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Linda Essig


Linda Essig is director of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Programs in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, which, as Pave Program in Arts Entrepreneurship,  helped more than three dozen student teams develop arts-based ventures for Arizona and beyond since its inception in 2006 and publishes the only research journal in the field,Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts. She was the first director of the ASU School of Theatre and Film, now the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, where she also served as artistic director of the school's MainStage Season from 2004–2010. 

Essig's research interests include value creation by and evaluation of arts incubators; the relationship between art, money, and entrepreneurial action; and factors affecting individual artist success. As a lighting designer, her work has been seen at theatres across the country including Cleveland Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Missouri Rep, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Skylight Opera, La Mama ETC, Pioneer Theatre, Madison Repertory Theatre and others, and in the USA National Exhibit of theatrical design at the Prague Quadrennial. Her work has been funded by the Kauffman Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Tempe, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

She is the author of articles and book chapters on both arts entrepreneurship and lighting design as well as three books: "Lighting and the Design Idea" (third edition, January 2012), "The Speed of Light: Dialogues on Lighting Design and Technological Change," and "The Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit." She currently serves on the boards of directors of the Association for Arts Administration Educators and Rising Youth Theatre. Prior to joining ASU, she was on the faculty of University of Wisconsin-Madison for 16 years. Her blog covers arts entrepreneurship, arts policy, higher education in the arts and, occasionally, cooking. You can follow her on twitter @LindaInPhoenix.

  • Ph.D. Public Administration and Policy, Arizona State University
  • M.F.A. Design for Stage and Screen, New York University Tisch School of the Arts
  • B.F.A. Design (Honors), New York University Tisch School of the Arts
Research Interests: 

Arts entrepreneurship; arts and culture policy; social impact of the arts; lighting Design; interdisciplinary approaches to the study and practice of theatre and film production; history of design and entertainment technology


“Same or Different: The ‘Arts Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Cultural Entrepreneurship’ Constructs in U and European Higher Education,” Cultural Trends, forthcoming 2017.

“Value Creation and Evaluation in Arts Incubators: A Cross-case Analysis,” International Journal of Arts Management, forthcoming, 2017.

“Means and Ends: A Theory Framework for Understanding Entrepreneurship in the U.S. Arts and Culture Sector,” Journal of Arts Management, Law and Society, 45 (4), 2015.

Taylor, E.A., Bonin-Rodriguez, P., and Essig, L. “Perspectives on Arts Entrepreneurship, Part 1.” Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts 4 (1), 3-7, 2015.

“Arts Incubators: A Typology,” Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 44(3), 169-180, 2014.

“Ownership, Failure, And Experience: Goals And Evaluation Metrics Of University-Based Arts Venture Incubators,” Entrepreneurship Research Journal 4(1), pp. 117-135, 2014.

*“Frameworks for Educating the Artist of the Future: Habits of Mind for Arts Entrepreneurship,” Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts 1 (2), 2013.

+ “Slow and Fast Learning in the Digital Age,” Symposium Magazine, August 2013.

Beckman, G. and Essig, L. “Arts Entrepreneurship: A Conversation,” Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts 1(1), 2012.

“Teaching Theatre Students to Think Entrepreneurially,” Stage Directions 25(10), 2012.

Essig, L.,  Rodger, D., Smith, R.L., Tosti-Lane, D. “Thoughts from the Curators,” Theatre Design and Technology 47, (4), Fall 2011.

“Suffusing Entrepreneurship into Theatre Curricula” Theatre Topics, September, 2009.

“Stanley McCandless, Lighting History, and Me,”  Theatre Topics, March, 2007.

“On Their Shoulders: Women in Lighting Design,” Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 2005.

“Three Hours in the Light: Experiencing the Work of James Turrell,” Theatre Design and Technology, Summer 2003.


Essig, L. and Guevara, J. A Landscape of Arts Entrepreneurship in US HIgher Education, Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, 2017.

“Networking and Entrepreneurial Success: A Review of Literature,” Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, 2016. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35297.71525

Flanagan, M. and Essig, L. “Artist Professional Development Needs: Findings and recommendations from a survey of artists and organizations,” Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, 2016. DOI 10.13140/RG.2.1.2956.2003

Essig, L. and Flanagan, M. “How It’s Being Done: Arts Business Training Across the US,” Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, 2015. DOI 10.13140/RG.2.1.1252.8081


The Arizona Arts Entrepreneur Toolkit.

Essig, L. and Setlow, J. Lighting and the Design Idea, 3rd Edition, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Lighting and the Design Idea, 2nd Edition Los Angeles: Wadsworth/Thomson. Significantly revised and expanded from previous edition, 2005.

The Speed of Light: Dialogues on Lighting Design and Technological Change;  Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2002.

Lighting and the Design Idea. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1997.  238 pages; 138 black and white illustrations (85 by author) and 12 color (3 by author).  

 “n=1” in S. Woodson and T. Underiner (eds) Theatre, Performance, and Theories of Change. Palgrave MacMillan, forthcoming, 2017.

Hong-Jo, C., Essig, L., and Bridgstock, R. “The Enterprising Artist and the Arts Entrepreneur: Emergent pedagogies for new disciplinary habits of mind” in N. Chick (ed.) Exploring Signature Pedagogies II, Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, 2011.

 “Arden Fingerhut: A Unique Approach and Prolific Career” invited submission to B. Owen (ed.) Late and Great:  American Designers 1960-2010, Broadway Press, 2010.

