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September 4, 2018
Authentic: Libby Modern
Walking into Modern Art on West Chestnut Street is like walking into a daydream. That is, as long as your daydreams are colorful, hopeful, meaningful, and beautifully optimistic. The woman responsible for the whimsy and wonder that is Modern Art is our Fig Authentic, Libby Modern. Libby has been using her approachable studio space in Lancaster as a launchpad for creating, collaborating, ideating, and change-making for the last five years. When Libby first moved into the space, she imagined it would be the perfect studio for her socially conscious graphic design company and as a workspace for creating her own art. However, the giant windows that light up the space also invite the world outside, inside, and soon Libby decided that the studio wasn’t just her own, but had a greater purpose in connecting, empowering, and inspiring the neighborhood through art.
With a socially conscious mission in her design work, and a passion for design thinking as a means of problem solving, Libby is also passionate about engaging the City of Lancaster in addressing issues of social justice, human connection, and seeing things from a new perspective through creation and sharing. “What I really want to do is to think about art in a different way. Modern Art projects often catch people off guard—such surprise serves to spark imagination and break down social barriers. I’m always looking for ways we can do that in this City that is very diverse but still segregated; there are so many people who are doing amazing things here that need to be connected,” she says. “When creative, caring, engaged citizens connect, change is born.”
Through interactive projects, workshops, machines, and design, Libby invites the community to challenge old ideas, face fears, and embrace the power of togetherness. In “Word From Your Neighbor,” Libby gave a voice and a platform to community members to leave notes to their neighbors. Through “The Phonotel”, visitors were challenged to disconnect from their phones and reconnect to their community, thoughts, and intuition. Through collaborations with the Common Wheel, monthly concerts, windows that act as canvases for inspiration and encouragement, and an inclusive and intentional open door policy, Libby has truly used her space, her art, her conscience, and her creativity as a way to bring Lancaster together.
Each new creative process manages to celebrate the community, make us think, help us to see one another, and encourage us to work together to make this world more winsomely weird.