Herberger Institute crosses boundaries in name of innovation
Arizona State University positioned itself as a leader in the investigation of creativity and creative practice when the Arizona Board of Regents approved the establishment of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts this past spring.
To celebrate this new enterprise, ASU President Michael Crow, Provost Elizabeth Capaldi and members of the Herberger family joined Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts students, faculty, staff and community friends to inaugurate the new institute during an Oct. 14 reception at the Nelson Fine Arts Center Plaza on ASU’s Tempe campus.
“The design and arts disciplines that compose the Herberger Institute embody the exploration of creative process, a practice that directly influences the study of humanity and the world we inhabit,” says Crow. “This new institute will influence, empower and creatively enhance the success of students and faculty both within design and the arts as well as across the university.”
It is this pursuit of student and faculty success that led to a unique configuration of schools and units that now make up the Herberger Institute. ASU countered a nationwide trend of reducing or eliminating design and arts programs when it created the Herberger Institute by disestablishing the Herberger College of the Arts and the College of Design and realigning the various disciplines under the institute’s new banner.
“Our world is in great need of creative thinkers who are driven to explore the contemporary human condition through creative practice and research,” says Kwang-Wu Kim, the dean and director of the Herberger Institute. “We continually face challenges on both global and local scales that compel us to ask questions and propose solutions. These challenges require participation and input from all of our disciplines.”
The provost’s office instituted a new administrative structure for the Herberger Institute naming Kim, who previously was dean of the Herberger College of the Arts, as dean and director. Kim also is a professor of music.
“The institute allows cross-cutting initiatives that bridge the schools, such as digital culture, allowing the various schools to interact in new and exciting ways,” Capaldi says. “The curricular innovations are particularly exciting and will affect all students at ASU who now will have an integrative experience across design and the arts that will produce innovative graduates.”
The Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts now is home to the Schools of Architecture + Landscape Architecture; Art; Arts, Media and Engineering (elevated from a collaborative initiative with the Ira. A. Fulton Schools of Engineering); Dance (previously a department); Design Innovation; Music; and Theatre and Film.
The ASU Art Museum, F.A.R. (Future Arts Research) @ ASU and the Herberger Institute Community School for Design and the Arts fill out a rich and diverse collection of programs positioned to educate, inform and involve the greater Arizona community as well as the university.
“Artists and designers, regardless if they are researchers, practitioners or scholars, all contribute to our understanding of how we adapt and grow in complex environments,” Kim says. “We believe that an education in design and the arts enables our students to succeed in the world after graduation regardless of where their career path takes them.”
The Herberger Institute looks to place this examination of human experience within the context of four central themes: how digital culture and digitally mediated environments impact and activate our world; how health and wellness are influenced by creative research and practice; how art and design facilitate entrepreneurialism in the space where creativity and innovation intersect; and how design and the arts respond to and interact with ASU’s desert environment.
The institute’s themes already are reflected in several projects and programs under way throughout its schools and units. Art and Architecture + Landscape Architecture this week announced X-Square, a new annual competition to design and program a public space on the northwest corner of the Tempe campus. Arts, Media and Engineering created SMALLab, a new interactive learning environment that is being used by local K-12 schools as well as in New York. Dance instituted a new curriculum to position students to become more aware internally and externally within society. Theatre and Film launched their p.a.v.e. initiative that focuses on educating students, artists and educators about arts entrepreneurial opportunities. Music supports research that examines the effects of music on people’s moods.
Through the merger of the schools, most school directors remained in place. Darren Petrucci (Architecture + Landscape Architecture); Thanassis Rikakis (Arts, Media and Engineering); Simon Dove (Dance); Kimberly Marshall (Music); and Linda Essig (Theatre and Film) continue their roles within their respective units. The institute named Adriene Jenik as the new School of Art director earlier this summer. Lauren McDermott stepped in as interim director of the School of Design Innovation while the institute searches for a new director.
The ASU Art Museum also is conducting a search for a new director to help redefine the role of a university art museum. Heather Lineberry, the museum senior curator, is interim director while the search is ongoing. The ASU Art Museum’s season is highlighted by a series of works and exhibitions focused on defining sustainability through art and design works in conjunction with the ASU Global Institute for Sustainability.
The Herberger Institute also engages in extensive research projects ranging in solar applications, carbon mapping and urban heat island, and embedding arts programs in the community. These and other faculty projects are supported by the Herberger Institute Research Center under the direction of Janet Holston, the assistant dean for Applied Research.
Demonstrating the importance of creating a healthy, cultural community, F.A.R. (Future Arts Research) @ ASU, directed by Bruce W. Ferguson, hosts several international and national artists, critics and scholars each year. These visitors engage in collaborative research with Herberger Institute departments and schools, and work closely with surrounding communities.
Three additional institute centers also support research-oriented efforts: the transdisciplinary InnovationSpace program directed by Prasad Boradkar; the Phoenix Urban Research Laboratory directed by Nancy Levinson; and the Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family, under the direction of Kurt Creager.
Community partnerships with area leaders and corporations such as Bank of America, Intel, the Mayo Clinic and the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center allow faculty and students opportunities and venues to feature their work throughout the Phoenix area. Joe Baker is director for Community Engagement, and has helped to shape projects such as the Graffiti Project: Civil Disobedience, which was honored with a President’s Medal for Social Embeddedness.
Offering educational opportunities for children, teens and adults is the Herberger Institute’s Community School for Design and the Arts. Under the direction of Catherine Fletcher, the community school provides access to the institute’s deep arts and design resources. Courses are designed to unlock and enrich the creative and artistic understanding of students regardless of age, while giving the instructors direct interaction with cultures from across the region. To address emerging issues in the fields of design, the Design Academy offers continuing education courses, with many offering professional credits for design professionals, real-estate leaders, government officials, policymakers and scholars.
“The students and faculty of the Herberger Institute confront, question and investigate many of the daily challenges our world presents,” Kim says. “This exercise and exploration of the creative process provides us with exciting opportunities to make lasting impact. We embrace the adventure ahead of us.”