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Brent Kington

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Brent Kington Obituary
MAKANDA - L. Brent Kington, 78, of Makanda, Illinois, died on February 7, 2013. Kington was born July 26, 1934 in Topeka, Kansas, to Louis and Isabelle Kington. He is survived by his loving wife, Diana, whom he married on June 5, 1959. Also surviving are his two children, son, Tod Kington, and daughter, Brooke Sherritt. Brent Kington was a beloved husband, father, artist, educator, and mentor. Kington taught metalsmithing at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, School of Art and Design from 1961-1997, where he served with distinction as Chairperson from 1987 until his retirement. He leaves a remarkable legacy of former students, a large number of whom are now considered the nation's most celebrated and renowned contemporary metalsmiths and blacksmiths. In 2003, the SIUC Smithy was enlarged, renovated, and formally named The L. Brent Kington Smithy in his honor. Kington's career as an influential artist includes 370 exhibitions and at least 22 solo exhibitions. He was a visiting lecturer 83 times, spoke at 26 conferences, and was an exhibition juror on more than 40 occasions. Kington's extensive exhibition record includes venues across America and abroad. Most recently, a retrospective exhibition entitled L. Brent Kington, Mythic Metalsmith opened in 2007 at the Southern Illinois Art Gallery in Whittington, Illinois. The exhibition traveled to the Illinois State Museum, Chicago Art Gallery, the Southern Illinois University Museum in Carbondale, the National Ornamental Museum in Memphis, Tennessee, the Illinois State Museum in Lockport, and ended its tour in 2011 at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield. This retrospective featured more than 45 years of work, bringing together pieces from private and permanent collections for the first time. In 2011, Kington was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Society of North American Goldsmiths, recognizing him for more than 40 years of significant contributions to the field as an educator, as well as his lifelong commitment to professional organizations and the art of blacksmithing. He was honored with the Outstanding Artist Educator Award in 2009 by the Penland School of Crafts and the Lifetime Member Award in 2006 by the Artist-Blacksmiths Association of North America. In 2000, L. Brent Kington was chosen as 'one of the most prominent 100 artists and key figures in American craft' for the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project, administered by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. A major contributor to the American Studio Crafts Movement, L. Brent Kington is one of only forty five people in the United States to date to receive the American Craft Council's Gold Medal, the highest award bestowed to individual artists. Throughout most of his career, Kington has been honored with numerous prestigious awards. Perhaps the most important award of Kington's career and lifetime came in 2006 through an anonymous donor who established a permanent L. Brent Kington Chair at the School of Art and Design at SIUC with a one-million dollar endowment. Other honors include: The American Craft Council Trustee Emeriti in 1994; Artist-Blacksmiths Association of North America's Bealer Award for Distinguished Service in 1983; the National Endowment for the Arts' Craftsmen Fellowship in 1982; the American Craft Council's Academy of Fellows in 1978, and the National Endowment for the Crafts' Craftsmen Fellowship in 1975. Kington's work is included in many permanent collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, The National Ornamental Museum, Society of Contemporary Crafts, Friendship Hall in Nakjo, Japan, and The Mint Museum, among others. There will be a public visitation for L. Brent Kington at Meredith Funeral Home, 300 S. University, Carbondale, Illinois 62901 on Sunday, February 10, 2013, from 3:00 to 5:30 pm. Burial will be private. A public celebration of Brent's life and work will be announced at a later date. Memorials to the Brent Kington Metalsmith Scholarship Endowed Fund at Southern Illinois University Foundation, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901 are the preferred form of remembrance. L. Brent Kington
Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on Feb. 10, 2013
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