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Li named recipient of Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship

Li-M.jpgMorehead State University’s Dongfeng Li, associate professor of art, was one of six Kentucky artists to be awarded a $7,500 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship 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.

Li 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.

“In recent years, I have been working on portrait and figure painting,” Li added. “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.”

Li’s watercolor painting titled “Out of the Darkness and Into the Light” was accepted by the exhibition jurors for inclusion in the 147th American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibition in New York. With his inclusion in the exhibition, Li became a signature member of the American Watercolor Society.

He has won many national awards including the “IDE Memorial Award” American Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibition, New York, 2008; First Place Award for Kentucky Watercolor Society Annual Aqueous Exhibition in 2012, 2015 and 2016; First Place Award for Missouri Watercolor Society Annual International Exhibition in 2016; First Place Award for Georgia Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition in 2016; and First Place Award for Illinois Watercolor Society Annual Exhibition in 2014.

Other 2017 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship recipients, their discipline and county of residence were Ann Stewart Anderson, mixed media, Jefferson; Amy Chase, sculpture, Jefferson; Stacy R. Chinn, sculpture, Fayette; Mike Elsherif, film, Jefferson; and Wayne Enstice, mixed media, Boone.

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).

Additional information is available by contacting Li at 606-783-2764.

For more information about MSU's Department of Art and Design, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/art.