Rody Lopez '09

Major: Studio Art
Profession: Graduate student, M.F.A. in exhibition design at California State University, Fullerton
Hometown: La Puente, California, and Guatemala

What are you doing now?

My M.F.A. thesis exhibition, “Living with Clay: California Ceramics Collections,” was on view through November 17, 2018 at the Nicholas & Lee Begovich Gallery at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). “Living with Clay” has been very well received with acclaim from CSUF, the Orange County Register, OC Weekly, Ceramics Monthly, and most notably the Los Angeles Times with four mentions as critic’s choice and a full, most-favorable review by Leah Ollman.

How did you get there? 

I earned my B.A. in art from Pomona in 2009 and was the recipient of three Getty Multicultural Undergraduate Internships during my summers there, which opened the doors to employment opportunities after graduation. I have been awarded seven Getty Scholarships and Fellowships, three NextGen Arts Grants, and was a participant in the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Getty Foundation’s Leadership in Arts Management Program (LAMP). Most recently, I served as associate director of exhibitions at the Long Beach Museum of Art where I managed the development and execution of curatorial/exhibition affairs.

Previously, for more than five years, I was employed as associate curator at the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) in Pomona where I curated and organized over 30 exhibitions.

I currently serve the impoverished children of Los Angeles in the development/communications department at Para Los Niños, a nearly four-decade's old social services nonprofit organization, while I complete my graduate degree. Simultaneously, I continue an independent curatorial practice working with galleries throughout Los Angeles.

How did Pomona prepare you? 

I started out as a chemistry, pre-med student at Pomona, like many of my classmates, but I enrolled in my first art history class with Los Angeles-based artist and professor Paul Botello and it changed my life. I immediately became enthralled with the art world, and the professors and staff of The Claremont Colleges facilitated and encouraged my newly-discovered passion. I took advantage of every opportunity offered to me by Pomona and learned as much as I could taking as many art classes available including ceramics from Adam Davis at Scripps College. It was there where my passion for clay started.

I received guidance from many professors and mentors including Mary MacNaughton, director, and Kirk Delman, collections manager of the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery at Scripps College; Adam Davis (ceramics, Scripps), Mercedes Teixido (drawing, Pomona), Michael O’Malley (sculpture, Pomona), Sandeep Mukerjee (painting, Pomona), Sheila Pinkel (photography, Pomona), Frances Pohl (art history, Pomona), Bruce Coats (art history, Scripps); Kathleen S. Howe, Sarah Rempel and Herbert S. Rempel '23 Director, Steve Comba, associate director/registrar, Rebecca McGrew, senior curator, and Gary Murphy, preparator of the Pomona College Museum of Art; and many, many others who influenced my career path.

Aside from the resources and the well-balanced selection of courses offered at The Claremont Colleges, I can safely say that the people and the relationships I built over my four years at Pomona better prepared me for the workforce and the uncertainties of life after graduation.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I see myself sharing what I love as I have been doing for the past nine years--creating exhibitions and art experiences in service to our culture.

Any advice for prospective or current students?

Make the right choice for you and not your parents. Choose a school that will make you happy and will allow you to pursue your passion or help you discover what your passionate about.

For current Sagehens, try everything! Become a sponsor! Study abroad! Become an RA! You are at the edge of Los Angeles County, so get on the Metrolink and get out of Claremont to visit Los Angeles! Go to museums! Go to the beach! Go to the desert! Take advantage of the incredible faculty Pomona has to offer, they are a gift! And most importantly, be true to yourselves.