Skip to main content

Riva Award to recognize student excellence in artistic expression

May 02, 2013

Neal A. Lester, director of Project Humanities and associate vice president for humanities and arts in the Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development at Arizona State University, recently announced The Riva Award as a new part of Project Humanities’ commitment to recognizing student excellence in artistic expression.

Named in honor of Riva Yares - a highly successful art gallery owner, businesswoman, film producer and author - the award will be presented annually beginning in the spring of 2014.

The new award was announced April 24, during “An Evening with Riva,” an event at ASU where the film Yares produced – "Jolene" – was screened, followed by a discussion about the movie and her memoir, "Sleeping with Dogs." The event, which also featured Yares sharing stories from her past and showcased her thirteen-year old grandchildren’s band – TripleFirrre, was part of Project Humanities’ ongoing endeavor to bring people together to talk, listen and connect.

The Riva Award will recognize annually at least one ASU student for bold artistic expression which advances the spirit of Project Humanities – getting folks to see their shared experiences in making sense of the world. The award, according to Lester, will celebrate talent and accomplishment and serve as a motivator for continued artistic and humanist exploration and development.

Naming the award after Yares, Lester said, made perfect sense as he calls her a true and passionate embodiment of the arts, humanities and the larger mission of Project Humanities. “Riva Yares is a woman who lives her life boldly, full of color, and is devoted to the humanities,” he said.

“Project Humanities has chosen to support students and their passion for artistic expression by awarding the Riva Award to a student who exemplifies a passion, like Riva, for the arts and humanities,” explained Lester.

Lester said it is rare to have the opportunity to encounter such an artistic soul as Yares. He said he’s fortunate to have had the honor to get to know her and now future students, with a passion for the arts and humanities, will have it as well.

Lester has asked Yares to present the inaugural award next Spring which will consist of a statuette and monetary award.