Innovative curriculum, performance earn Herberger Institute $110k in National Endowment grants

The ASU School of Dance and two faculty members in the ASU School of Arts, Media + Engineering, in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, have received grants totaling $110,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts in their latest round of funding.

The NEA grants provide support and national recognition for curricular innovation and groundbreaking work in the Herberger Institute. They include a $60,000 Art Works award for a joint dance leadership and residency program between the School of Dance and the New York City-based New York Live Arts; and a $50,000 Arts in Media award to the School of Arts, Media and Engineering’s Grisha Coleman, assistant professor, and Todd Ingalls, associate research professor, for the creation of an interactive performance and art installation.

“We are pleased that the National Endowment for the Arts has recognized the transformative curriculum offered by our School of Dance and the pioneering work by our faculty in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering,” said Kwang-Wu Kim, dean and director of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “These grants acknowledge the caliber of research and innovation being undertaken by our faculty to explore new frontiers of the arts and technology.”

The joint dance residency program with New York Live Arts underscores the ASU dance school’s reputation as one of the nation’s premiere programs educating future generations of innovative dance artists.

“This gives national recognition to ASU as a leading edge dance program where we are not just talking about new practices in dance but actively engaged in moving the art form forward,’’ said Simon Dove, director of the School of Dance.

The dance leadership and residency program, with New York Live Arts and its co-founder and executive artistic director Bill T. Jones, further connects ASU students to not only internationally significant artists but also to New York City, where the new works will be further developed and premiered, according to Dove.

The first New York Live Arts artist to participate in the residency  program is Japanese-American choreographer Yasuko Yokoshi. She and her collaborators will be in residence at the ASU Tempe campus for the Fall 2012 semester to rehearse an ambitious new work produced by New York Live Arts that will premiere there in March 2013 as the culmination of Yokoshi's two-year tenure as New York Live Arts' inaugural Resident Commissioned Artist.i

The NEA Art Works program supports the “creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts,” according to the NEA chairman Rocco Landesman.

This funding further expands the School of Dance Artist Residency program by providing the means for mid-career artists like Yokoshi to engage students in a hands-on experience with professional artists and most importantly affords direct exposure to and participation in their creative process, Dove explained. The School of Dance and New York Live Arts also plan to bring an emerging New York artist for a production residency at ASU in the spring 2013 semester.

Grisha Coleman and Todd Ingalls won the only NEA Arts in Media grant awarded in Arizona, which is one of 79 awards nationally. The NEA Arts in Media grants “support the development, production and national distribution of innovative media projects about the arts and media projects that can be considered works of art,” according to Landesman.

“New media are rapidly changing the processes and products of culture.  Grisha Coleman and Todd Ingalls are at the forefront of investigating these new forms of culture,’’ said Thanassis Rikakis, professor and director of the School for Arts, Media + Engineering. “We are very happy to see the NEA's recognition of their efforts together with the national attention this recognition brings to their work and the work of our school overall.”

Using treadmills and new media, Coleman and Ingalls are developing an art installation, "Action Station #2-The Desert," which gives people a sensory experience of an unfamiliar setting so that they can understand their impact on the environment. The grant recognizes the value in exploring new frontiers of interactive performance that move dancers and art from the stage to the parks, streets, gallery floors and life of people, according to Coleman. In 2009, the ASU Institute for Humanities Research funded the initial project development with a $12,000 seed grant.

“How we network, how the internet works is writ large in our lives and impacts the way we live and it has to impact the way we make art,’’ Coleman said.

For more on the NEA grants, visit