Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA) recent alumnus Roberto Lugo was honored this spring with an Emerging Artist award at the 2015 National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) annual conference. As a recipient of this award, Roberto was invited to address conference participants and reflect on his education as an artist. His powerful and inspiring presentation, which received a standing ovation from an audience of thousands, was a passionate call for the power of ceramic arts to change lives. He discussed his gritty urban experiences and his discovery of the pottery wheel as a “machine that kills hate.”
"As our nation copes with another incidence of mass murder in a historical black church setting, many wonder what can we do to make a difference," said Barbara Korner, Dean of the College of Arts and Architecture. "The following story and video of one of our award-winning arts graduate students reminds us that encouraging young people to find their voice through their art is the main hope for continued cultural growth and change. We must keep doing the work and opening doors for people like Roberto Lugo."
Roberto studied ceramics in the B.F.A. program at the Kansas City Art Institute, and then in the M.F.A. program at Penn State. Upon graduation from Penn State, Roberto entered SoVA’s Ph.D. program in Art Education to pursue connections between his studio practice and community projects.
Roberto participated in numerous exhibitions in 2015, including African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, WI; Borderlands, Alexandria Arts Center, Washington, D.C.; Roberto Lugo and Matt Tomesko, The Painted Bride, Philadelphia, PA; solo exhibition curated by Kelicia Pitts, The Artists’ House, Philadelphia, PA; and the Theoretical Show, Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space, New York, NY. Roberto has accepted a position as a ceramics professor at Marlboro College, Vermont.