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Reesey Shaw

Reesey Shaw picture

Printmaking/MFA Photography

Class of 1964, 1966

Founding Director, Lux Art Institute, Encinitas, CA

“Creativity, it seems to me, is now the critical discipline of this century. To me, art is what makes life worth living. It’s enough to inspire you forever.” 

Transferring to MICA after two years at Boston University was literally coming home for Reesey Shaw '64, '66, a Baltimore native who had taken classes at the College as a child and returned to earn a BFA in printmaking and an MFA in photography. Her time on campus involved interaction with Clyfford Still, Grace Hartigan, Margaret Mead and Robert Forth. The intellectual and artistic exploration she engaged in while at MICA helped set the stage for a transformative career.

She is an accomplished artist and has a passion for helping others engage in the creative process. In founding the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas, CA, she found a way to support artmaking at both ends of the talent spectrum—working with both experienced, accomplished artists and the youngest elementary school students who, she says, can be hamstrung by an educational system that doesn’t put enough value on creativity.

Nestled among breathtaking vista in Southern California, Lux invites internationally acclaimed artists to residencies at the Institute. Fellow MICA alumna and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, Elizabeth Turk for example, recently completed a residency there.

hey live and create in facilities designed especially to foster the creative process. The public, including many students, is then invited to witness artmaking firsthand and, often, to interact directly with the artist. But the work of the Institute doesn’t stop there. Through the Luxcursion program, students from elementary school through college come to the Institute and watch the artist make creative decisions. The students also create their own work. In addition, the institute has also developed teaching materials used in classrooms to spur artistic development.

Establishing Lux was an extension of artmaking for Shaw . She sees a need for reinvention in the art world—to focus more on the needs of the living artist .

Lux Art Institute represents that new model, with the tag line, “Don’t Just See Art, See Art Happen.” Continuing to follow her pioneering spirit, Shaw is planning a dramatic expansion of the facility, including more exhibition space, a curatorial library, and an expanded education pavilion.