“John Gleason: Master Colorist and Master Teacher,” invited submission to B. Owen (ed.) Late and Great:  American Designers 1960-2010, Broadway Press, 2010.

 “A Primer on the History of Stage Lighting,” invited submission to Documenting: Lighting Design Performance Arts Resource #25 Theatre Library Association, 2007. Reprinted with revisions in Theatre Design & Technology, Spring 2016.

Research Activity: 
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
HDA 593Applied Project
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
THP 452Arts Entrepreneurship Seminar
THP 494Special Topics
THF 497Senior Project
THP 499Individualized Instruction
THP 552Arts Entrepreneurship
THP 584Internship
HDA 592Research
HDA 595Continuing Registration
THP 598Special Topics
THP 680Practicum
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
THP 494Special Topics
THF 497Senior Project
THP 499Individualized Instruction
THP 551Arts Management
HDA 583Fieldwork
THP 584Internship
HDA 592Research
THP 598Special Topics
THP 680Practicum
  • Essig, Linda. Light in the Theatre, Stagecraft.
  • Essig, Linda. Women Lighting Designers: Statistics and Trend Analysis. USITT annual conference
  • Essig, Linda. Functions and Properties of Light. Environments Textiles and Design
  • Essig, Linda. Light as Material. Visual Culture Faculty Research Forum
  • Essig, Linda. The IES Theatre Lighting Task Group - A Working Session. LDI entertainment lighting trade show
  • Essig, Linda. The IES Theatre Lighting Task Group - A Working Session. USITT national conference
  • Essig, Linda. Opportunities for Theatre Department Graduates. Orientation to Theatre
  • Essig, Linda. Theatrical Training for the Architectural Lighting Designer. USITT annual conference
  • Essig, Linda. Designing for Actors Theatre of Phoenix. USITT annual conference
  • Lemons Mentorship Program, Board of Advisors (2007 - Present)
  • Downtown Phoenix Campus Academic Advisory Commission (Provost's office), Committee member (2005 - Present)
  • Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics Affiliates Council, (2005 - Present)
  • Mexican/Mexican-American Cultural Arts Festival planning committee, Tempe Convention and Visitors Bureau, Member (2005 - Present)
  • Arts and Business Gateway Development Committee (College of Fine Arts), Committee member (2004 - Present)
  • Kyrene Public Schools, Phoenix, Art Masterpiece volunteer (2004 - Present)
  • Play Selection Committee, Member (1993 - Present)
  • Regent's Professor Selection Committee (Provost's office), Committee member (2006 - 2008)
  • Theatre Topics, Hohns Hopkins University Press, Manuscript reviewer (2007 - 2007)
  • ATHE Leadership Institute, Mentor (2006 - 2006)
  • Search Committee for University Provost (President's office), Committee member (2006 - 2006)
  • Arizona Commission on the Arts, Grant review panel (2005 - 2005)
  • Arizona State Playwriting Competition, Judge (2005 - 2005)
  • Search Committee for Vice Provost for Academic Personnel (Provost's office), Committee member (2005 - 2005)
  • Downtown/Capitol Center Campus Planning Committee (College of Fine Arts), Committee member (2004 - 2005)
  • University/Resident Theatre Association, Board of Directors (2004 - 2005)
  • Arts Institute Executive Committee, Committee member (2003 - 2004)
  • Honorific Professorial Titles Committee, Chair (2002 - 2004)
  • Madison Metropolitan School District, Classroom volunteer (2002 - 2004)
  • Minority Student and Faculty Liaison, (2002 - 2004)
  • Theatre Lighting Task Group, TTFL, Head (2002 - 2004)
  • Committee on Honorary Degrees, Committee member (2000 - 2004)
  • Access and Accommodation Resource Coordinator, Coordinator (1996 - 2004)
  • IESNA Theatre, Television, and Film Lighting Committee (TTFL), Member (1995 - 2004)
  • Sexual Harassment Contact Person, (1991 - 2004)
  • University Theatre Production Committee, Member (1988 - 2004)
  • University Theatre Staff Committee, Member (1988 - 2004)
  • Conversations in Science: "From Page to Stage and the Science in Between", Speaker (2003 - 2003)
  • Arts Night Out architectural gateway lighting, Lighting Designer (2002 - 2002)
  • On-site review, Miami University of Ohio, External Evaluator (2002 - 2002)
  • Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters Gallery, Overture project advisory board (2002 - 2002)
  • Curriculum Committee, Chair (2001 - 2002)
  • Area Committee, Theatre Design and Technology, Chair (2000 - 2002)
  • Theatre Design and Technology, Chair (2000 - 2002)
  • Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) Educational Materials Committee, Member (1989 - 2002)
  • Costume Designer Search Committee, Chair (2001 - 2001)
  • On-site review, Vanderbilt University, External Evaluator (2001 - 2001)
  • Computational Sciences Cluster Hire Search Committee, Member (1999 - 2001)
  • Madison Business Improvement District Capitol Dome Color Installation, Designer/specifier (2000 - 2000)
  • Merit review committee, Chair (2000 - 2000)
  • Women Faculty Mentoring Program, Mentor (1999 - 2000)
  • College of Letters and Science Facilities Planning Committee, Member (1995 - 2000)
Expertise Areas: