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Professor of art encourages students to become artist-activists and get involved

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Lonnie Graham

As an award-winning visual artist, cultural activist, and professor of art in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State, Lonnie Graham focuses on a message geared toward social activism, inclusivity and selflessness.

Since Graham’s arrival at Penn State in 2003, the course of his teaching has directed his students to utilize social, political and cultural resources at their disposal to address the needs of their community, “in the same way that a painter would use all of the colors in a palette to create a visual image,” he said. “As modern artists we must assume a position of responsibility in our society, creating depth around essential issues in solving problems beyond the scope of our own personal experience.

“I want my students to look beyond their own self-obsession and to attempt to look at and understand other people in the world, while using their creativity to address the needs of others.”

Full story, by Joanna Carrasco and Laura Waldhier, as part of the Penn State Faculty Profiles in Diversity and Inclusion series