement in academic discussions. The highlight of Urban Sol is a yearly event (which shares the initiative’s name) that takes over Nelson Fine Arts Plaza, where students, faculty members and the wider community DJ, dance and create art together. This year, it will take place Oct. 19-24.

“We have this population that comes in and can’t find a home for themselves in the arts in a university setting, and we want to provide that home,” said Jacob Pinholster, director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.

Thanks to the urban performance practice track, Magaña returned to ASU and earned Master of Fine Arts in Dance this summer. He joined the program in 2013 precisely because of the opportunity to help shape the future of urban dance at ASU and in the greater Phoenix metro area at large.

“If you were to ask me 10 years ago if I’d be sitting here — no way,” Magaña says. “I still walk into the classroom and I’m like, OK, we really have turntables in the classroom. We really are sitting here reading and studying some guys that I've battled. This is incredible. … In general, ASU, I think, has done a great job so far of trying to respect the culture and respect the community that it’s going to represent.”

The performance-driven degree gives students the skills to practice urban art in its many forms, but it also instills in them a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the foundation of the urban arts movement.

“They always say you gotta know where you come from before you know where you're going,” says Tomas Stanton, a performance and movement student. “So to be able to learn the history, to be able to pass this history on to the next generation, especially in today’s climate where something like hip-hop has a very negative perception from a lot of people who don’t really truly understand it — developing that on an academic level, I think, is super important to preserving the culture, to moving it forward, and to making it more inclusive to everybody.”

Communications Program Coordinator, ASU Art Museum


ASU News

ASU's 'Hieroglyph' earns Futurist award

August 7, 2015

A collection of inspiring visions of the future has earned ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination an honor in the present.

Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future,” an anthology of ambitious, technically-grounded science fiction visions of the near future curated by the center, has been honored with an award for Most Significant Futures Work by the Association of Professional Futurists. Hieroglyph Ed Finn, director of ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination and an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, edited “Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future.” Download Full Image

The award comes in the category honoring works that “illuminate the future through literary or artistic works.”

“It’s a milestone for us to see ‘Hieroglyph’ recognized not just by science fiction fans but also working futurists,” said Ed Finn, co-editor of the anthology. “Our ambition has always been to build a vibrant community dedicated to changing the world through big ideas and thoughtful optimism, and it’s tremendous to see our message reach professionals guiding strategic decision-making beyond the academy.”

“Hieroglyph,” published in 2014 by William Morrow/HarperCollins, features seventeen short stories, presenting a range of compelling possible futures based on real emerging science and technology. Top science fiction writers collaborated with scientists, engineers and other researchers in fields ranging from education and sustainability to structural engineering and space exploration to create plausible visions of the future that scientists and engineers could actually begin working on today.

The anthology features stories about a 20 kilometer steel tower that stretches into the stratosphere, a swarm of 3-D printer robots building structures on the Moon, a sustainable solar city that works like an enormous algae cell and other indelible icons of a better future.

Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English, edited the book with Kathryn Cramer, an accomplished author, critic and anthologist.

Established in 2007, the Most Significant Futures Work awards honor works that advance the work of foresight and futures studies, contribute to the understanding of the future of a significant area of human endeavor or of the natural world, or present new images of the future through visual arts, films, poetry or fiction.

“Hieroglyph” shares the 2015 award for artistic and literary works with “Byologic/Zed.TO,” a real-time narrative about a viral pandemic outbreak in Toronto that integrated interactive theatrical events with online content, and “The Museum of Future Government Services,” an exhibit featuring immersive, interactive experiences of the future launched at the United Arab Emirates Government Summit 2014 in Dubai. Other nominees in the “literary and artistic works” category included Christopher Nolan’s 2014 film “Interstellar” and Stephen Baxter’s science fiction novel “Proxima.”

Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination


ASU News

Exhibit takes visitors back to ASU Art Museum's founding

August 5, 2015

The year is 1950, and tucked away among the stacks of books in Arizona State College’s Matthews Library hangs a small collection of American art.

There’s a painted still life of fruit and pottery cast against a crimson background. A moonlit, tree-filled shore glows with the simple, but profound, warmth of twilight. And a man sits in a harvested field while shucking corn in a scene courtesy of noted American landscape painter Winslow Homer. gallery wall "Founding" exhibit ASU Art Museum The "Found(ing) Story: The Oliver B. James Collection" exhibit goes back in time to tell the story of how the ASU Art Museum was founded 65 years ago. Download Full Image

These are among the first 16 paintings of what would eventually become the ASU Art Museum, which now holds a collection of more than 12,000 objects.

But 65 years ago – before Arizona State University was even a university – it all started with a small anonymous gift by a donor who wanted to provide students, faculty, schoolchildren and the general public with the opportunity to view original works of art.

That generous donor was Phoenix attorney Oliver B. James, and over the next five years he gave close to 150 works of primarily American art to the school.

The ASU Art Museum’s latest exhibition, “Found(ing) Story: The Oliver B. James Collection,” showcases its formative time and puts a spotlight on this humble origin story.

