Chinese art professor to spend a year at campus

February 01, 2012

A visiting scholar from China has joined the faculty at Penn State New Kensington for the 2012 spring and fall semesters.

Shenyu Xu, associate professor of art at Northeastern University in Shenyang, will teach art classes, exhibit her artwork, and give presentations at local high schools during her yearlong stay at the campus. The visit was arranged by Bud Gibbons, professor of visual arts at the New Kensington campus, and sponsored by a grant from the China Scholarship Council, a nonprofit institution affiliated with the Ministry of Education in Beijing. The council provides financial assistance to Chinese citizens who want to study abroad and to the foreign citizens who want to study in China.

Xu is teaching a course about art and Chinese culture during each semester. She is teaming with Gibbons to teach another art course -- drawing and painting. The works of students in the course will be exhibited in the art gallery in April.

“Professor Xu gives Penn State students the opportunity for cultural exchange through authentic Chinese art education right here on campus,” said Gibbons, a veteran of seven excursions to the Far East.

“Bud was instrumental in bringing Shenyu from her native China to share her amazing talent and expertise with our students,” said Arlene Hall, director of academic affairs at the campus.

Xu holds a bachelor’s degree in Chinese painting and a master’s degree in art and culture from the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang. She has written numerous book and articles on Chinese art.

In addition to her educator’s credentials, Xu is an accomplished artist and has exhibited throughout China. Emphasizing vivid colors, she works predominately with traditional Chinese paint colors on rice paper. Xu will display her works in the campus art gallery during May, the month usually reserved for Gibbons’ annual exhibit, “Paintings.”

“Her paintings are extraordinary,” said Gibbons, who has painted around the world in places such as Tibet and Peru. “I am giving my spot so we can highlight her works.”

When she is not teaching or exhibiting, Xu will travel to area schools to talk about her experiences in China and her perceptions of America.

The campus’ collaboration with Shenyang goes back to 1995, when Xu Yong of Luxun Academy was a visiting professor at the campus. Yong is the uncle of Shenyu Xu. Three years later, Gibbons’ went to China as a visiting professor at Luxun Academy. In 2005, he exhibited the works of Luxun students in the art gallery. The following year, Gibbons headed a delegation of students, faculty, staff and alumni that toured Shenyang and Beijing.

In 2007, Gary Heberling, information sciences and technology program coordinator at the campus, was the guest lecturer at Northeastern University. He taught problem-based learning to graduate students who were working on issues related to designing a database for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In the same year, Yafei Wang, an art professor at Northeastern, exhibited his paintings in the campus gallery. The connection to Northeastern continued in 2009 when its students displayed their art at the New Kensington campus.

Xu’s office is located in the Art Building, and she can be reached at via email.


  • Shenyu Xu will exhibit her paintings in May in the Art Gallery at Penn State New Kensington.

    IMAGE: Bill Woodard

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 02, 2012