Workshops ranging from museum talks to design challenges to ghoulish makeup are followed by a community Meal on the Mall
Ever since Dean Steven J. Tepper arrived at ASU, he has been working on a way to bring the diverse students, faculty, staff and alumni of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts together. Given that ASU’s Herberger Institute is the largest comprehensive design and arts college in the nation, with five separate schools and an art museum, the task he set for himself was daunting.
On Oct. 12, together with the advice and support of design and arts faculty and staff, he made it happen.
The first ever Herberger Institute Day began with dozens of workshops offered by all all units — School of Art; School of Arts, Media and Engineering; The Design School; School of Film, Dance and Theatre; School of Music; and the ASU Art Museum. The workshops were open to Herberger Institute students, faculty, staff and alumni, who were encouraged to experiment with subjects outside their usual work and classes.
Video by Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts
The workshops ranged from Latin social dance in the Stauffer breezeway to “Sing like an opera singer in one easy lesson!” to a librarian-led workshop on “Art and Music: Creativity in Dark Times.” In between there was laughter yoga, the great cardboard chair challenge and a workshop on queer expressionsThe workshop description: "Camp, drag, disidentification, ambivalence, criminality, utopian and dystopian temporalities — queer artists use tactics like these to challenge normativity. Have you used similar strategies in your own work? This workshop invites artists from all of the schools in HIDA to bring examples of your own work or of artists you admire to share in a dialogue about queer expressions in dance, film, theater, music, art and technology, visual art and design." in dance, film, theater, music, art and technology, visual art and design.
In the “Musical Trash and Toy Circuits” workshop, participants dug through piles of random objects with guidance from Althea Pergakis, from the School of Arts, Media and Engineering, and then made music. It was, as promised in the description, “weird.”
Meanwhile, the museum conducted several workshops based on its popular Escape the Museum events and secret vault tours.
Third-year music education undergrad Katie Demassa, who had never been in the museum before Herberger Institute Day, said the event was “cool. I think I’ll go back (to the museum) now, because it was actually really fun.”
Amy Dicker, a third-year architecture undergrad who also experienced Escape the Museum, agreed.
“You joined little groups, so we got to meet new people,” she said.
Dicker said she hoped Herberger Institute Day would become an annual event, “just for the exposure to different things outside of your school.”
Digital culture undergrad Lisette Borja, who sported what looked like a nasty open wound on one of her forearms, took a behind-the-scenes tour of the costume shop and ghoulish makeup workshop. (The wound she explained, was from the workshop.)
“We got to play with cornstarch, we got to play with food dye … to make gooey bloody wounds and bruises.”
Her favorite part of the day, she said, was getting to spend time in the costume shop.
“I really really love costuming, but I’ve never done anything with it for my major,” shd said. “I liked just being in that area and seeing what the other students in that major were doing.”
It was a sentiment others seemed to share. As one group toured the costume shop, a student said aloud, “OK, this is cool. Why did I not know about this?”
Stephani Etheridge Woodson, faculty in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre and director of the Herberger Institute’s Design and Arts Corps, led more than 100 students in a “Find Your People” workshop: Participants were divided into teams, and each team had to complete two challenges as part of its quest. (Sample challenge: Find the COOR covered walkway. Ask someone how they are feeling today. Based on their response, create an indie rock band album cover photo. Photograph it and post it to Instagram.) For the third challenge, the teams had to locate the dean and complete an exercise with him. The final challenge involved individual team members each picking a balloon with a “conversation starter” on it and taking it out into the world so they could continue “finding their people” as they went throughout the day.
Tepper, who had a meeting with ASU President Michael Crow after the exercises with students, took a balloon along for the president. The question on the balloon read, “What makes you feel really alive?” President Crow’s answer: “Waking up in the morning.”