It begins with James, an avid art collector who wanted to represent the growing prominence of American art. He was passionate about his collection and worked closely with the head librarian and curator at Matthews Library on the placement of the pieces.

“We have delightful letters to the curator, Paula Kloster, and the head of the library, with suggestions on placing the works for powerful comparisons and to build the narrative of the history of American art,” said Heather Lineberry, associate director of the ASU Art Museum. “James’ passion for collecting, his own curiosity and study of art and artists and his excitement to be sharing it with the students and public comes through loud and clear.”

When the books in Matthews Library were moved to the new Hayden Library in 1965, James’ art collection remained and the building was renamed the Matthews Center. Eventually, the museum grew to 10,000 square feet, ­and in 1989 the collection moved to its current venue at Nelson Fine Arts Center. Select pieces remained on permanent display up until four years ago.

Now visitors to the museum have a chance to view much of James’ art again, but with a fresh perspective – as new research has emerged on the collection.  It joins a series of exhibitions the museum has presented over the past few years, which examine its collections and exhibition history.

“‘Found(ing) Story: The Oliver B. James Collection’ looks at the beginnings of the museum’s collecting and exhibition history and its early mission, which is essentially the same today – a meeting point for the exchange of new ideas, perspectives and experiences among artists, students and the public through our exhibitions, residencies, collections and programs,” Lineberry said.

Aside from those first 16 pieces, which are arranged in chronological order, the exhibition includes work from prominent American artists, such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Edward Hopper.

“Many of our visitors remember particular paintings from past visits, or from when they were a student at ASU, and they have deep personal attachments,” Lineberry said. “It’s like visiting an old friend with powerful memories and associations.”

And though most of the pieces, which date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries, lend a more traditional feel to a museum that has become known for its contemporary art, Lineberry points out that when James first donated the art, many pieces – such as one of O’Keeffe’s first skull paintings – were contemporary for the time.

“The museum has always had a focus on the art of our own time. When James was collecting … many of these works, they were contemporary and radical in their style and subject matter,” Lineberry said. “Our historic collections provide context and the opportunity to build powerful narratives that are relevant today.”

“Found(ing) Story: The Oliver B. James Collection” is on view in the Art Musuem’s Americas Gallery through Nov. 14. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Lisa Robbins

editor/publisher, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


ASU In the News

Margaret Atwood, ASU collaborators explore climate futures

What might a world without oil look like? How will human societies cope with massive changes in the Earth's climate? How will we adapt to survive the future? And how can storytelling and art — alongside science and technology — help us confront the challenge of climate change?

These questions motivate a series of essays, stories and imaginative speculations on climate futures published by the digital magazine Matter.

The series features an expansive, inspiring essay by novelist, critic and activist Margaret Atwood, alongside short "climate fiction" stories from speculative fiction authors Paolo Bacigalupi, Charlie Jane Anders, and Bruce Sterling, and essays from Choire Sicha, co-founder of The Awl, Ed Finn, director of ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination, and others.

Several of the authors featured in the collection have deep connections or ongoing collaborations with ASU. Atwood was the inaugural lecturer for the Imagination and Climate Futures Initiative, which explores how imagination merged with science can shape our response to climate change and create solutions to climate challenges. Bacigalupi will deliver the second annual Imagination and Climate Futures lecture on Sept. 17. Anders and Sterling are contributors to Project Hieroglyph, which teams up science fiction authors with scientists, engineers and other experts to create ambitious, hopeful, technically-grounded visions of the near future.

To read the full series, visit Matter.

Article Source: Matter
Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination


ASU News

Herberger Institute partners with music industry icon to advance cultural leadership education

July 10, 2015

Creative thinking at ASU has designed better wheelchairs for people with limited mobility.

It’s improved housing in refugee camps. ASU students demonstrate projects at the Spring 2015 Digital Culture Showcase. ASU students demonstrate their work at the Spring 2015 Digital Culture Showcase in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Photo by: Sean Deckert Download Full Image

And it has used digital art to create educational games that teach advanced concepts to college students.

Now the faculty and students at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will have more opportunities to consider the way creativity solves social challenges as the institute is launching the Curb Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership Program to train cultural strategists, disruptors and catalysts.

The program, one of the first of its kind, is a collaboration between the institute and the Mike Curb Family Foundation.

Faculty are currently shaping the program’s curriculum, which will initially be offered in fall 2016. It will include institute-wide courses examining the intersection of business, government and leadership in the creative and cultural industries. In addition, it will engage national leaders who demonstrate the power of bringing together art and leadership for cultural, social and economic progress.

“Unlike most existing programs, we aren’t just trying to prepare students for existing jobs,” said Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute. “We’re giving people tools to innovate and amplify the power of art and design in society.”

ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership is a partner in the new program, providing opportunities for Herberger Institute faculty and students to connect art, design and creativity to global issues around security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity. Herberger Institute faculty, for example, have recently worked with a cohort of The McCain Institute’s Next Generation Leaders to use “design thinking” to inform their policy work in their home countries.

