Tribute to Professor Mel Leipzig
April 29
Will Kick off Drive for a Student Art Gallery at MCCC

4-21-09

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -- A renowned New Jersey artist and professor at Mercer County Community College for more than 40 years, Mel Leipzig will be honored during a special tribute by former student and photographer Mike Dill, on April 29. The presentation will take place at 6:30 p.m., during the opening reception for the Visual Art Student Show, at the college's Gallery on the West Windsor Campus, Communications Building, Second Floor. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m.

MCCC President Patricia Donohue and other members of the Mercer family will join in thanking Professor Leipzig for his lifetime contributions to art education at the college and in the community. The event will also kick off a fundraising drive for a new Student Art Gallery on campus. Special prints designed by Dill and art student Ryan Lawler will be offered as donor gifts to those who contribute toward the Student Art Gallery Fund. Now in the early planning stages, the gallery would provide a dedicated space on campus where student artwork can be displayed in changing exhibits, and where gallery management can be part of the curriculum.

Mike Dill of Hamilton, who serves as director of Facilities at the college, and who has studied art and photographer there, credits Leipzig with teaching him the history of art and the appreciation of art. "Mel gave me a whole new outlook on art and I very much appreciate all he has done for me," Dill said. He was inspired to photograph Professor Leipzig because Leipzig often uses people and places at Mercer as subjects for his work. "I wanted to turn the spotlight around and focus it on Mel. I can't paint but I can photograph."

Professor Leipzig is currently serving as curator and featured artist in two exhibits at the New Jersey State Museum which will run through September 6: "Mel Leipzig: Selected Works" and "Artist as Curator: Mel Leipzig." He earned a Master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Yale University School of Art and Architecture, as well as a three-year certificate from The Cooper Union. Leipzig has participated in numerous one-man and group shows from the East Coast to Moscow.

Leipzig's paintings are part of the permanent collections of the White House, the Whitney Museum in New York City, The Cooper-Hewitt Museum, and The New Jersey State Museum. He was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. During his career Leipzig was the recipient of a Fulbright Grant to Paris, three grants from the New Jersey Council on the Arts, and a Certificate of Commendation from the State of New Jersey for contributions to the arts. He was the first teacher to be awarded Mercer's Distinguished Teaching Award.

For more information about the current State Museum shows visit the museum website here.

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