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20 Under 40: Lauren Oliver

For years, Lauren Oliver, 35, has helped keep the art alive at the LaGrange Art Museum as the LAM deputy director.

“I started working at the museum in 2009 to 2011 as education coordinator, then moved to Columbia, Carolina for a few years,” Oliver said. “I returned to the museum in 2013 as the external relations coordinator and teaching various children’s art and cooking classes. Then, in 2017, I briefly served as interim director which led me to my current role at the museum.”

As deputy director, Oliver has the opportunity to see all the artistic creativity and passion that flows in and out of the LaGrange community.

“Visual arts is a passion career,” Oliver said. “I feel lucky to be doing something that I think is important and love: sharing ideas through art. I continuously stretch myself to do things outside of my job description, whether its utilizing new technology, researching artists, finding the perfect light bulb to illuminate artwork, to ironing 1,000 origami penguins.”

Oliver has also curated and designed numerous exhibitions at the museum and has successfully written grants to provide funding for outreach programming for the community.

“In March, I visited New York and spent a few hours talking with Corrine Jennings at the Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba House,” Oliver said. “Corrine and her late husband Joe Overstreet pioneered multi-cultural arts programming and exhibition spaces in the East Village, creating positive change for their community. It was a true inspiration to hear her stories of perseverance, view the amazing collection of African American artwork, and to have the opportunity to learn from a strong passionate woman.”

No matter where life takes her, Oliver wants to be surrounded by art and creativity.

She also has a 9-year-old daughter, who she says is full of energy and creativity.

“My career aspirations are simple: to create, advocate and facilitate lifelong learning and aesthetic development through the visual arts,” Oliver said.