Leslie Bell was born in 1947 in Duke Ellington’s hometown of Washington D.C. and grew up in the galleries and museums there. He studied with Christian Brothers in high school, ran track and cross-country and watched the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Mr. Bell came to the Midwest in 1965 to study art with Father Edward Catich, the world-renowned calligrapher, epigrapher and graphic designer, at St. Ambrose University earning his BA there in 1972. He received an MFA in painting in 1974 from Northern Illinois University , where he studied with Walter Ball and Richard Beard. His artwork has been displayed in one-person shows at many universities and galleries from coast to coast and has been represented in galleries in Chicago , Atlanta , Tampa and the Quad Cities Mr. Bell’s work has been figurative for 15 years and tells stories of love, education, longing and nature. Jerry Cullum, editor of Art Paper and critic for Art in America has said, “His recent paintings are a rare combination of vision, skill and wit. The stories are enacted in brilliantly composed landscapes amid stunning effects of light. Bell ‘s imagination has created not just magical realism, but real magic.”
His awards include a fellowship in painting from Arts Midwest/NEA, the Special Recognition ward-best in painting-from the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa Artists, two first prize and purchase awards from the Davenport Museum of Art (Figge Art Museum), and grants from the Iowa Arts Council and Quad City Arts.
Mr. Bell is a founding member and chair of the Artist Advisory Council to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport , Iowa , and founding member of Open Cities Film Society, the Photo Image League and Riverssance Festival of Fine Arts. He’s been a professional musician and plays guitar and harmonica. He is a professor of art at St. Ambrose University in Davenport , Iowa where he lives with his wife, Sara, who is also a painter.
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