ASU Gammage receives grant to study audience growth

April 15, 2015

ASU Gammage has been selected to take part in research aimed at discovering ways to engage new audiences for contemporary arts performances, such as modern dance, immersive theater and spoken word.

It’s part of a $52 million initiative by the Wallace Foundation, a national philanthropy dedicated to making the arts accessible to everyone. Dancer and choreographer Camille A. Brown Dancer and choreographer Camille A. Brown will perform at ASU Gammage next year as part of the grant from the Wallace Foundation. Photo by: Matt Karas Download Full Image

Twenty-six arts organizations ranging from the New York Philharmonic to the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater troupe to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra were chosen out of hundreds of candidates to receive funding from the Wallace grant.

ASU was one of only three universities selected to explore ways of building sustainable audiences, aimed at developing practical insights into how arts organizations can successfully expand their audiences.

“We are very honored to be selected by the Wallace Foundation for this incredible opportunity to continue, as well as expand, our work fostering cultural sustainability,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director for ASU Gammage and assistant vice president for cultural affairs at the university. “The opportunity to join these 25 other incredible institutions to innovate new solutions to provide access to the arts to wider and more diverse audiences is a task for which ASU is ready.”

As part of the first cycle of work, ASU Gammage will conduct research to identify potential audiences for contemporary arts performances and then establish programs to support the growth of these audiences with additional funding from the Wallace Foundation.

The funding for the first part of this research will be $60,000, from which ASU Gammage will develop a new audience-building program, study the results and then use the findings to implement new programs.

The evidence gathered from the work of ASU and the other institutions will be documented and analyzed by an independent team of researchers, providing valuable insights, ideas and information for the entire field.

“We are confident that the 26 organizations selected from a pool of more than 300 identified by leaders in the arts nationwide will provide new insights that will benefit the field at large, helping to bring the arts to a broader and more diverse group of people,” said Will Miller, the president of the Wallace Foundation.

Cal Performances at UC Berkeley and the University of Michigan’s Musical Society are the other two institutions of higher education that were honored with the Wallace Foundation grant.

Large Mars crater named for late ASU professor Ronald Greeley

April 16, 2015

Throughout his career Ronald Greeley was passionate about exploring Mars, so it’s fitting that the late Arizona State University professor’s name will grace maps of the Red Planet.

A large, ancient crater – nearly as wide as Arizona – now carries the name of Greeley Crater, in honor of the Mars science pioneer and longtime professor of planetary science. Greeley Crater's location on Mars Download Full Image

Greeley was involved in almost every major solar system robotic mission flown since the late 1960s and advanced the study of planetary science at ASU.

The crater, which spans 284 miles, lies in Noachis Terra, the geologically oldest terrain on Mars. Although the crater's exact age is not known, the smaller impact craters superimposed on it plus its preservation state all suggest an age of at least 3.8 billion years.

It is centered just east of Mars' "Greenwich meridian" and is 37 degrees south of its equator.

Kenneth Tanaka, a planetary geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff and longtime colleague of Greeley, proposed the name, noting that it was the oldest, relatively well-preserved impact crater on Mars that remained still unnamed.

Tanaka will announce the crater’s naming in his keynote talk at the 24th annual Arizona/NASA Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 17 in Tempe, Arizona.  

The International Astronomical Union, the world's authority for feature names on extraterrestrial bodies, formally approved the name on April 11. The union's rules require that a person must be deceased for at least three years before any commemoration can be made; Greeley died in October 2011.

Planetary science pioneer

During his career, Greeley was involved in almost every major solar system robotic mission flown since the late 1960s. These include the Magellan mission to Venus, Galileo mission to Jupiter, Voyager 2 mission to Uranus and Neptune, and shuttle imaging radar studies of Earth.

Passionate about exploring Mars, he contributed to numerous Red Planet missions, including Mariners 6, 7 and 9; Viking; Mars Pathfinder; Mars Global Surveyor; and the Mars Exploration Rovers. He was a co-investigator for the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Mars Express mission.

Joining the ASU faculty in 1977, Greeley was a pioneer in planetary science experiments. For example, he created a vertical gun to study impact cratering processes. Another instance was the use of wind tunnels to study the behavior of wind-blown sand particles and dunes, which are important features on the surfaces of Earth, Mars, Venus, and Saturn's largest moon Titan.

To study sand movement on Venus, where the atmosphere is nearly 100 times denser than on Earth, he built a special high-pressure wind tunnel. This same tunnel was recently reconfigured for Titan's surface conditions, and researchers discovered that to move Titan's sands, winds have to be much stronger than scientists had thought.

At the time of his death, Greeley was Regents' Professor of planetary geology in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, an interdisciplinary school combining science and engineering studies. Greeley had a key role in creating it and he served as interim director at its inception.

The School of Earth and Space Exploration is a unit of ASU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Robert Burnham

Science writer, School of Earth and Space Exploration