After exhibiting with Izel Vargas, the 2016 Stuart Artist in Residence at South Dakota State University, last fall in Charlotte, North Carolina, Lori Larusso kept thinking about applying to be the 2020 Stuart Artist in Residence. With previous positive experiences on a college campus, Larusso submitted her application.
Now, several months later, Larusso was chosen from more than 50 applicants. She will have an open studio event from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 8 in the Ritz Gallery in Grove Hall.
Her monthlong time in South Dakota is her first experience in the state. The Ohio native now calls Louisville, Kentucky, home so she knows what life is like in the Midwest. While at SDSU, she is working on several projects and talking to students and faculty about their work.
“I have taught at universities full and part time in the past and enjoy engaging with other artists, students and faculty,” Larusso said. “I have done about a dozen residencies and each one has been meaningful in the ongoing development of my research and creative work. Additionally, working at SDSU seemed like a unique opportunity to spend time in a different part of the country and see how my surroundings influence my visual work.”
Larusso said the Stuart Artist in Residence is different from others as she will be engaging with students and community. Her public lecture was Sept. 22 where she presented a narrative that connected multiple bodies of work and displayed the way her practice has developed over the past decade.
“I hope to develop my current work through focused studio time and connect with faculty and students. My time in Brookings will most certainly contribute to my practice after I’ve left,” Larusso said. “I have a couple exhibitions scheduled in 2021 and 2022, and it’s likely I’ll exhibit some of the work I make while in residence. I hope to build relationships with faculty and students that continue after my visit commences.
“I’m approaching this residency with an even broader brush than normal at this point because it is such a condensed amount of time. A lot of what I gain from the interactions and my experience in Brookings this month, I won’t be able to process and get the results of it until well after I’m gone,” she continued. “That’s not how I operate, nor would it be an honest assessment of my experiences or time here.”
The Community Foundation of Louisville’s 2020 Fischer Prize for Visual Arts recipient, Larusso likes working on a college campus.
“I first began to seriously develop my craft on a college campus. My parents were supportive of my artistic work as I was growing up, but it wasn’t until I started a BFA program at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning that I realized to what extent artists are contributing to their communities,” she said. “Working in a cohort of my peers within a larger community of grad students and professors was essential to my start as an artist. I am still close friends with several of my classmates even though we are spread across the country.
“College campuses tend to be supportive spaces that encourage risk-taking. They're a great place to develop creative work.”
For more information on her experience and to view examples of her work, visit lorilarusso.com.