Printmaking students from the West Virginia University School of Art & Design were able to reach out to fellow art students a half a world away when they participated in a portfolio exchange with art students at Zayed University in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, during the spring semester.

Titled “Trajectories,” the completed portfolio includes work by students in the Advanced Printmaking class of WVU art professor Joseph Lupo, who directs the printmaking program in the College of Creative Arts.

“Art professor Joshua Watts of Zayed University and I created the foundation for this portfolio exchange in 2012,” Lupo said. “Almost exactly one year later, we couldn’t be happier with the results. This was such a learning experience for all artists involved, and it is always interesting to see how artists from other cultures express themselves.”

Lupo and Watts first met when studying printmaking together at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., and came up with the idea for the exchange after meeting again at the 2012 Southern Graphics Council International printmaking conference held in New Orleans.

Lupo’s students who participated included Sam Boehm, Cassandra Delimon, Joe Delong, Alex Martin, Jaimee Shaffer, Olivia Sigley, Allison Smith, Nate Snyder, Ashley Waide, Jordan Welsh, Nicole Arnett, Nathan Bugenhagen, Kelsie Lilly, Brianna Saddler, Leigh Varney and Chris Tingley.

“From start to finish, a portfolio exchange takes a lot of work,” Lupo said.

First, each student created an original print and editioned it, or made copies of it from the same plate, so that each artist who participated in the exchange would receive a copy.

All prints are 11 inches by 15 inches and each artist made an edition of 40 prints.

The prints are signed and numbered, and then have to be collated, put in portfolios, packaged and shipped.

“Portfolios usually come with a handmade folder or box, which in this case was made by Joshua Watts,” Lupo said.

The WVU students shipped their prints to Dubai and in return received portfolios of prints from the 16 students at Zayed University.

The entire WVU portfolio is being shown at the library at Zayed University this spring, with an additional copy going into their printmaking program print archives.

Another copy will go into the WVU School of Art & Design printmaking archives, and Lupo is also locating a space in Morgantown to exhibit the portfolios so the public can view the global artwork.

“Art is a common language,” he said. “The ability to reach out to someone half a world away and find common ground is very important, and, for us, our common ground was printmaking.

“This was a great way to get a glimpse outside of our own little bubble here. The art world has an international presence, so to be competitive it is important to have an understanding of artwork in a global context.”

For more information about this project or the School of Art & Design printmaking program, contact Joseph Lupo by email at, or by phone at 304-293-2703.



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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