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ASU Art Museum curators merit Presidential Medal

Michael Crow presents award for social embeddedness

April 11, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. – ASU Art Museum curators Heather Lineberry and John Spiak received the 2007 ASU President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness for their work on the museum’s New American City: Artists Look Forward exhibition. The award was presented by President Michael Crow at the President's Recognition Reception on April 11, 2007.

The award recognizes ASU employees who have identified community needs and issues and then developed partnerships within the community to provide solutions. New American City: Artists Look Forward embodied President Crow’s imperative by exploring the role of artists and the art being produced in the rapidly changing Phoenix metro area. Artists are playing an active role in envisioning the Valley’s future, developing clusters of studios, co-ops and galleries and revitalizing neighborhoods in the process.

The exhibition featured 23 Maricopa County artists whose works explore media, processes and styles to comment on the Valley and its growth. In addition, numerous lectures and workshops were held in conjunction with the exhibition as public forums, bringing awareness to issues associated with the Valley’s rapid growth.

“The achievement of Heather Lineberry and John Spiak in conceptualizing and realizing New American City has made it clear that the ASU Art Museum is committed to community engagement and dialogue about real-life issues that impact us all,” said Marilyn Zeitlin, ASU Art Museum director. “They have linked the museum to new partners on campus and across the Valley. I am proud of their achievement and thrilled that their work is being recognized through this important award.”

ASU team members who helped make the project a success also include: Sherry Ahrentzen and Ernesto Fonseca of The Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family; Daniel Britton, Daniel Collins, and Betsy Schneider, School of Art; Nan Ellin, School of Public Affairs; Mary Fitzgerald and Jennifer Tsukayama, Department of Dance; Patricia Gober, School of Geographical Sciences; Renata Hejduk, Nancy Levinson, Sara Loughman, Sherrie Medina, and Wellington Reiter, College of Design; and Brenda Shears, Global Institute for Sustainablility.

The ASU Art Museum emphasizes contemporary art and society. Lineberry is senior curator at the museum, joining its staff in 1990. Her responsibilities include curating exhibitions and researching, maintaining and expanding the museum’s collections. Spiak joined the ASU Art Museum in 1994. His curatorial work focuses on video and new media by emerging artists. Social embeddedness at ASU is an interactive, mutually beneficial university partnership with the communities of Arizona. Only programs or projects that have been implemented since Aug. 1, 2002, and have demonstrated positive results were considered for the award.

The ASU Art Museum, named “the single most impressive venue for contemporary art in Arizona” by Art in America, is part of the Herberger College of 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 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. on Tuesdays (during the academic year), and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. To learn more about the museum, call 480.965.2787 or visit

Media Contact:

Laura Toussaint