ASU student engages community in creation of sustainability mural

December 22, 2014

If there’s one overarching lesson that children’s books have taught us, it’s that otherwise complex concepts can be simplified through a picture or two. This is the premise of Adapt & Sustain, a participatory mural project by fall Arizona State University graduate Angela Cazel-Jahn.

As a student in the Master’s in Sustainable Solutions program offered by ASU’s School of Sustainability, Cazel-Jahn specialized in communication. Her focus centered on removing barriers to sustainable solutions by improving the public’s understanding of sustainability itself. girl in blue shirt paints yellow octopus Download Full Image

“Many key terms in the sustainability field have multiple definitions and interpretations,” says Cazel-Jahn. “The complexity of sustainability issues sometimes prevents people from even trying to talk about them, let alone solve them.”

Cazel-Jahn set out to simplify sustainability concepts and stimulate conversation about them through her applied project – the program’s real-world equivalent of a thesis. Guided by her background in studio art, she outlined a plan for a visually and mentally engaging mural created by the community.

“There is a huge overlap between sustainability and the arts when it comes to communication,” Cazel-Jahn says. “This is especially true of social practice art, which uses community engagement and collaboration as the medium.”

This project was community-powered long before a paint brush touched a wall. Through a series of workshops organized by Cazel-Jahn, students and other locals analyzed core sustainability terms like “adaptation” and “resilience.” They then translated these terms into scenarios that could be both depicted in the mural and easily understood by the public.

The location of the mural also reflects Adapt & Sustain’s communal nature. Cazel-Jahn was introduced to it through a connection between ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability and the Mountain Park Health Center. The institute had assisted Mountain Park with the planning of its latest clinic, constructed in Reinvent Phoenix’s Gateway District.

Essen Otu is the diversity and community affairs director for Mountain Park Health Center, and serves as Cazel-Jahn’s primary liaison for the project.

“When Angela approached us about the mural, we were excited to continue our partnership with the ASU Wrigley Institute in the spirit of community collaboration and transformation,” says Otu. “We believe this mural will translate into more community buy-in, less graffiti and vandalism, and ultimately, the trusted community hub that we want this clinic to be.”

The Gateway Clinic volunteered a 330-foot stretch of wall appropriately located along the Grand Canal trail, a public recreation destination. Through a series of open painting days, participants from surrounding neighborhoods, schools and organizations worked to transform the wall into a vivid depiction of sustainability.

With the final open painting day slated for Dec. 27, the mural’s completion is in sight. Gateway area residents will soon walk, run, bike and rollerblade past the final product, enjoying its vibrancy while considering its underlying sustainability theme.

“The project has entered the best phase,” Cazel-Jahn says. “Instead of pushing it along to make it happen, I am now scrambling to keep up with it.”

Cazel-Jahn received her master’s in sustainable solutions from the School of Sustainability on Dec. 16. She looks forward to advancing sustainability discourse by teaching SOS 110 this spring.

Communications specialist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability


Updates to the 7th Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition

December 23, 2014

Brazilian conductor and pianist Ricardo Castro will join the distinguished panel of judges for the 7th Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition, replacing pianist Martha Argerich, who recently notified the competition organizers that she will be unable to join the jury this year due to personal reasons.

The competition will open with a gala recital on Jan. 4, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in ASU’s Katzin Hall, featuring members of the jury, including Ricardo Castro, Robert Hamilton, Baruch Meir, Vadim Monastyrski and Aleksandar Serdar. They will perform works by Haydn, Debussy, Chopin, Bartok and Shostakovich. Download Full Image

The winner of the prestigious Leeds International Piano Competition in 1993, Castro is the founder and director of NEOJIBA, a Brazilian orchestral and choral program inspired by Venezuela’s “El Sistema” program, which provides free classical music education that promotes human opportunity and development for impoverished children. NEOJIBA is now a priority program of the government of Bahia and a pioneer in Brazil. The NEOJIBA orchestra under Castro as its conductor toured throughout the U.S. and Europe in 2014 with renowned piano soloists Martha Argerich, Maria João Pires and Jean-Yves Thibaudet.

Some 205 pianists representing 42 countries applied to the 2015 Bösendorfer and Yamaha USASU International Piano Competition.

“This is a record number of applicants for our competition,” said Baruch Meir, founder, president and artistic director of the competition. “They represent the top young pianists from some of the world’s greatest music schools and teachers, including the Juilliard School, the Moscow Conservatory, the Royal College of Music (London) and Arizona State University. Three ASU students were accepted to participate at the Bösendorfer competition, a testament to the tremendous quality of pianists we have in the School of Music.”

In addition to the top available prizes, ASU students who were accepted to the competition will also compete for the National Society of Arts and Letters Special Award for the best Arizona pianist competing in the Bösendorfer competition.

“The ASU School of Music is proud to announce the naming of the Second Prize $10,000 award in the Bösendorfer Competition in memory of Phyllis Chiat, a long time advocate of the arts,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. Chiat, who passed away last August after a short battle with cancer, loved and supported the arts, and especially loved classical music and the piano.

Chiat’s husband, Harold Chiat, M.D., said, “This festival was her favorite. Phyllis would be proud of this award in her honor, which will help nurture young, talented musical artists.”

This award was made possible through the generous support of art lovers in the community who knew Phyllis Chiat and her work — Harold Chiat, David Katzin and Bob Katzin are long-time advocates and patrons of the ASU School of Music.

For early purchase of competition weekly or daily passes and special event tickets, call the box office at 480.965.6447. Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2p.m. – 5 p.m. (excluding holidays). Passes/tickets will be held at Will Call at the ticketing counter in Cowley lobby, located in the ASU School of Music.

To purchase tickets online for the opening gala recital at Katzin Hall, Jan. 4, go to:

To purchase tickets online for the Yamaha Winners Recital, Jan. 10, go to:

To purchase competition tickets directly before a scheduled competitor is to play or for the special events, the box office will be in Cowley lobby at the School of Music ticketing counter for sales as follows:

Sunday Jan. 4, 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. (opening gala recital)
Monday Jan. 5, 12:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Tuesday Jan. 6, 11:30 a.m. – 7:45 p.m.
Wednesday Jan. 7, 11:30 a.m. – 8:15 p.m.
Thursday Jan. 8, 11:30 a.m. – 6:15 p.m.
Friday Jan. 9, 9:30 a.m. – 7:15 p.m.
Saturday Jan. 10, 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., and closing winners recital: 6:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.

Media Contact:
Deborah Sussman Susser