West Virginia University printmaking professor Joseph Lupo is a talented artist, but he also has a talent for making connections. His ability to work collaboratively and bring people together has resulted in many new opportunities for his students and for the School of Art and Design.
In recognition of his many contributions to the school, Lupo was presented with the Outstanding Service Award in the College of Creative Arts for 2014.
“Joe Lupo has brought much notoriety to the WVU School of Art and Design since he joined the faculty in 2004 and we are very honored and proud to work with such an outstanding colleague,” said Alison Helm, director of the School of Art and Design.
Lupo is currently the coordinator of the Printmaking program at WVU. He has also served on the executive board of the SGC International, the nation’s largest printmaking organization, in addition to being a past president and past secretary of the group.
“Joe recently was named an honorary member of SGCI in recognition of his service to the organization,” Helm said. “This award is unique because it is not given very often. They only give the award when they have an extraordinary recipient.”
His service to art students at WVU is another way Lupo has been extraordinary.
He makes sure that his printmaking students at WVU have the opportunity to attend the SGC international conferences every year. Since printmakers from all over the world attend the conferences, the students are able to experience an amazing display of prints, panel discussions about current issues and demonstrations of the latest printmaking processes.
They also have an opportunity to display their work and have their prints seen and discussed by professional printmakers, as well as other students.
When he came to WVU 10 years ago, Lupo also set up an internship program for WVU art students at Artist Image Resource, a non-profit fine art press and gallery in Pittsburgh, where he serves on the board of directors.
“Due to Joe’s special relationship with AIR, our students get to work with internationally known artists from all over the world, who are in the process of making prints, and they are exposed to many new processes,” Helm said. “During their semester-long internships, they work on AIR’s current projects and also make their own artwork, which they show at the AIR gallery.
“Our relationship with this distinctive organization is a unique aspect of the School of Art and Design’s printmaking program,” she said. “It is unusual for undergraduate students from any art program to have the opportunity to show their art an established gallery like AIR. Joe Lupo has made this possible for our students.”
In 2013, Lupo used his connections with other artists to initiate an international portfolio exchange between WVU’s printmaking program and the program at Zayed University in Dubai, a cultural hub of the Middle East and Persian Gulf region.
The resulting art project, called “Trajectories,” was an interesting learning experience for WVU’s advanced printmaking students.
“I talked with Zayed University art professor Joshua Watts at the SGC International printmaking conference held in New Orleans in 2012 and we decided to set up the exchange,” Lupo said.
Each of the students in Morgantown and Dubai created a print and made 40 copies of it so that each artist in the exchange could receive a copy. After the prints were exchanged, they were shown in exhibitions at each school and a copy of each student’s print also went into each printmaking program’s archives.
“This portfolio exchange was very exciting for the students in both countries, as they were able to see how artists from other cultures express themselves,” Lupo said.
In 2014, Lupo became part of another exchange when he was named a Big XII Fellowship winner at WVU and visited the University of Kansas during the spring of semester as part of the Big XII exchange program.
While in Kansas, Lupo gave a public lecture about his work, conducted critiques with students and gave a printmaking demonstration.
He hosted Big XII Fellow Michael Krueger from the Kansas printmaking program for a similar schedule of activities when Krueger visited the WVU Creative Arts Center.
“It’s really hard to quantify the impact of having time to sit and talk to a contemporary,” Lupo said after the exchange was over. “Even though Michael Krueger and I have different research interests, our basic interests in art, teaching and printmaking are very similar.
“This is one of those situations where maybe three years from now you realize you’ve changed because of the time you spent as a visiting artist.”
A Chicago native, Lupo received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Bradley University and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Georgia.
His work has been a part of more than 40 different solo and group exhibitions in more than 15 states and has appeared internationally in Denmark and Italy. Last year, he received the College of Creative Arts faculty award for research and creative activity.
See Lupo’s blog about his activities and those of his students at http://josephlupo.com/
CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts
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