Acclaimed choreographer, maker, community artist, and MacArthur fellow Liz Lerman is joining the faculty of ASU where I work, first on a visiting basis and then, next year, a bit more permanently. She is teaching a course this semester entitled “Animating Research” and has recruited five researchers/research teams to work with the 25 students enrolled in the course from across the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. I am honored, excited, and more than a little bit nervous about being one of those researchers.
In anticipation of the class, I am reading Liz’s book, Hiking the Horizontal: Field Notes from a Choreographer. Reading the book it has become clear that she is a consummate arts entrepreneur. She recounts how, throughout her creative life, she recognizes and then seizes opportunities to make art. She does this, for example, by recognizing that a home for the elderly can be a site for creation or a biologist’s lab can provide material for choreographic inquiry. She creates the structures necessary to connect her significant means (her talent, intelligence, and generosity) with the desirable ends of excellent participatory art. She sums up her entrepreneurial approach in four simple words in the “manifesto” that appears on page 40:
“Real work, real reward.”
I look forward to both in the collaboration I am about to undertake with Liz and her students.