Helping Young People Pursue a Life in the Arts
An art teacher and a practicing artist her entire life, Rhoda Lubalin credits teachers and a family of teachers for encouraging her. In 1936, her 8th grade teacher, Miss Curran, with bright red hair and purple clothes, urged Rhoda to apply to a brand new school, the High School of Music and Art, just created by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. She was accepted and joined 23 other teens chosen throughout New York City.
She went on to major in art at Hunter College, winning the art department award upon graduation. She then was granted a graduate fellowship to Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio. In addition to teaching, she worked every day in the studio of acclaimed sculptor John Rood. Rood’s studio was a magnet for every student visiting the University and the area. Meeting dancers, musicians and others involved in the arts made her time in Ohio “the most exciting year of my life.” She was the first person ever to earn a masters degree in sculpture.
Returning to New York, she became a visual arts teacher, a profession she pursued for 22 exciting years. During this time she raised her two sons as well as painting, illustrating and exhibiting. She also met her future husband, the renowned graphic designer Herb Lubalin, who encouraged her to enter a second important career as resource director of the graphics magazine U&lc (upper and lower case). The couple lived and worked in New York City and eventually bought a home in Millerton, NY. Today Rhoda lives in Amenia NY, surrounded by art—by her late husband, Herb Lubalin; her gifted sons, Joshua and Peter Sparber; her brother; many friends; and her own work.
Rhoda created the Rhoda Lubalin Art Scholarship in 1990 to encourage the arts locally. In 2008, she placed the scholarship under the aegis of Berkshire Taconic. The foundation handles the all administrative tasks for the award while Rhoda remains actively involved in the fund and the selection committee. “I’m happy to know the scholarship will continue well into the future, to encourage students to pursue their passion,” she said.