Alumni Spotlight

Chris Lahti ’01
Head of Curating
Gemini G.E.L. (CA)

Major: Art

Activities: Men's Cross Country, Men's Track & Field, Art Club

What first attracted you to Whittier College? During my initial campus visit, I was inspired by the environment inside Wardman Gym (the art building). The open layout of the studio spaces felt progressive and appealed to my interests of exploring new ideas through visual art. Witnessing all the displayed artworks and eclectic space, it was obvious that there was a high level of activity. It felt like a place where I would be comfortable to learn and be inspired.

Why did you choose to study art? I knew very early on that art was the area which I excelled in school. By the time I entered high school, it was obvious that I wanted to be involved in the visual arts, but it was not until I was at Whittier that I found printmaking as my area of interest.

Describe your experience at Whittier College. What was your favorite class? My experience at Whittier was a period of investigative growth both personally and artistically. I had many experiences that all seemed to center around the energy that occurred between the social life of interacting with friends, making art, taking classes, and developing mentorships with faculty. Studio art classes were my favorite, especially JanTerm art courses where you had a chunk of time to focus on one technique. 

What was your first job after Whittier? What are you currently up to? How has your Whittier education benefited you professionally?  I immediately entered a three-year graduate study program at The University of Iowa where I received my MA and MFA in printmaking with a minor in sculpture. While in school, I was a teacher’s assistant and taught beginning print courses. I also worked as a preparer (art handler) for several art museums in the Midwest. After graduation, I returned to the LA area and instructed printmaking as an adjunct faculty at Whittier. I also worked as a preparer for the Norton Simon Museum. Currently, I work as the head of the curating department at fine art publisher, Gemini G.E.L., and instruct beginning printmaking classes at the University of Southern California. 

What advice would you give to future art students when they graduate? Get involved in the art world and find a place to make art, even if it is in your home. And don't stop making it. Creating art should be your top priority.    

Finish this sentence: I am a ‘Poet for Life’ because… the skills and experiences I learned at Whittier still serve me today. 

-Are you a graduate of the Department of Art & Art History and want to share your story? Contact the Office of Communications at therock@whittier.edu.

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