Painting the Future

Zheng L. Feng
Zheng L. Feng

Internationally renowned artist and Radford University art professor Z. L. Feng M.F.A. ’89 is no stranger to finding inspiration for his work from the world around him. When forming the Zheng L. Feng International Scholarship Endowment in Art, he did not have to look very far.

“I came here from Shanghai in 1986, and at that time it was very tough for an international student to receive financial aid,” explains Feng. The scholarship, established in 2000, is awarded to an international student in art every year.

“I think that we need to do as much as we can to provide aid for international students,” Feng continues. “That way we will be able to attract more students from the international community and keep Radford University competitive.”

Feng is able to supplement the scholarship by donating half of all proceeds from art sold during his “The Art of Feng” exhibits.

“I did my first show in 1998 after my first sabbatical,” he says. “I didn’t expect much, but it was very well received by the public. It was then that I was able to launch the scholarship.”

A second sabbatical begat “The Art of Feng No. 2” in 2008, the first to be held at the Covington Center for the Arts. This show was more successful than the original, selling 29 pieces of art.

“The Art of Feng No. 3,” held in January of 2016, was such a success, with more than 30 framed original watercolor and oil paintings sold, that it allowed Feng to begin the process of establishing a second scholarship for the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

“With the third show, I was able to help create another scholarship for the Arts Department — one open to all students,” Feng explains. “We need to be able to offer more scholarships for the Arts Department in order to help attract more students with talent. Otherwise, these students will go to other universities.”

Feng explains that, just as he does not want Radford University to miss talented students, he also does not want any student to miss what Radford University can offer them.

“I have spent over 30 years at Radford University. I really love the University, the city and the community. It is a wonderful place to raise a family. It is my second hometown. It is my children’s only hometown,” he explains. “I feel that the shows are a great thing. People are able to see and purchase my art and I am able to contribute to the scholarship — it is a win-win for everyone.

“I am just happy to be able to do this.”