Greg Esser

Biography

Greg EsserDesert Initiative

Greg Esser is currently Desert Initiative Director for ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, a program that seeks to link desert communities regionally and globally through interdisciplinary arts-based research and projects. He is co-founder and co-editor of ARID, a new on-line journal exploring desert art, design and ecology. He has directed three of the largest municipal public art programs in the United States: the City and County of Denver (1991-1996), the City of Phoenix (1996-2004) and Los Angeles County (2009-2011). He also worked at the national level as Public Art Manager for Americans for the Arts in Washington, D.C. (2004-2006). He is the founder and former executive director of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization focused on community revitalization through the arts and culture in downtown Phoenix. He has preserved and restored ten buildings in the Roosevelt Row Artists' District to provide studio and exhibition space for artists and also established several contemporary art venues and businesses including eye lounge gallery, 515 gallery, MADE art boutique and Sixth Street Studios. Esser was appointed to serve on the transition team for Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and currently serves on the Mayor's Sustainability Advisory Committee and Creative Sector Task Force. He has written numerous successful grants including two ArtPlace America and two National Endowment for the Arts "Our Town" awards in addition to grants from the Annenberg Foundation, City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office and Office of Arts and Culture, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts. He received the Phoenix Community Alliance Starr Award, 2014, the "Contemporary Catalyst" award from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, 2009, a Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Award, 2009 and was named a "Diversity Champion" by the Phoenix Business Journal in 2013.