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Raised in a family of accomplished artists, Laura Anne Fry (1857–1943) was trained in sculpture, drawing, wood carving, and all aspects of pottery production. She was a charter member of the Cincinnati Pottery Club, founded in 1879, before joining Rookwood Pottery in 1881 as a member of the company’s first design department.

In her lecture, Laura F. Fry—great-great-niece of the artist—will discuss the life and work of this remarkable pioneer of the American Art Pottery movement.

During her time with Rookwood, Laura Anne Fry developed and patented a technique for creating subtle color gradients in glazes using an atomizer, which became an integral component for the popular Rookwood Standard glaze. She left Rookwood in 1887, and from 1891 to 1922 had a successful career leading the art department at Purdue University in Indiana.

Laura F. Fry, Senior Curator and Curator of Art at Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma since 2015, has a BFA in ceramics from Washington University, St. Louis, and an MA in art history from the University of Denver. Fry is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, and her research interests include art of the American West, women of the Arts & Crafts movement, contemporary Native American art, and her own Fry family history with decorative arts in 19th-century Cincinnati.

Fry has been a past speaker at the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) and the Grove Park Inn Arts & Crafts Conference in Asheville, NC. Her recent projects include co-curating the exhibition Albert Bierstadt: Witness to a Changing West, focusing on the American painter’s impact on wildlife conservation in the late 19th century. Today, she is spearheading a new Interpretive Plan for Gilcrease Museum, which will guide future exhibitions of American art, history, and culture for an $83 million museum renovation and expansion.