Sharif Bey, an associate professor of studio arts in the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Art, was named a 2022 USA Fellow by United States Artists, an organization that illuminates the value of artists to American society and addresses their economic challenges.
USA Fellowships are $50,000 unrestricted awards, with a year of financial planning, that recognize artists for their contributions to the field and allow them to decide how to best support their lives.
Bey, a ceramicist, was one of 63 thinkers and makers who were selected. All of the selected artists are unbound in their thinking and unbound by the status quo. These generative practitioners create objects, movements, narratives, spaces and contexts that move our culture forward. Some are driven by the belief that shaping a better world is first and foremost a group effort. Others transform the unconventional, overlooked and mundane to build new worlds. And many work across mediums and genres to challenge established systems and norms, staying committed to their practices by resisting self-doubt and embracing play.
Bey's belief that "making art makes for a more fierce, more engaged citizen" underpins his passionate advocacy for the accessibility of art education and incorporation of artistic creation into everyday life. He challenges the view that art education is valuable only for those who hope to pursue it professionally.
Bey balances his time as a professor and scholar with a prolific studio practice and frequent exhibitions. His research informs his art, his art influences his teaching, and teaching, he says, inspires him to keep learning.