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Al Smith artist fellowships celebrate 30 years with ‘Uncommon Wealth’ exhibit at the Lyric


The Kentucky Arts Council kicked off a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship program with a new exhibit, “Uncommon Wealth,” at the Lyric Theatre in Lexington, with a special talk scheduled for Oct. 20.
The exhibit features work by 62 visual and craft artists whose careers have been recognized with a fellowship from the arts council. The exhibit will be at the Lyric Theatre until January and then will travel across the state.
“Receiving an Al Smith Fellowship is a benchmark of excellence in the careers of Kentucky’s professional artists,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “Fellowship recipients are respected among their peers in the Commonwealth and across the nation. We are excited about celebrating the program and the work of the artists who have established its legacy.”

Metal artist Felicia Szorad, an art professor at Eastern Kentucky University, is an Al Smith Fellowship recipient for 2014. (KyForward file photo)

Metal artist Felicia Szorad, an art professor at Eastern Kentucky University, is an Al Smith Fellowship recipient for 2014. (KyForward file photo)

Since 1983, the Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship Program has supported Kentucky artists engaged in creating high quality artwork and recognized creative excellence in practicing, professional Kentucky artists. The $7,500 fellowships are given annually on a rotating basis by discipline. Fellowship recipients are selected by panels of out-of-state, discipline-based arts professionals.
The program is named after Smith, a Kentucky journalist who served as chair of the arts council board of directors from 1977-79 and 1981-84, and helped establish the program.
In conjunction with the exhibit, an “Uncommon Wealth” gallery talk is scheduled for Oct. 20 at 3 p.m. at the Lyric. The event will feature fellowship recipients discussing their work in the exhibit, their lives as professional artists and the effect receiving a fellowship had on their careers. The Lyric will be open that day from 2-5 p.m. to the public.
The arts council has also created an online directory of Kentucky artists who have received fellowships from 2010-14. The directory features biographical information about the fellowship recipients, and photos and descriptions of the artists and their work. The directory is online here.
“Uncommon Wealth” activities will take place across the state from now until August 2014, and will include the work of some of the 383 fellowship recipients in the visual arts, literary arts, media arts, musical composition and choreography.
Fellowships are awarded based on the quality of the work submitted by the artist. Awards are unrestricted and may be used in any way to enhance the artist’s career.
The Lyric Theatre is located at 300 N. Third St. in Lexington. Its gallery is open to the public from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturday.
From KAC

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