Lou Stovall: An Artist of Friendship

At the 2018 Rubenstein Guest Artist Lecture, community, imagination, and nature converge.

If you have recently visited the Daryl Reich Rubenstein Gallery, you might have felt like you’d stepped into a more-perfect world. A magical vision of nature welcomes you, inviting you to luxuriate in impossibly dense grass at a river’s bend or wend your way through tangled tree roots.

Lou Stovall—acclaimed artist, former Sidwell Friends parent, and longtime resident of the Cleveland Park neighborhood—has reprised his role as Rubenstein guest artist with a collection showcasing his exquisite silkscreens and bold collages.

On Wednesday, November 7, Lou spoke to the Sidwell Friends community about his creativity, inspiration, and artistic process at the 2018 Rubenstein Guest Artist Lecture. Throughout his remarks, Lou reinforced the significance of community and friendship in his artistic expression, which—as guest speaker and acclaimed poet E. Ethelbert Miller revealed—includes poetry as well as visual arts. Lou fondly recalled his relationships with esteemed artists Sam Gilliam and Jacob Lawrence, and reflected on the inspiration he drew from the students who passed through his studio. 

Lou hopes that his own art provides some of the stimulation that Sidwell Friends students need to bring their own artistic visions to life. He spoke with Upper School students before the lecture, and Middle School students channeled Lou’s artistic expression into their own interpretation of his art. Lou was amazed. “It’s incredible!” he said. “I can’t wait to get back to my own work now.”

Lou pushes the limits of imagination while evoking fantastical representations of nature, but his sense of community may be his defining quality as an artist. “Lou Stovall creates a community of artists and non-artists, and artists of different media, that come together and appreciate each other,” explained one lecture attendee. “He is an artist of friendship.”

See more photos from the event here.

About the Rubenstein Guest Artist Lecture and Program

Lee Rubenstein and his children, Beth Rubenstein ’77Barton Rubenstein ’81, and Amy Rubenstein ’84, are the benefactors of the annual Daryl Reich Rubenstein Guest Artist program to honor the memory of Lee’s late wife, Daryl. Daryl was passionate about the arts, curated many exhibits at Sidwell Friends and other galleries and museums, including “Max Weber: Prints and Color Variations” at the Smithsonian Institution. Daryl also wrote many articles for art magazines. Her catalogue raisonné of Max Weber’s graphic prints was published by the University of Chicago Press and later reissued in digital format. The Rubenstein Guest Artist program was established in 1981 by Lee Rubenstein. Since its inception more than 30 nationally recognized guest artists have exhibited at Sidwell Friends and shared their life’s work and talents with students, faculty, and other art lovers.

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