The Design School remembers alum, faculty associate Shon Quannie

February 9, 2021

Shon Quannie, an influential leader in the design community throughout the Southwest thanks to his practice, teaching and advocacy, died Dec. 30, 2020.

Quannie was an alumnus from The Design School at Arizona State University, earning his BSD in industrial design in 1997, and taught as a faculty associate in the school. Download Full Image

“This is a tremendous loss, and we wish to honor his legacy as a faculty associate, alumnus and tireless advocate of the school as well as the design community at large,” wrote Joseph ‘Pepe’ Velasquez, head of the industrial design program, in a letter to The Design School community.

Quannie's advocacy was informed by his heritage, and he often lent his creative talents and entrepreneurial spirit to causes that honored his Indigenous (Acoma Pueblo/Hopi) and Mexican roots, Velasquez said.

Quannie served as a creative partner for the IndigeDesign Collaborative, board member and executive director of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, and an executive board committee member of the Hopi Education Endowment Fund.  

As a student, Velasquez wrote, Quannie mastered the art of self-reliance and never wavered from confronting the challenges of tertiary education. He was a member of Omega Delta Phi Fraternity, where he previously served as president of the Epsilon Chapter; an active member of the ASU Alumni Association; and a regular attendee at Sun Devil football games.

He left his mark on the wider design community via 4X Studio, the practice he founded and operated for more than 20 years. It is in this specific role as a practitioner of record that he brought his expertise back to ASU as the instructor for the professional practice course.

“In a year that will be remembered for the challenges we have all endured, we are confident in expressing that within The Design School, Shon's impact, influence and enthusiasm will be at the very top of that list of things to cherish and remember,” Velasquez wrote.

Couple to share love of theater, teaching in upcoming ASU Gammage digital master classes

February 9, 2021

Taylor and Tony Moschetti know how difficult the past year has been for everyone – including children.

Younger children “haven't necessarily fully understood their emotions yet,” Taylor said.
Headshots of Taylor and Tony Moschetti. Taylor Moschetti (left) and Tony Moschetti are teaching an upcoming series of digital master classes at ASU Gammage. Download Full Image

That was the inspiration for the couple’s upcoming series of digital master classes, which focus on processing emotions, specifically targeted at primary school children.

"That's OK if you're feeling an emotion, but you also have to be able to self-regulate,” Taylor said. “So, it kind of teaches that we're in a really stressful time, so it’s an important tool to have.”

A mutual love of theater brought Taylor and Tony together in college. Since then, it is what has kept them passionate about the arts and sharing theater with their students in their latest roles as teachers.

Taylor, a Lake Havasu City, Arizona, native, met Tony, who grew up in Sierra Vista, Arizona, while they were both studying theater at Northern Arizona University. After graduating, they got married and began a new journey as educators. The couple eventually founded their own theater company, Laughing Pig Theatre, in Mesa in 2017.

“Being in the East Valley, in particular, we really felt like we weren't surrounded by the type of theater that we enjoyed,” Tony said. “And we felt like there were probably other artists like us in the East Valley who felt like they weren't getting opportunities to do the things that they wanted because a lot of the East Valley theaters do more traditional theater pieces, a lot of a youth theater, so, because we were in that area, I think it kind of was like a reaction to just give people a performance space that was a little bit different than the ones around us and get a little bit more of that downtown Phoenix vibe.”

Laughing Pig Theatre focuses on new works with “some type of viewpoint that is marginalized in a way,” Taylor said.

“They are stories that are really focused on the characters and their journey,” Taylor said. “And hopefully, like a big platform for us is building empathy in our community ... and like, what that means. So, doing shows that make people think about different circumstances in a different way.”

One day, Taylor saw a flyer for the Molly Blank Fund Teaching Artists Program (TAP) at ASU Gammage. After reading about the TAP program, Taylor and Tony both joined, spending a year learning the Kennedy Center arts integration method.

“I think the program really excited us, well, it excited me at least, because it took theater and made it even more important from a person’s standpoint that doesn't necessarily understand art or have a passion for art to the level that artists do,” Taylor said. “Like sometimes you need to get that buy-in from people that are just like, oh, yeah, STEM is important. But it's like, OK, yeah, STEM is important, but so is art, like, it's super important.”

Now, with theater and arts education both disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Taylor and Tony are utilizing the skills they learned through the TAP program to bring a new series of digital master classes to ASU Gammage.

“I think that we're so grateful for the program to exist at all,” Tony said. “Especially when so much art education has been affected negatively recently, the fact that they're kind of taking this opportunity to still give people a chance to learn something that they might not in a classroom."

With two of the three digital master classes in the series coming up in March, Tony said that the most important part of the classes is having “an opportunity to let kids play.”

“It's an opportunity to just kind of let them be kids in a way,” Tony said. “They can have fun. They can do that without putting themselves at any kind of risk. So, it's just important to find more ways to let your kid have fun.”

Get more information about the upcoming digital master classes.

Marketing Assistant, ASU Gammage