“Entrepreneurship and creativity are in ASU’s DNA,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “ASU is proud to partner with the Mike Curb Family Foundation, whose gift makes it possible to launch this innovative program and help our students develop the tools they need to thrive in a rapidly changing economic and professional landscape.”

The program draws inspiration from Mike Curb’s life. A Nashville-based songwriter, musician and producer, Curb is also the founder of the oldest record company in the nation still operated by its founder, with more than 300 number-one charting records. He is also a political leader, public servant and philanthropist, having served as acting governor and lieutenant governor of California.

“Mike sees the critical connection between culture and leadership, and he understands how arts and culture create public value,” says Tepper. “He has used his creative talents as a musician, producer and businessman to advance ideas in education, cultural preservation and social and cultural equality.”

Tepper added, “Now, as cultural leaders search for new models to strengthen the arts and connect to new partners, the Curb program will give students the tools to come up with the organizations, enterprises and policies that will shape culture for the next 100 years.”

The Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership is expected to launch fall 2016.

For more information, contact Linda Essig, Herberger Institute director of enterprise and entrepreneurship programs and Evelyn Smith Professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.

Deborah Sussman Susser

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


ASU In the News

New commissioned artwork at ASU Art Museum receives national acclaim

This summer, ASU Art Museum is presenting a new commissioned work by Mexico City-based artist Yoshua Okón, in an exhibition titled "Oracle" at the museum’s 10th Street and Mill Avenue location on ASU’s Tempe campus. Okón’s multi-channel video installation centers on anti-immigration protests against unaccompanied children who are fleeing violence and poverty from Central America into the United States.

Produced during Okón’s residency at the ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program, "Oracle" was inspired by Okón’s experiences in Oracle, Arizona. In a recent conversation with Artforum, a premier international monthly magazine specializing in contemporary art, Okón describes his time in the desert: Yoshua Okón, "Oracle," 2015. Still from video. Image courtesy of the artist.
Download Full Image

“Oracle is a very small town. It wasn’t long before I was able to interview the leaders of the protest. I presented myself as an artist who uses video and told them that my goal was to put their issue on the table and then let people make up their own minds.”

The project also stresses the importance of art in understanding beliefs and points of view that may be different from our own. “The portrayal I am constructing gives a wider perspective and is more nuanced than the mainstream media,” said Okón.

“Yoshua has been in residency with the museum since October 2014 working on this project. This type of work takes months of research, planning and editing,” said curator Julio César Morales. “The ASU Art Museum International Artist Residency Program allows artists to create these types of deeply meaningful projects. Okón’s residency with the museum and the resulting exhibition is an excellent example of how we are working with artists that allow the ASU Art Museum to have a national and international presence and strengthen the importance of socially-based art projects.”

See Yoshua Okón: Oracle at the ASU Art Museum through Aug. 22, 2015.

Article Source: Artforum
Juno Schaser

Event coordinator, Biodesign Institute


ASU News

Unique, immersive theater experience inspires new audience perspective

July 6, 2015

Phil Weaver-Stoesz has been spending some of his summer writing about one of the more unexpected moments of his life.

It happened this past spring when the MFA candidate in Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts was directing, and performing in, “[De/As]cending,” an immersive theater project presented at the ASU Art Museum. [DE/AS]cending "[DE/AS]cending" was an evening of theatrical experiments created by ASU MFA theater companies Front Slash and Hoopla that reimagined the ASU Art Museum as a bunker protecting a precious resource: water. Download Full Image

More than just a show presented off the stage, “[De/As]cending” was a unique project born of a communal creative approach without hierarchy – everyone involved had equal say on the story’s path and presentation, including the audience.

Because of the motif, the show about an oppressive regime in a bunker was going to be a unique experience. But even with that understanding, Weaver-Stoesz was surprised what happened one night in the museum.

“We had created this thing ... but somewhere along the line some audience members felt as thought they didn’t want to just watch. They wanted to change the outcome of what they were seeing,” Weaver-Stoesz said.

As Weaver-Steosz wrote on the website Howlround, “At one point in the show, I am to drug and capture a scientist who the audience has come to love. … I step towards her when, all of a sudden, my arm is grabbed by an audience member who shouts, ‘We won’t let you take her!’ ”

He was startled, but shook off the audience member and continued onward to a sacrificial altar where two cast mates were lying next to an audience member.

Again, not part of the plan.

The performance continued on point. But the experience lingered in Weaver-Stoesz, prompting reflections on the idea of audiences – are they there just to observe, or to also participate in the creative process?

[DE/AS]cending: An Evening of Theatrical Experiments from ASU School of Film, Dance & Theatre on Vimeo.

His story and reflections have proven popular enough on Howlround that the site for experimental theater has hired Weaver-Stoesz to write a bimonthly series about soft skills in theater.

On top of that, Weaver-Stoesz will be directing “On Display” as part of ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre’s MainStage season this fall at the Lyceum Theatre and starting to organize plans for a workshop that would incorporate actors and scientists to design a spaceship that could hold 100,000 people and last for 150 years.

Through it all, he’ll carry a new perspective on the people who watch his productions.

“I am very intrigued by the prospect of letting the audience make choices.”