Topic: “Defacing Adversity: How Scholarship Turns Taggers Into Teachers”
Location: Ballroom, The Nittany Lion Inn
Introduction: Eric Barron
Moderator: Patty Satalia
Lugo was born in Philadelphia as his mother’s third child when she was 21; his father, after completing middle school, worked as a sugar cane farmer in Puerto Rico. Because the men in his family were only expected to attend middle school, he never expected to attend high school, much less, college. This beginning has had a substantial influence on who he is as an artist, father and teacher and why he feels compelled to use his work to make opportunities for others.
Lugo is a potter, social activist, spoken word poet, and educator. All of these roles are rooted in his childhood. His career as an artist started in the streets of Philadelphia tagging graffiti on the walls of buildings his community had no pride in; his graffiti today is defacing social inequality. He sees his pottery as a process of transforming the ground we walk on into something we eat from; we search all day for the perfect spot to put it on display. In many ways, this transformation of tragedy into triumph is a metaphor for his life’s story.
Lugo’s experiences as an indigent minority inform his version of Puerto Rican American history. With his education in the fields of Ceramics and Art Education, he has developed a studio practice that fluidly communicates with diverse audiences. He brings art to those who do not believe they need it, to see it, and engage in deeper ways of knowing, learning and thinking.
This Forum event has been designated the 2016-2017 John W. Oswald Lecture.