Lisa Guiliani is a champion for the arts in Morgantown, through her own beautiful ceramics and art studio, Lock House Studio, where she hosts resident artists, exhibitions and classes, to her work for Empty Bowls Monongalia, and through her support and promotion of other arts happenings and groups like The Bench, and local businesses like River Fair Trade, where her jewelry and functional ceramics is shown and sold now! She shares with Zackquill about how she ended up here and why she thinks Morgantown has a great environment for the arts and more!

Z: How did you end up in West Virginia?

In 2003, I decided to apply to WVU for graduate school in studio art. WVU had everything I wanted in an art program. As a grad student, you could go to China, there was a (ceramics) production studio with jigger-jollies and ram-presses, but mostly, I was interested in a program that focused on functional ceramics. Who knew that I would fall in love with a townie my last year and decide to stay?

Z: How did you come to be an artist?

 My mother is a painter. I was always interested in art. Besides, chemistry, it was my favorite subject. When I went to college, I was majoring in chemistry, but decided that I did not want to teach chemistry or work in a lab, so I decided to change my major to ceramics. It is the perfect blend of art and chemistry for my taste.


Z: How do you think the environment is for the arts in Morgantown? How do you think it could improve?

I think the environment is great. Of course, there could be more galleries, but they are hard to sustain financially. As the downtown SoWal district continues to grow and be recognized, that might come in the next couple years.

Z: What is your favorite thing about being an artist/creative/curator in Morgantown?

L: It is the community, really. There are so many artists and so many people that support the arts. Everyone is encouraging. The environment is noncompetitive and supportive. Loving. All of that goodness.

Z: Any advice for young artists in the area?

Advice would be to talk to other artists. It is a warm, community of artists, so get their feedback on your work. Take workshops to continue growth and build a network. Go to small business seminars, and join various entrepreneurial groups for support and social activities. Don’t feel like you are alone. There are tons of artists out there trying to make it happen.

Find more of Lisa’s work at River Fair Trade, 316 High Street in Morgantown,, and follow her studio on facebook: .


Sally Deskins is a writer, artist and curator based in Morgantown. She serves as Exhibits Coordinator for WVU Libraries and edits the international journal, Les Femmes Folles. Send her ideas to