ASU students (from left) digital cultures major Terra Gift, theater design sophomore Paige Lockwood, theater production sophomore Alexa Marron and theater production and design major Gabriela Villalobos greet students entering the costume shop during the first Herberger Institute Day on Oct. 12 on the Tempe campus.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Costume design Professor Connie Furr helps students apply scar and bruise makeup in a costume and makeup workshop.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Graduate dance major Yayi Hu applies a hot-glue scar to her arm during the Herberger Institute Day makeup workshop.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Voice Associate Professor Carole FitzPatrick (right) leads students (from left) film junior Michael Oden, master's in tuba Rob Margolis, music education freshman Drew Johnson and dance education sophomore Melissa Tapia in singing "Caro Mio Ben" in a beginners workshop for opera singing Oct. 12.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Students learn to balance a pole as they utilize space within a room with Associate Professor Jeff McMahon in a workshop called "Acting the Room" during Herberger Institute Day.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Drawing professor Heidi Hogden adds to a speed mural hosted by Associate Professor Mark Pomilio during Herberger Institute Day.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Liberal studies sophomore Jonah Ivy spins business analytics and dance sophomore Kirsten Ronning (center) as a number of students take part in a Latin social dance in the Stauffer breezeway on Oct. 12.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Professor Max Underwood has students test their chair during the "Great Cardboard Chair Challenge," as part of his design course during Herberger Institute Day. The chairs must support a 200-pound person and be built completely from cardboard with no glue or fasteners.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Herberger Institute Dean Steven Tepper adds to the "speed mural" during the first Herberger Institute Day in Tempe on Oct. 12.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Herberger Institute students, staff and faculty gather for a meal together after the workshops.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Associate Professor of music therapy Melita Belgrave takes a turn "conducting" the School of Music's ensemble as the members play "Uptown Funk" during Herberger Institute Day festivities.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
Visual communications design graduate students Yi Zhao (center) and Wenjing Mu get plaster casts of their hands done at the sculpture table by Carlie Cedarleaf.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now
One of the challenges in the “Find Your People” workshop was to pick a balloon with a “conversation starter” on it and take it out into the world. Herberger Institute Dean Steven Tepper, who had a meeting with ASU President Michael Crow afterward the event, took a balloon along. The question on it read, “What makes you feel really alive?” Crow’s answer: “Waking up in the morning.”
During Herberger Institute Day, the dean did some sketching in a fashion class and dropped in on a choir singing a South African song. He spent time painting a “speed mural” with School of Art Associate Professor Mark Pomilio and dozens of other volunteer painters. Tepper took part in an “Open Air Mattress Talk,” where participants “used their bodies and minds to break down boundaries and have an open conversation about consent and sexual-violence prevention on campus.” He also briefly conducted a brass band.
When the workshops concluded, more than 400 people gathered for the Meal on the Mall. They sat at tables covered in bright paper and worked with specially trained graphic recorders to capture, in pictures, a record of what the day meant to them. They ate box lunches and were entertained by pop-up performances, including climate-change plays led by Micha Espinosa, faculty in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, and lively music from both a jazz ensemble and the brass band, which passers-by were free to conduct themselves.
The brass band, and watching people conduct it, was Gnyanesh Trivedi’s favorite part of the day. Trivedi is a mechanical engineering major doing his master’s degree at ASU, but he has taken introduction to acting at ASU.
“That’s why I’m here at Herberger (Institute) Day,” he said. “I was a part of the plays that they put up for climate change. I played a penguin, passing judgment on humans.”
“I love theater,” Trivedi continued. “I did a little bit of theater back in my home country, which is India. And I wanted to come here and explore what theater in the United States is like. And then being an engineer it gets really painful sometimes. The stress can be overpowering, but with my acting class I really get to explore another dimension of my personality.”
Trivedi echoed those who want to see the Herberger Institute Day become a regular tradition.
“It’s so much fun,” he said. “There’s happiness all around. I think this is something that brings joy to people. This is something that should be shared with as many people as possible on as large a scale as possible.”
So what are the chances of Herberger Institute Day happening again?
“It really depends on popular demand,” Tepper said as things drew to a close. “It was worth it, but it was a lot of work. Seeing everybody smiling and singing together and playing and creating and having a good time and realizing we’re this big creative family, or even this big creative city within ASU — it’s thrilling for me as dean. But I want to make sure everybody wants to do this again, and if they do we’re definitely all behind it.”
The bigger challenge, he said, is figuring out how to more forcefully integrate curriculum.
“We have to give our students more opportunity to explore across the Herberger Institute, we’ve got to develop more research and creative teams that are building out multidisciplinary projects together. We’ve got to build our Design and Arts Corps, which is going to bring students from different disciplines together to activate and engage with community partners.
“(Herberger Institute Day) is kind of a symbol of what’s possible. It’s a way to celebrate together. But we really have to put our shoulder to the wheel and figure out how we live every day in our curriculum and in the way we work and teach and interact and research, how we live that collaboratively and across all disciplines and schools. So we have a lot more work to do. But I think this is a great first step.”
Top photo: Liberal studies sophomore Jonah Ivy (center) enjoys the Latin dance workshop with fellow Herberger Institute students Oct. 12 on the Tempe campus. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now