Herberger Institute partners with music industry icon to advance cultural leadership education

ASU students demonstrate projects at the Spring 2015 Digital Culture Showcase.

ASU students demonstrate their work at the Spring 2015 Digital Culture Showcase in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.
Photo by: Sean Deckert


Creative thinking at ASU has designed better wheelchairs for people with limited mobility.

It’s improved housing in refugee camps.

And it has used digital art to create educational games that teach advanced concepts to college students.

Now the faculty and students at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will have more opportunities to consider the way creativity solves social challenges as the institute is launching the Curb Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership Program to train cultural strategists, disruptors and catalysts.

The program, one of the first of its kind, is a collaboration between the institute and the Mike Curb Family Foundation.

Faculty are currently shaping the program’s curriculum, which will initially be offered in fall 2016. It will include institute-wide courses examining the intersection of business, government and leadership in the creative and cultural industries. In addition, it will engage national leaders who demonstrate the power of bringing together art and leadership for cultural, social and economic progress.

“Unlike most existing programs, we aren’t just trying to prepare students for existing jobs,” said Steven J. Tepper, dean of the Herberger Institute. “We’re giving people tools to innovate and amplify the power of art and design in society.”

ASU’s McCain Institute for International Leadership is a partner in the new program, providing opportunities for Herberger Institute faculty and students to connect art, design and creativity to global issues around security, economic opportunity, freedom and human dignity. Herberger Institute faculty, for example, have recently worked with a cohort of The McCain Institute’s Next Generation Leaders to use “design thinking” to inform their policy work in their home countries.

“Entrepreneurship and creativity are in ASU’s DNA,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “ASU is proud to partner with the Mike Curb Family Foundation, whose gift makes it possible to launch this innovative program and help our students develop the tools they need to thrive in a rapidly changing economic and professional landscape.”

The program draws inspiration from Mike Curb’s life. A Nashville-based songwriter, musician and producer, Curb is also the founder of the oldest record company in the nation still operated by its founder, with more than 300 number-one charting records. He is also a political leader, public servant and philanthropist, having served as acting governor and lieutenant governor of California.

“Mike sees the critical connection between culture and leadership, and he understands how arts and culture create public value,” says Tepper. “He has used his creative talents as a musician, producer and businessman to advance ideas in education, cultural preservation and social and cultural equality.”

Tepper added, “Now, as cultural leaders search for new models to strengthen the arts and connect to new partners, the Curb program will give students the tools to come up with the organizations, enterprises and policies that will shape culture for the next 100 years.”

The Master of Arts in Creative Enterprise and Cultural Leadership is expected to launch fall 2016.

For more information, contact Linda Essig, Herberger Institute director of enterprise and entrepreneurship programs and Evelyn Smith Professor in the School of Film, Dance and Theatre.

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