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ASU shows high school students how they can stay connected to the arts

Herberger Institute Day showcases majors, electives in music, art, dance, theater


Lineup of students playing snare drums outside

Cullen Beckley (second from right), a freshman student at Chandler High School, plays a Brazilian snare drum during Herberger Institute Day on Feb. 21 on the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

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February 22, 2024

Nearly 200 high school students immersed themselves in the arts during Herberger Institute Day on Arizona State University's the Tempe campus on Wednesday.

The annual day of workshops and performances by students and faculty in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts was open to the entire ASU community this year, and three local high schools sent students to get a glimpse of what arts in college can be like.

All the high school students attended the block party, had lunch and toured the campus. Students from ASU Prep and Chief Hill Learning Academy in Chandler had workshops and visited the many drop-in activities.

About 120 students from Chandler High School got to choose an interest track — music, dance, theater or art — and attended several workshops based on those interests. They sat in on an ASU Wind Ensemble rehearsal, attended a session on how to navigate the music business, learned about floral arranging, saw behind the scenes of the Nelson Fine Arts Center, experienced Brazilian Samba Drumming and visited the ASU Art Museum.

Older woman helps young student with watercolor activity
ASU School of Art Professor Ellen Murray Meissinger guides students as they learn to paint watercolors as part of Herberger Institute Day on Feb. 21 on the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

“I think it's important for these kids to attend field trips like these because it helps them understand what's next for them,” said Sarah Bowerman, assistant band director at Chandler High School, who was the lead teacher for the trip.

“A lot of my kids were saying things like ‘I could see myself going here’ or ‘I wish we had done this sooner — I'm so much more excited for college now!’”

Bowerman said the students especially liked observing the ASU Wind Ensemble.

“I think they appreciated being up close and personal with such an advanced group of musicians, and feeling the power behind the music they were playing,” she said.

Herberger Institute Day started in 2017 to bring together students, faculty and staff from the unit for a day of workshops, performances and a community meal. This year, the day was open to everyone so they could see the vast array of creative endeavors available, according to Daniele Pivonka, program coordinator for Herberger Institute Day.

“People might have been in arts in high school and when it comes time to pick a major that has nothing to do with arts, it doesn’t mean they have to give up the arts. They can take electives,” she said.

Students flipping through fashion magazines and art
Quiarrion Moore, a 16-year-old junior at Chandler High School, participates in the Fashion Fusion activity during Herberger Institute Day. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

There were several dozen drop-in activities and workshops around the Tempe campus, including: “A Beginner's Guide to the Piano,” “Build ASU ... in Minecraft,” “Discovering Argentine Tango,” “Indian Folk Dance in Bollywood Movies,” “Networking for Creative Professionals” and “Singing Songs of Solidarity and Protest.”

The decision to include high school students in Herberger Institute Day started with a collaboration between Melita Belgrave, associate dean for culture and access at the Herberger Institute, and Christina Ngo, executive director for social embeddedness at ASU. They wanted to invite students to experience the arts at ASU and worked with the city of Chandler and the Chandler Unified School District to use grant moneyThe field trip was coordinated with Adrianna Tušek Erickson, the diversity, equity and inclusion coordinator for the city of Chandler; Adama Sallu, director of equity and inclusion for the Chandler Unified School District; and Angela Storey, the fine arts coordinator of the Chandler Unified School District. to fund the transportation.

“They decided to bring freshmen through seniors,” said Belgrave, who also is an associate professor of music therapy in the Herberger Institute.

“The partnership blossomed from there, and we were excited to introduce high school students to the Herberger Institute, and all of the design and arts majors, minors and experiences that they can explore at ASU.”

Pivonka, who was previously a middle school teacher, organized the high schoolers’ visit to remove as much work from the teachers as possible.

“I know how hard it is for teachers to do things outside of the normal school day because there’s no time. I’m happy to offer that extra support,” she said.

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