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ASU alum hired to help with new initiative promoting equality, inclusion in design, arts

Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts has tapped ASU alum Erika Moore to help run one of the first programs of the Herberger Institute’s Projecting All Voices initiative, which aims to give underrepresented groups and first-generation students opportunities for design and arts careers and to explore issues of equality and inclusion in design and the arts.

Erika Moore (photo by Focus first Photography)

“As an artist of color, I recognize the lack of diversity in executive levels of leadership in art organizations across the nation and in higher education institutions,” Moore said. “We’re looking at institutional change — to be a place where all people, all artists, are included. Institutional change happens not only by including all artists in streams of support but also through the development and practice of equitable framework in those institutions.”

The Projecting All Voices initiative calls for the Herberger Institute to research, design, prototype, implement and disseminate a new system of programs for confronting field-level issues of equity and inclusion in both higher education and the arts. The Ensemble Lab, founded by Institute Professors Liz Lerman, Michael Rohd and Daniel Bernard Roumain, is helping to design the initiative for the Herberger Institute.

“Erika brings lived experience, great collaborative and managerial skills, and a strong point of view to her deep comprehension of working towards an equitable society,” Lerman said. “We are so lucky to have her and will be challenged to reach our aspirations by following her lead. Erika is also a wonderful choreographer, and her artistic practices will inform the way this very important initiative unfolds.”

Moore, originally from Los Angeles, trained at Debbie Allen Dance Academy. She earned both a bachelor's degree in nonprofit leadership and management and an master's degree in dance from ASU. While residing in Arizona she has danced with a variety of companies and produced “Movement Speaks,” which addresses the ban on ethnic studies in the state. In her new role, she will coordinate a program within the Projecting All Voices initiative funded by a $500,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation.

The grant will help establish a cohort of post-graduate fellows, made up of artists from diverse communities. Through the program the fellows will gain access to mentorship, opportunities to develop new work, exposure to key methodologies for expanding their capacities as artists, and opportunities to join conversations about power, race, class, cultural policy and reshaping education and cultural institutes to advance equity and inclusion. Current fellows are Yvonne Montoya, founding director of Safos Dance Theatre based in Tucson, Arizona; Alejandro Tey, a Chicago-based actor, director, writer and teaching artist; and Joel Thompson, a composer, pianist, conductor and educator from Atlanta.

Moore said the program also brings visiting artists to ASU for lectures, performances and workshops as well as to engage in community work with Projecting All Voices and its fellows. Musician, educator and author Ysaÿe M. Barnwell, longtime member of African-American female a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, visited ASU for a weeklong residency with the ASU School of Music earlier this month as the first Projecting All Voices visiting artist.