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Grants awarded to ASU Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center

January 26, 2009

The ASU Art Museum and its Ceramics Research Center (CRC) in the ASU Herberger College of the Arts.

The ASU Art Museum, and specifically, its Ceramics Research Center (CRC), was awarded significant grants of more than $130,000 in November 2008. One of the grants is to be used for the organization of an artist-retrospective exhibition. Peter Held, curator of ceramics at the CRC, plans to organize the exhibition and publish a book about world-renowned contemporary ceramist Karen Karnes. This grant, provided by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is significant as it provides comprehensive support for the project, a rarity in the field of contemporary crafts.

“The ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center will be recognizing Karen Karnes’ extraordinary life’s work in the ceramic arts,” Held says. “The upcoming exhibition and publication will highlight her earlier salt-glazed ceramics and later wood-fired vessels. Karnes has been a major influence on contemporary ceramic artists; her creative vision spans more than 50 years of artistic excellence.”

The exhibition, A Chosen Path: The Ceramic Art of Karen Karnes,, surveys Karnes’s work from the 1950s to the present, offering a full view of her stylistic development. The exhibition launches at the CRC in September 2010 and then begins a 2-year national tour. Mark Shapiro, a Massachusetts-based ceramic artist and writer, is the editor for the planned color publication, which is slated to include essays by scholars and writers Edward Lebow, Janet Koplos and Chris Benfey. The $45 book is available beginning September 2010 on the museum’s Web site:

Karnes has earned numerous awards for her talents including a gold medal from the American Craft Council, two National Endowment for the Arts Visual Artist Fellowships and a Tiffany Fellowship. A film documenting her life, Don’t Know, We’ll See: The Work of Karen Karnes, was released in 2008. The artist’s work is included in numerous national and international museum collections.

Additionally, the second $30,000 grant funds two ASU Art Museum paid internships for the next two academic years. These curatorial internships have been a vital part of the museum's educational mission for the past six years and they continue to be some of the only paid museum internships in the region. The internships provide valuable practical experience to selected ASU students who are majoring in art history, museum studies, art education or studio-based majors in the ASU Herberger College School of Art.

“Being able to work inside the museum with curators, registrars and other staff has given me a better understanding of what these positions entail and what to expect for my own career,” says Crystal Burnett, current intern. “I’m also very appreciative that this is a paid internship; they’re rare in Phoenix and every bit helps when you’re in school. This is a special opportunity for me.”

Working closely with a museum curator, the interns gain practical, professional-level experience that is not available within a classroom setting. The interns specifically focus each year on the ASU Art Museum’s Family Fun Day and its summer family exhibition, assisting the museum in reaching the local community while achieving its educational aspirations. Previous Windgate-funded interns have been employed in museums following graduation including the ASU Art Museum.

These grants from the Windgate Charitable Foundation are an example of the benefits a research university like ASU brings to the state. Each year, Arizona universities pump almost $1 billion into the Arizona economy through grants funded by the U.S. government and other entities. Research funding is legally restricted and cannot be used for instructional purposes.

The ASU Art Museum and its Ceramics Research Center are located at 10th Street and Mill Avenue in Tempe, Ariz.

of Karen Karnes, launches in September 2010. The accompanying $45 book also is available for order beginning September 2010 on the museum’s Web site,

Admission is free to the ASU Art Museum and its Ceramics Research Center.

Public Contact
Diane Wallace
ASU Art Museum

The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America, is part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. The museum is located on the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and 10th Street in Tempe and admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. To learn more about the museum, call 480.965.2787 or

Media Contact:
Diane Wallace
ASU Art Museum