Whimsical, warm, and welcoming. The perfect getaway, the ideal artist’s retreat, and the best kept secret in Southern France — Lacoste. This medieval village, perched atop the Luberon Valley, is known for endless lavender fields, blossoming cherry trees, and, for the past 20 years, SCAD students busily working to capture its grandeur. This creative paradise, paved by cobblestones and framed by gothic arches, is the quintessential location to launch and revivify one’s creative journey.
This Summer, the Savannah College of Art and Design reopened SCAD Lacoste, an imaginative center for the study of art and design sited in this beautifully preserved medieval village. In 2002, SCAD acquired the site and meticulously revitalized more than 30 historic structures. The university hosts dynamic activations throughout SCAD Lacoste, inspiring students, alumni, and visitors to the region.
Visitors to Lacoste can experience the creative process firsthand as they observe working artists selected for the prestigious SCAD Alumni Atelier, an elite artist residency conceptualized and endowed by SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace.
“It is an honor to represent SCAD through the Alumni Atelier,” says SCAD grad and alumni atelier associate Serge Ruffato. “I truly love taking part in this venture to celebrate alumni careers with a residency this summer in beautiful Lacoste. The marriage between the medieval history of the place and the powerful resource of SCAD makes for an ideal place to create art in contemporary tradition. I am thrilled for the opportunity and for the support of my SCAD family!”
Originated in 2015, the SCAD Alumni Atelier offers visionary graduates the time, space, resources, and business education to thrive creatively and professionally. As ambassadors or associates, alumni advance their careers, strengthen their connection to the university, and join a select cohort of emerging and established entrepreneurs, artists, designers, and scholars. Now in its sixth year, the SCAD Alumni Atelier has disbursed more than $1 million in support of new or expanded alumni ventures including fashion brands, jewelry collections, screenplays, feature films, exhibitions, and more — a testament to the university’s lifelong commitment to the SCAD community.
A new opportunity launched in 2021, the SCAD Alumni Atelier associateship encourages graduates to pursue their creative practice with a focus on engagement with the SCAD community. While creating, ideating, or brand building, associates reconnect with faculty, serve as student mentors, and engage with staff in admission, communications, and career and alumni success. SCAD Alumni Atelier associates Melinda Borysevicz (B.F.A., painting, 2011), Masako Maupu Masukawa (M.F.A., illustration, 1995; B.F.A., illustration, 1992), Liz Robb (M.F.A., fibers, 2014), Serge Ruffato (B.F.A., sculpture, 2012), and William M. Ruller (M.F.A., painting, 2013) will create new work in personal studios within the university’s enchanting medieval caves and share their artistic practice with students and the public throughout the summer.
“Summer sunshine bathes France’s Luberon Valley in lavender hues and beckons adventurers to SCAD Lacoste, where enthralling exhibitions and explorations await,” says President Wallace. “The SCAD Alumni Atelier’s Rue des Artistes invites visitors into working studios of SCAD grads –– a jeweler whose cast-bronze works echo influences of medieval French architecture, an en plein air painter whose new series evokes the region’s refulgence, and more. SCAD Lacoste welcomes the world to tour higher education’s premier international destination. À bientôt!”
2021 SCAD ALUMNI ATELIER ASSOCIATES
MELINDA BORYSEVICZ | B.F.A., painting, 2011
Melinda Borysevicz’s narrative paintings reflect a universal sense of searching and longing. Her work has been exhibited at venues including Manifest Gallery’s International Painting Annual, Figurativas 19 at the European Museum of Modern Art in Barcelona, the Museo Pablo Serrano in Zaragoza, Spain, and the RJD Gallery in New York. For the SCAD Alumni Atelier, Borysevicz is beginning a new series of works, taking inspiration from her en plein air studies of the landscape around Lacoste.
MASAKO MAUPU MASUKAWA | M.F.A., illustration, 1995; B.F.A., illustration, 1992
Based near Paris, Masako Maupu Masukawa has been a practicing artist for more than 20 years. Inspired by her mother’s sumi-e paintings, a traditional Japanese watercolor technique, Masukawa’s works are poetic, filled with fantasy yet at the same time tangibly nostalgic. For the SCAD Alumni Atelier, she engages modes of visual storytelling, creating new watercolor works that invite viewers to free their imagination and experience joy.
LIZ ROBB | M.F.A., fibers, 2014
In her artistic practice, Liz Robb focuses on soft sculpture. Based in Los Angeles, she creates textured surfaces and forms with natural materials such as wool, cotton, jute, and indigo. Robb has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally, and recently completed a residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. For the SCAD Alumni Atelier, Robb is creating La Vie en Rose (et Autre Couleurs), a space devoted to small designed works — including silk scarves, tassels, and assorted home wares — complemented by large-scale weavings created on-site.
SERGE RUFFATO | B.F.A., sculpture, 2012
Serge Ruffato is a Franco-American artist born and raised in Aix en Provence. In 2020, he was selected to exhibit work in the National Salon of Beaux Arts at the Carrousel du Louvre in Paris and at the Biennale of the National Union for Sculptors in Lyon. He also completed his first public art commission in Marseille. For the SCAD Alumni Atelier, Ruffato hones his metalworking skills, creating cast-bronze jewelry inspired by medieval French architecture and preparing a new exhibition.
WILLIAM M. RULLER | M.F.A., painting, 2013
Born in Gloversville, New York, William M. Ruller has exhibited across the U.S. and Europe. He has been featured in Whitewall and New American Paintings, and his work is held in numerous private collections. For the SCAD Alumni Atelier, Ruller is preparing an exhibition of recent abstract works on canvas and ceramic sculptures that connect the industrial landscapes of rural mill towns in the American Rust Belt with the Provence region of southern France renowned for silk production.
“I am incredibly grateful to President Wallace for inviting me to participate in the SCAD Alumni Atelier again this summer, this time as an associate,” says Ruller. “Getting the chance to represent the university and working alongside such a greatly talented and eclectic group of artists is a real honor for me. The idea of being able to create works in the traditional way, that have been made for centuries here in the Luberon Valley is most inspiring. To showcase my creations in a space that has existed since the middle ages is something that as an artist is almost like a dream.”
The university will also reopen shopSCAD in Lacoste. Nested on the Rue Saint-Trophime, the boutique retail space and gallery features an ever-changing melange of original jewelry, accessories, apparel, stationery, home décor, and unique gifts by SCAD students, alumni, and faculty.