December 11, 2015
This fall, Marlboro College was pleased to hire award-winning, emerging artist Roberto Lugo to be the new ceramics professor. Roberto brings with him a new way of looking at ceramics and social justice that has been well received by students. As an artist and as a teacher, he is very interested in the way different cultures interact, and how pottery is a way to build community and take part in something collective.
“There’s definitely a level of ceramics being, in the most basic way, about being a kid and just playing with dirt,” said Roberto. “But people here at Marlboro have a tendency to question everything, which is really refreshing.” Roberto enjoys both the play of ceramics and the questions it poses; much of his own work juxtaposes fine porcelain with graffiti or other images from modern culture.
Roberto received his B.A. at Kansas City Art Institute, and his M.F.A. at Pennsylvania State University in 2014. Before coming to Marlboro he had a residency at Project Art in Cummington, Massachusetts, and a solo show at Ferrin Contemporary, part of the MASS MoCA complex in North Adams. He received an award as an emerging artist at the April 2015 meeting of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts.
“Since I got here I feel like I’m discovering something new everyday,” said Roberto, who is excited about how Marlboro’s curriculum is driven by student interest. “If I wanted to walk on new terrain and think about ways that clay hasn’t been used before, I really have to be grounded by people who are doing similar things with what their interests are.”
Roberto loves the way art is talked about and discussed at Marlboro. “The thing is, with an artwork, the conversation will be around communicating your idea rather than whether your idea is a valid or not. That’s what I like about it.”