Laura Flusche '90 — You Gotta Have Art
Exhibiting A Love of Art
By Donna Parker
Laura Flusche relaxing in Central Italy during her tenure as an art history professor.
As the executive director of the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), Laura Flusche leads the staff in bringing in exhibitions, providing educational programs for children, overseeing social media efforts, fundraising, and advocacy. Providing effective leadership is indispensable.
"It's funny. I really wasn't a leader while a Trinity student, but the most valuable character aspect I gained there was clear confidence in my own abilities," ruminates Laura.
"I had been a success in high school, but freshman year at Trinity was shocking. I essentially had to learn how to learn, as well as learning a variety of subject areas that weren't my forte or that I wasn't completely comfortable in."
She rose to that particular challenge and, in fact, excelled in delivering what the professors wanted-especially Carolyn Valone, professor emerita of art history at Trinity, who informed Laura and the rest of her Renaissance art class that there was a lot of work in the course and they just better be able to do it. And, they better learn how to read Italian, because otherwise they wouldn't pass the class!
"So, I enrolled in an Italian class and taught myself," laughs Laura.
"Carolyn is now a lifelong friend, as well as my greatest inspiration."
"She was instrumental in teaching me the value of the arts and their value to our daily lives. Consequently, I feel that my current responsibility as the director of MODA is one of great responsibility in that I want to ensure this institution remains healthy and contributes to the community of Atlanta."
After earning her B.A. in art history, Laura graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with an M.A. in Italian Renaissance art in '94 and a Ph.D. in ancient Roman art and archeology in '99.
Her educational efforts paid off, as she utilizes her critical thinking skills to put on 3-5 exhibitions each year at the Museum of Design Atlanta.
"As we prepare exhibitions, I am challenged to become an expert in a wide variety of topics, which have included skateboard graphics, women as designers of video games, and bathroom fixtures. It's a new crash course every few months."
"I enjoy jumping in and pulling threads apart. That is figuring how cultural artifacts related to the historical context in which they were created. Doing that requires you to contextualize and think broadly at the very same time you're learning in-depth, skills I attribute to my Trinity professors."
Laura is a former academic herself, having taught 13 years at the University of Dallas campus extension in Rome. She loves teaching, a career path she discovered while a Trinity student.
"The education I got in art history and other specialized subjects taught me how much the arts reflect the world in which they're made. So, I admired professors, like Alida Metcalf in the history department, for example, who had a visible, tangible passion for what they were teaching. It made me wonder why they found it so fascinating and compelling."
Laura lives in Atlanta's midtown arts corridor, a redeveloped area that is being repurposed.
"I live in a wonderful mid-20th-century building that was formerly the Social Security building before it was remade into condos. I live just a mile from the museum and
walk to work most days." Laura says the restaurants and surrounding shops give the area a very pedestrian feel.
"But, my arts mission is at the heart of it all, so I spend a lot of time traveling to see other museums in the U.S. and abroad. I'm also a supporter of the Atlanta Dream, the local women's professional basketball team and go to most of their games at the Phillips Arena."
Laura played intramural volleyball at Trinity and was a Sigma Theta Tau, but mostly she hung out at the library with friends or in the "beautiful outdoors."
"The campus is so gorgeous. On my first visit, I was blown away by the natural setting among the hills. I'm curious and passionate about my work and see the world with an artistic eye. That began right on the Trinity campus."
You may contact Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org
Story posted: September 2013