Artist named Liv­ing Trea­sure

State Arts Coun­cil hon­ors Hot Springs sculp­tor, painter Xu

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - OBITUARIES - THE SEN­TINEL-RECORD

The Arkansas Arts Coun­cil on Fri­day an­nounced Longhua Xu of Hot Springs as this year’s Arkansas Liv­ing Trea­sure.

“Xu has ded­i­cated his life to re­fin­ing his art and is a won­der­ful ad­di­tion to our Liv­ing Trea­sure pro­gram,” Stacy Hurst, di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Arkansas Her­itage, said in a news re­lease.

“Xu is a tal­ented sculp­tor, painter and teacher who has been in­stru­men­tal in per­pet­u­at­ing and de­vel­op­ing art and artists in Hot Springs and through­out the state. Arkansas’ cre­ative legacy is in­deed richer due to Xu’s many con­tri­bu­tions.”

The Arkansas Liv­ing Trea­sure pro­gram an­nu­ally rec­og­nizes an Arkansas artist who ex­cels in the cre­ation of a tra­di­tional craft and who pre­serves and ad­vances their craft through com­mu­nity out­reach and by teach­ing oth­ers, the re­lease said. Xu will be hon­ored dur­ing a cer­e­mony in May.

“I’m glad to share knowl­edge with the peo­ple and to keep art alive,” Xu said in the re­lease.

Most re­cently, Xu ex­hib­ited “The Soul of Arkansas,” a se­ries of 40 paint­ings at the Hot Springs Con­ven­tion Cen­ter. The ex­hibit opened in Oc­to­ber and drew to a close on Mon­day.

Xu told the news­pa­per in Septem­ber that he chose to dis­play his work in the con­ven­tion cen­ter be­cause the art be­longs to the com­mu­nity. By choos­ing to fea­ture it out­side of a gallery, Xu said he feels more peo­ple in the com­mu­nity and peo­ple vis­it­ing the area would have ac­cess to it and not be con­strained by a gallery’s typ­i­cal op­er­at­ing hours.

The col­lec­tion of 40 paint­ings fea­tures scenes he ob­served while trav­el­ing through­out the state. Un­like other works of art that fo­cus on so­ci­ety’s def­i­ni­tion of beauty, Xu told the news­pa­per he worked to bring out the nat­u­ral beauty of the com­mu­nity and fea­ture real peo­ple of all ages, shapes and sizes.

An in­de­pen­dent panel chose Xu as this year’s Liv­ing Trea­sure be­cause of his wood carv­ings. The panel cited his qual­ity of work, con­tri­bu­tions to tra­di­tional crafts fields and ef­forts in the com­mu­nity, the re­lease said.

“Xu has stud­ied and prac­ticed art all of his life. He em­i­grated from China to the U.S. in 1989 and set­tled in Hot Springs in 1990. He has taught in pres­ti­gious schools world­wide and in the U.S. When he moved to Arkansas, Xu taught at Hen­der­son State Univer­sity and at a com­mu­nity col­lege. He re­tired from higher-ed­u­ca­tion in­struc­tion in 2001 but con­tin­ues to teach tal­ented stu­dents in his pri­vate stu­dio,” the re­lease said.

Xu has ad­vo­cated for arts ed­u­ca­tion and in­di­vid­ual Arkansas artists for nearly 30 years. In 1990, he and his wife pub­lished A Gath­er­ing of Artists: Hot Springs — Arkansas, Vol­ume 1, a book that fea­tured 13 artists’ works and raised pub­lic aware­ness of the artists in Hot Springs. He meets reg­u­larly with other artists to share his knowl­edge, the re­lease said.

Xu was com­mis­sioned in 1992 to pro­duce Mother Na­ture, a sculp­ture that dom­i­nates the me­dian at Cen­tral Av­enue and Foun­tain Street, near the Ar­ling­ton Re­sort Ho­tel & Spa.


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