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Continuing the Tradition: Stuart Artist in Residence

Art on a white wall
Lori Larusso, the 2020 Artist in Residence, hosted open studio hours where individuals could view her work.

The College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences prides itself on establishing strong traditions. One of those traditions, the Stuart Artist in Residence, reached a five-year milestone this year. The Stuart Artist in Residence is a program named after and funded through a gift from Joe and Signe Stuart. Both had an established presence in the Brookings community, with Signe being a professor of art from 1972 to 1994 and Joe serving as a museum director and curator for the South Dakota Art Museum.

The Stuart Artist in Residence program gives students and the community an enriching opportunity to view the unique work of artists and creators. As the 2020 Artist in Residence, Lori Larusso offered students and community members open studio hours to view some of the pieces she had created. This program offered Larusso a more intimate opportunity to engage with students and the community on a college campus. “I had a good experience in college,” she said, “I did a lot of growing and one of the things being here has reminded me of is the goal to show students the real process, not only the end result.” The Brookings community, along with faculty and staff, had all been a welcoming part of Larusso’s experience. The local landscape and people influenced her work, though Larusso said it is hard to pick one thing to fully describe her time here. “I have been looking around and seeing bits and pieces of stuff. And I’ve been thinking a lot about Brookings and what is going to define my time here. And I think it would be remiss to spend three weeks here and sum it all up because any place is more complex than that,” said Larusso.

For students, the Artist in Residence program is an opportunity to learn about not only the process but the value of creativity. “I would encourage students, regardless of what they pursue in the future, to recognize the role that art plays in culture, defining culture, and being a product of the culture that we live in,” Larusso stated. In the time of COVID-19, our campus, faculty, staff and students have all had to be creative in finding solutions to keep our community safe. Pat Crawford, director of the School of Design, emphasized the importance of this program. “The Artist in Residence Program ‘lifts the veil’ of what can seem like a mysterious artist process and makes accessible the deep well of intellectual thought, expert technical skills, and social commentary.” Through programs like this, the arts at SDSU help foster creativity that enhances the student experience.