Two faculty members in Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts won in their categories at the 2021 Phoenix Mayor’s Arts Awards.
Jorge “House” Magana, clinical assistant professor of dance in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre, was named the 2021 Jerry Lawson Memorial Performing Artist, and Danielle Foushee, assistant professor in The Design School, was named the 2021 Lou & Evelyn Grubb Community Innovator at this year’s ceremony.
The annual event recognizes outstanding leaders in Phoenix’s arts community, and the funds raised benefit the Phoenix Center for the Arts.
When Magana heard the news, he was in the middle of coordinating the Sol Power hip-hop festival at ASU’s Tempe campus and said he was surprised to be named a finalist.
“This is a big deal in Arizona,” he said. “It made me grateful that I was nominated. I was glad to be there and to bring a different perspective.”
Through his courses at ASU, the Sol Power festival and other community engagement, Magana has been promoting hip-hop culture in the Phoenix area for years. He said he is happy to see hip-hop honored in this way and that he envisions a future where arts organizations more fully recognize street artists.
“With this award, I am representing not just myself, people of color and hip-hop,” he said, “but also the program here at ASU. I am hoping it will continue to open some doors.”
Julia Chacón, ASU MFA student in dance and flamenco instructor, and the Phoenix Boys Choir were the other nominees in the performing artist category.
For the Community Innovator award, Foushee won, and Taylor Buttrey and Clottee Angela Hammons were nominated.
Foushee founded and directs the Phoenix Mural Project to document the city’s street art culture, enhance its vitality and expand public support for design and the arts in public places. She helps organize the Phoenix Mural Fest and is a member of the Phoenix Arts and Culture Commission.
"The Mayor's Arts Award was extra meaningful to me," Foushee said. "Over five weekends in February and March 2021, Phoenix Mural Festival brought people from all over the city to revitalize what had been an underappreciated public space and — despite the pandemic — provided a safe, outdoor space where Phoenicians were able to recharge in nature and nurture social connections. More than 80 Arizona-based artists created 68 new murals along the Grand Canalscape in midtown Phoenix, and their demographics matched the city's population. I'm most proud of all the people who came together to help pull it all off, and especially want to acknowledge the tireless work of my volunteer festival co-chair Alexia Bednarz, an alumna from the School of Sustainability."
In addition to the Young Artist Award, which went to Shaeleigh O’Brien, the Governor’s Arts Award also presented the Dr. Eugene Grigsby Visual Artist Award, named after the ASU professor emeritus of art. Grigsby served as an art professor at ASU from 1966 to 1988, and his artwork and contributions to African American art have been recognized by royalty and dignitaries worldwide. The 2021 award went to Lucretia Torva, and Joanne L. Gallery and Kathryn Russum were nominated.
Lacy Chaffee contributed to this story.