Six Kentucky artists have been awarded $7,500 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council for exemplifying excellence in their respective creative disciplines.
The prestigious award, named in honor of former arts council board chair and Kentucky journalist Al Smith, recognizes professional artists who have reached a high level of achievement in their careers.
Since its beginning in 1983, the program has provided more than $2.5 million in funding to artists in the visual arts, literary arts, media arts, composing and choreography. In this round of funding, the fellowships were awarded to artists in the visual and media arts disciplines.
The 2017 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients, their discipline and county of residence include:
Ann Stewart Anderson, mixed media, Jefferson
Amy Chase, sculpture, Jefferson
Stacy R. Chinn, sculpture, Fayette
Mike Elsherif, film, Jefferson
Wayne Enstice, mixed media, Boone
Dongfeng Li, painting, Rowan
Li, an associate professor of art at Morehead State University, said the fellowship award gives him a new starting point in his career, and provides the impetus to do new cultural research.
“I have been working on my research for the comparison of the people in different cultures and professions in different countries. Especially the ethnic group people in the United States of America and in China. So I plan to use the award to do the travel, art supply and art related equipment for my research, said Li.
“In recent years, I have been working on portrait and figure painting. I am interested in the difference in the professions, culture and education status among people of different countries. When I spend time doing the investigation, I find the differences and similarities are amazing,” added Li.
Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowships are awarded in different disciplines each year on a rotating schedule. The next round of fellowship applications will be open to literary artists (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and play/screenwriting).
In addition to the Al Smith Fellowship recipients, three Kentucky artists will receive Emerging Artist Awards. This $1,000 award recognizes practicing, professional artists who create original work and are in the first 10 years of their arts careers.
For this round of Emerging Artist Awards, panelists considered entries from artists in the visual and media arts disciplines.
The 2017 Emerging Artist Award recipients, their discipline and county of residence include:
Jason Gray, video, Kenton
Justine Riley, sculpture, Graves
Michelle Strader, ceramics, Boyd
Emerging Artist Award applications are accepted in different disciplines on a rotating basis. The next round of awards will be for literary artists (fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and play/screenwriting).
“Our Al Smith Fellowship and Emerging Artist Award recipients represent the best in their disciplines, and we count them as ambassadors for Kentucky’s artistic excellence,” said Lydia Bailey Brown, arts council executive director. “Their awards are well deserved, and we look forward to more great work from them in the future.”
For more information on the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship and the Emerging Artist Award, contact Tamara Coffey, arts council individual artist director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-892-3121.
(story provided by Kentucky Arts Council)