ASU Art Museum announces first Windgate Curator of Contemporary Craft and Design Fellow

November 2, 2020

With a generous grant from the Windgate Foundation, the ASU Art Museum has established the Windgate Curator of Contemporary Craft and Design Fellowship and announced Sarah Kelly as the first fellow. 

Kelly, who has a strong foundation in both material knowledge and critical theory-based research and writing on contemporary craft, said the ASU Art Museum and its Ceramics Research Center served as a “reliable and inspiring resource" for her own research and curatorial work.  Sarah Kelly, ASU Art Museum Windgate Curator of Contemporary Craft and Design Fellow Sarah Kelly, ASU Art Museum Windgate Curator of Contemporary Craft and Design Fellow. Download Full Image

“Early one morning, I scanned the Arizona State University Art Museum’s craft holdings visible online. And I thought for a moment, ‘How great would it be to work with such a renowned collection in ceramics?’”

Kelly has a Master of Arts in critical craft studies from Warren Wilson College and previously worked as a curatorial fellow for Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina. She co-directs Southbound Craft Fair and ran a small craft-focused gallery. She began her career as a maker with an undergraduate degree in painting, a decade of making ceramics, two years working with a metal sculptor and workshops in paper-making and textiles. 

This new curatorial fellowship combines mentorship opportunities and work experience with the goal of cultivating and advancing the careers of a new generation of curators focused on contemporary craft and design. During this 18-month fellowship, the curator will explore best practices in collection stewardship, exhibition planning and research, public programs, inclusion and equity. Kelly will work closely with the ASU Art Museum staff and curatorial team, including mentorships with curator emeritus Heather Sealy Lineberry, staff curators and museum professionals beyond ASU. The fellowship includes funding for professional development and an ASU Art Museum exhibition focused primarily on the collection.

The fellowship is generously supported by the Windgate Foundation, which has a sustained history of supporting contemporary craft artists and seeding innovative projects that will ensure future growth of the field. For more than 20 years, the ASU Art Museum has partnered with the Windgate Foundation, receiving generous support for exhibitions, programs, residencies, internships, publications and collections serving students, artists and audiences both local and national.

“As the ASU Art Museum looks toward building a more relevant and inclusive museum, we are excited to be able to foster the voices of a next generation of curators and museum professionals,” said Miki Garcia, director of the ASU Art Museum. “Our Contemporary Craft and Design Fellow will greatly add fresh perspectives and expertise to our collections, exhibitions and educational programs that will usher in renewed interest in our museum from a broader array of audiences.”  

The ASU Art Museum continues to affirm the role of contemporary art and craft as central to our understanding of the world and the ability to envision the future. The museum has innovated throughout its history by presenting craft within the context of contemporary art, commissioning artists through residencies, and utilizing open storage to allow access to collections. Today, the museum is dedicated more than ever to becoming a new model for a more responsive museum that deepens the way all people experience and value contemporary art and craft.

ASU psychology undergraduate bridges the gap between fitness, mental health

November 2, 2020

For Melissa Holman, an ASU Online psychology undergraduate and personal trainer from New York, wellness isn’t just a physical thing, but a mental practice as well. 

Exercise has been shown to be an excellent stress reliever, and according to the American Psychological Association, 53% of adults says they feel good about themselves after exercise, 35% say it puts them in a good mood and 30% feel less stressed after exercise. Melissa Holman Melissa Holman Download Full Image

In fact, exercise and movement have been shown to release endorphins, the pleasure neurotransmitters that make people feel better, and exercise can help reduce cortisol, or stress hormones, in the body. This combined with strengthening the body can help boost your mood and serves as an effective coping mechanism for stress. 

For Holman, this is a natural connection that she experiences every day as a personal trainer working with clients. She works with an average of 15 to 20 clients a week, and many of them use fitness as a way to relieve stress in their lives.

“I have a lot of clients who use fitness as an outlet for depression, anxiety, and anger,” Holman said.

Her journey to psychology began long before however, when she graduated with a degree in design and worked as a graphic designer in New York. Long hours in a competitive industry helped her to realize that her passion was elsewhere. She wanted to do something that helped her friends and family more than design and decided that her calling really was mental health.

“I was interested in the medical field and loved helping people from a young age. I was a Girl Scout up until my senior year of high school and completed every badge dealing with first aid that I could find and always volunteered. During my first semester of college, I learned that I have a multitude of people in my family (including myself) affected by mental illnesses. Interacting with individuals in the mental health field showed me just how truly amazing the field of psychology can be and how beneficial it is,” Holman said. 

The struggle she experienced as a young designer straight out of school in a busy, chaotic city helped her to see that she needed to make a change and go back to school to pursue a career in mental health. She realized that the issues she experienced, like anxiety or stress, were things that almost everyone deals with and that she wanted to make a difference for people like her. 

“In the future, I would like to be a neuropsychologist. Honestly, I truly find all areas of research interesting, but if I had to narrow it down I would say that I am mostly interested in behavioral neuroscience, developmental psychology, and cognitive psychology.”

Outside the classroom and working, Holman loves to exercise and stay healthy. 

“The one upside to COVID-19 is that I bought a lot of exercise equipment so now I have a mini gym at my home to use whenever I want,” she said. “It is a great stress reliever and it helps keep me centered on my future goals.”