Lubeznik’s Lora Fosberg curates a canvas of representation and inclusivity

Lubeznik’s Lora Fosberg curates a canvas of representation and inclusivity

Lora Fosberg never imagined she’d one day be the Exhibition Director at Lubeznik Center for the Arts, but a phone call three years ago changed the trajectory of her career in a way she never expected.

In 2018, the curator at the time was getting ready to retire and also wasn't in the best of health. With a show quickly approaching, the Lubeznik needed someone to fill that person’s shoes as soon as possible, and they knew exactly who to contact to lend a hand.

“They called me up and said, ‘We need help right away. We have the show coming up and we need you to step in. Our curator is in the hospital,’” Fosberg said.

Fosberg mentioned that while she was happy in her current career and wasn’t looking for another job, she still wanted to help where she could. What she didn’t know at the time, though, was that she’d end up falling in love with the work at Lubeznik and sticking around a lot longer than originally planned.

“Now I'm on year three and I’ve really, really come to enjoy the job,” Fosberg said. “As an artist. I didn't really think about curating that much, honestly. But now that I do it, it's very artistic. It's very creative. And it's very expressive. So I have a new outlook on it. And now I'm getting really good at it.”

Fosberg has been a longtime supporter of Lubeznik, even before her employment. She frequently attended events and was also good friends with another curator, which allowed her to form other connections within Lubeznik.

“I really supported the institution with a lot of enthusiasm, and I was really, really happy that it came to my community,” she said.

Fosberg is an artist herself, specifically a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, and she dabbles a bit in ceramics. Her favorite piece that she’s created, a 6x25-foot collage, was actually designed for a show at Lubeznik back in 2012, and she continues to make smaller versions of the piece to this day.

“It's a collage piece; think of it like a starburst, something shooting out from the center,” she said. “The thing that makes up the starburst are little pieces of paper that have writing on them.”

These words on the paper come from many different sources of inspiration: song lyrics, literature, news articles, everyday conversations. She said she likes to include those who are known for their witty comments and also likes to focus on current events.

“Even though the concept chosen may be 100 years old, from like Winston Churchill or something like that, it’s still really apropos for the moment,” she said.

Fosberg said she makes art with enjoyment in mind. She wants everyone, from her colleagues to her neighbors and their families and everyone in between, to understand her work and be able to analyze it with ease.

“I really like to have a sense of humor in my work,” she said. “I really wanted to be approachable. So when I started making out as a young artist, one of the things I was always thinking about was that I really wanted the guy who pumps my gas to understand my art. I don't want it to be anything that makes you feel stupid. I want everyone to get it.”

Fosberg is especially keen on including current events in both her personal artwork and in her displays at Lubeznik. She is passionate about giving a voice to artists that may not have a platform to express their voice otherwise.

She was recently inspired by an exhibit at DePaul Art Museum at DePaul University in Chicago. While Chicago and DePaul University have a large LatinX population, the museum only had around 3% of LatinX artists in their collection. They realized that number was extremely low and made the bold move to publicly address the issue.

“Instead of being really quiet about it, they externally said, ‘We have a problem. We are going to mount this show, ‘LatinX,’ and we're only going to show LatinX artists for the entire year of 2020. And not only are we going to commit to that but we are going to commit to only collecting LatinX artists for our permanent collection for the whole year,’” she said.

Fosberg was greatly moved by this, calling the museum brave, and wanted to incorporate something similar into the Lubeznik Center as well.

“This is what all institutions should be doing,” she said. “LatinX artists are underrepresented, so I asked them if we could have the show travel to the Lubeznik Center, and they said yes. I really wanted for this to continue on and for this issue to be raised in multiple places, so that's what I did.”

Allowing LatinX and other minority artists to showcase their work at Lubeznik is a huge honor for Fosberg, and she’s committed to working hard to make sure all are included. 

“I'm really, really proud of that. And I'm really proud of them,” she said. “And I'm really proud of the Lubeznik Center and that we also are addressing this issue. It's a big deal for us, and we're really committed to this idea of showing every kind of artist from every gender and every color.”

Fosberg said the show, “LatinXAmerican,” runs until June 11, and all are welcome to attend to support the LatinX community.For more information on the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, visit the website here, and for more information on Fosberg’s personal work, click here to check out her online portfolio.