PA Wilds juried artist new to area

Stacie Johnson-Leske, a ceramics artist, recently relocated to the area with her husband because she was intrigued by the Pennsylvania Wilds. “My husband and I like to do outdoorsy things for our anniversary every year,” said Johnson-Leske. “We researched the PA Wilds and found that Ridgway had both bicycle trails and kayaking. So we stayed at a bed and breakfast in St. Marys and visited Ridgway.”Able to create her art anywhere, Johnson-Leske had made the transition to Ridgway. “We found the town of Ridgway to be so charming,” she said. “We found we would be much happier if we lived in an area like this.”Now that she is here in the PA Wilds, Johnson-Leske can get a better grasp on a local presence. “I was recently juried into the PA Wilds Artisan Initiative,” Johnson-Leske said. “I have the ability to get into things without this distinction, but it is yet another plus. It helps me get a better footing in local galleries.”Her pottery is currently displayed at galleries throughout the area. Johnson-Leske enjoys being a part of galleries and presenting her work. Currently Johnson-Leske’s pottery is displayed at the Elk County Council on the Arts in Ridgway, the Flemish House Art Gallery in Johnsonburg, and beginning in December, it will be exhibited at the Winkler Gallery of Fine Arts in DuBois. “I prefer to be involved in shows and galleries,” Johnson-Leske said. “It helps you challenge yourself. There is always a challenge when people are being critical of your work, and it is a good affirmation when you are accepted.”Johnson-Leske has been involved in pottery for only a few years. She grew up being a ballerina in the D.C. area, and even attended a performing arts high school where she majored in ballet. “During my time there, I was examined by a physician and instructed to change my major due to health reasons,” Johnson-Leske said. “I changed my major to technical theater. Later I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatrical Lighting Design from the North Carolina School of Arts, a branch of the University of North Carolina.”Pick up a copy of the Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.