School of Art Regents' Professor named one of 50 USA Fellows

December 12, 2012

Kurt Weiser, Regents' Professor of Ceramics in the ASU School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, was named a 2012 United States Artists Fellow. Fifty fellowships are awarded to the nation’s finest artists in areas from crafts and traditional arts to theatre arts, dance, music, architecture and design, visual arts, literature and media. Weiser was the only Arizona artist chosen among 438 artists nominated for this prestigious fellowship which includes an unrestricted $50,000 grant.

“Students and fellow faculty know well the talent and dedication of Professor Kurt Weiser as an artist and teacher,’’ said Adriene Jenik, director of the ASU School of Art. “To have him acknowledged as one of the finest artists in the country, alongside other luminaries in a spectrum of creative practices, reminds us of the honor we have to be working alongside and learning from him.” Download Full Image

Although Weiser hasn’t decided exactly how he will spend the fellowship, he expects to use the money toward his art. “It’s an odd sort of mix of freedom and security to be able to do what I’ve thought about doing and haven’t had the nerve,” Weiser said about receiving the grant. “I feel so very fortunate.’’

First, he plans to complete a project for an exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Art. After that he said for the first time he could consider hiring people to help him with his latest artistic endeavor: making ceramic globes of the world mounted on elegant custom bronze stands. He also intends to use part of the money to expand his studio in Montana where he spends his summers.

A member of the ASU School of Art faculty since 1988, Weiser is one of three award-winning faculty members in the school’s ceramics program, which is ranked seventh in the nation by U. S. News & World Report. “Whether making functional pottery reminiscent of Sun Dynasty ware or his skill as a Postmodern china painter on porcelain, Kurt has been extremely successful with the many shifts and developments his art has taken him in an illustrious career spanning four decades,” said Peter Held, curator of the ASU Art Museum Ceramics Research Center. He credits Weiser’s time as director of the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts with allowing him “to experiment with a wide range of firing techniques and forming processes, always amazing those around him with his technical knowledge and adept handling of clay.”

United States Artists was created with $22 million in seed money from such prominent foundations as Ford, Rockefeller, Prudential and Rasmuson to elevate the status of artists with sizeable, unrestricted grants. Since the first fellowships were given seven years ago, United States Artists have awarded $17.5 million in grants to 365 of the nation’s top artists, according to Debra Dysart, director of development operations. Other donors, including the Windgate Charitable Foundation that funded Weiser’s fellowship, also have stepped up to support the program.

This year’s fellows include emerging, mid-career and established artists from 19 states who were chosen based on their expertise in the art form they practice and the impact they could have in their field, explained Dysart. The rigorous selection process begins with artists and experts chosen as nominators by the organization in each of the eight arts categories. The nominators recommend artists who are in turn asked to complete applications. Panels of artists and experts then review those applications and award the fellowships.

Weiser is one of six honored in the crafts and traditional arts category. The group also includes Nicholas Galanin, an internationally recognized Tlingit/Aleut multimedia artist who is among five Native American artists participating in the School of Art’s 2013 biennial Map(ing) Project from Jan. 3-10, 2013.

For more on Kurt Weiser and the ASU School of Art Ceramics program, visit:

For more on United States Artists and the 2012 Fellowships, visit: USA Fellows.

Celebrate the season with '12 Days of Giving'

December 12, 2012

This is the season to be thankful for friends, family and endeavors that benefit the community. As Arizona State University gears up to win the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Dec. 29, in San Francisco, the university is taking the opportunity to offer suggestions for “12 Days of Giving” in order to make a big difference this season and celebrate the university’s outreach role in the community.

Beginning Dec. 13, Arizona State University will highlight ways to give back during the next 12 days, leading up to Dec. 25 when the Sun Devil football team will be serving food to the needy in the San Francisco Bay Area – in an effort to help fight hunger. Download Full Image

Follow ASU’s “12 Days of Giving” – starting Dec. 13 – on and on Twitter @ASU and @asunews (hash tag is #12daysofgiving).

The “12 Days of Giving” are:

Day 1Distribute leftover food to those who need it. ASU’s FlashFood is a mobile phone application, created by students, to help connect restaurants, hotels, and catering and banquet services with teams of people who collect leftover and excess food and transport it to community centers, churches and other neighborhood locations where it can be distributed to people in need.

Day 2 Help make hunger disappear. ASU4Food is a student organization that works with food banks to spread awareness and eliminate hunger in Arizona. The group does it in innovative ways. For instance, they spell out the word “hunger” in canned goods with one can going away each time someone donates a dollar until it disappears.

Day 3Help our military spend the holidays with their families. ASU student start-up venture AlphaStripe, the social media platform for military members, veterans and civilian supporters to connect and document their experiences, recently launched its "Home for the Holidays" initiative to provide up to four military members a roundtrip airline ticket to go home for the holidays. Service men and women, along with their loved ones, are encouraged to visit and share their best military related stories, along with photos and videos, to have a chance to win one of four round-trip tickets home to reunite with their loved ones for the holidays. The four stories with the most salutes will win the competition. (The submission period ends on Dec. 20.)

Day 4Take a step in solving the world’s challenges. ASU’s G3Box, created by students, provides portable maternity clinics, made out of unused shipping containers, to countries with high maternal mortality rates.

Day 5Develop a product that benefits disabled individuals. BooGüd Bicycles is a socially minded venture developed by ASU students that enables customers to empower disabled individuals in developing countries. BooGüd Bicycles operates on a "buy one, give one" principle – for every bamboo bicycle that is sold, an attachable handcycle is donated to a disabled person in Africa.

Day 6Partner with an incredible kid to help homeless youth. ASU’s Changemaker Central joined forces this fall with Zach Bonner, a 14-year-old boy dedicated to serving homeless youth, on a backpack drive that collected more than 50 backpacks to benefit children without homes. Bonner started his Little Red Wagon nonprofit organization at the age of 8 to help homeless and underprivileged kids.

Day 7Put a smile on the face of a child this Christmas. A group of ASU athletes help make the dreams of deserving children come true when they take them to the North Pole on the United Fantasy Flight.

Day 8 Offer support to a veteran or military service member. ASU’s Pat Tillman Veterans Center is a way to offer support to ASU’s student veteran and active military population. The university greatly appreciates and honors those who have served in defense of our country.

Day 9Connect with your community. Attend an institution that values community service. Arizona State University has 491 community outreach programs in 174 locations, offered by 121 different units, totaling 753 outreach opportunities. ASU has programs in a variety of areas including: education, economy, human rights, quality of life, sustainability, technology and discovery. Find out more, including viewing a map of the Phoenix metropolitan area that illustrates where all of the different resources are located.

Day 10Advocate for equal rights. ASU alumnus Neil Giuliano, an active member in the ASU Alumni Association San Francisco chapter, works to raise the visibility and volume of the national conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and advance the culture toward full equality, as part of his work with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).

Day 11Help improve the health of animals in your area. ASU staffer Natasha Karaczan’s concern for the health of her black Pomeranian dog, Jake, led her down a path to perfecting the ultimate culinary canine treat – a homemade all-natural dog biscuit – which she sells to proud pet owners around ASU. All of the proceeds benefit Valley animal shelters.  

Day 12Enlist your football team to feed the hungry. ASU football players aren’t just focusing on the game in San Francisco when they play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, Dec. 29. They’ll also be spending part of Christmas day feeding those in need from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (Pacific time) at the Glide Memorial Church and Kitchen, 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco.

Britt Lewis

Communications Specialist, ASU Library