Marketing & Communications: SAIC Student Nyugen Smith Named 2016 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellow

CHICAGO—The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts has announced that School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Master of Fine Arts (MFA) student Nyugen Smith is one of nine early-career artists awarded grants from the fund. As an Annenberg Fellow, Smith receives $50,000 a year for two years to help him further his artistic practice and achieve professional success. The only visual artist on the list of winners, Smith begins his fellowship upon completing his MFA at SAIC this summer.

Smith draws on his West Indian heritage in his work and is interested in the “confluence of cultures and sensibilities of the African and European experience within colonial and postcolonial contexts.” His fellowship enables him to pursue fieldwork in the Caribbean for mixed-media sculptural installations and drawings that draw on mythical and historical figures from Caribbean and American literature.

“We are delighted for Nyugen Smith on this recognition of his achievement,” said SAIC’s Dean of Faculty Lisa Wainwright. “Nyugen’s interdisciplinary practice is a true testament to the philosophy behind our MFA, as is his use of personal heritage to explore and engage with larger historical and theoretical concerns. The Annenberg Fellowship provides Nyugen with a wonderful opportunity to continue this invaluable work.”

Last fall, Smith and SAIC faculty member and alum Cheryl Pope (BFA 2003, MDes 2010) were invited to the White House to give a collaborative performance in honor of National Youth Justice Awareness month.

About Leonore Annenberg

Leonore Annenberg (1918–2009) was US Chief of Protocol for President Ronald Reagan and wife of the late Ambassador Walter H. Annenberg. Mrs. Annenberg established the grants to support her lifelong commitment to public service, education, and the arts. All grants are made on an invitation-only basis, in consultation with a partner organization. Visit for more information.

The Leonore Annenberg Fellowship Fund for the Performing and Visual Arts is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

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