Born to a 3rd generation Chinese American father and a 2nd generation Chinese Canadian mother, Cheryll Leo-Gwin was born in Canada, but raised in Seattle with her younger bother and older sister. Cheryll studied metal design at the University of Washington where she earned her Bachelor’s of Fine Art in 1975, and her Master’s of Fine Art in 1977.
At the UW, Cheryll studied with John Marshall, Patti Warashina, Howard Kottler, Ramona Solberg, Val Wellman, and Fred Anderson. Her first solo show was at the gallery at Pacific Lutheran University, where after several years working in research and development in the porcelain enamel industry, her exhibition displayed for the first time, the unique porcelain enamel techniques she developed as a researcher.
Cheryll worked as an arts administrator at Bellevue Community College from 1993-2004, where she brought national recognition to her department through creative partnerships with Microsoft, Bellevue Art Museum, and the Smithsonian.
Her work with the China Workers’ Center for International Exchange in Beijing, has introduced her to her Chinese heritage, and the US Chinese Exclusion Act of 1852, which influences her current work.
Cheryll Leo-Gwin received recognition and numerous awards for her work: 2010-Bellevue Arts Commission, Special Projects Grant; 2009-Washington State Arts Commission, PDAP Grant; 2008-4Culture, Special Projects Grant; 1988 & 1990-King County Arts Commission, Special Projects Grant; 1990-Artist Trust, GAP Grant; 1977-Ford Foundation Grant. Her work is found in public art collections for Washington State, King County, Seattle’s Metro and the City of Redmond, WA, and numerous private collections.