A special thank you to this year's Presenting Sponsors!
2022 Artist Bio and inspiration for their artwork
Kathleen is a Bradford native, and graduate from Bradford Area High School in 2015. Following high school, she went to Edinboro University where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2019. After graduating college, she returned home and found herself working as the art teacher at Archbishop Walsh/STCS academy in Olean, NY. She has spent the past couple of summers working at Graham's Greenhouse and Landscaping and could not speak more kindly of the Grahams. She is currently still teaching and has returned to Edinboro online to earn her Masters of Arts Education degree.
Tending to the Flowers - Since she was very young she can remember going to the greenhouse with her mother. The colors, shapes, and smells could put any child into amazement. She realized those same feelings she had as a child were not limited to adulthood. She was fortunate enough to be hired at this very greenhouse. She immediately noticed the impact the greenhouse has on our community and how it holds such a special feeling for many people in Bradford. It is a place where you are always greeted with care and warmth. That feeling is not limited to the Grahams and their employees, the environment itself is full of life and color. Many of these people take home a piece of the greenhouse with them and grow it into something beautiful for themselves and maybe even the generations that follow.
Anjalyn graduated from Alfred University in 2017 with a degree in Fine Arts. Anjalyn does commissions in her free time, consisting mostly of portraits. She has recently begun working in a studio space on Union St. in Allegany, NY. Anjalyn prefers to use charcoal, color pencils, ink, or digital art programs as mediums. Anjalyn is heavily inspired by the horror genre, including movies and literature. Anjalyn is also currently working on a few projects outside for commissions. Digitally, she is working on characters for a horror graphic novel and beginning to work on a 7’ x 10’ drawing. Anjalyn began large-scale drawings in college, the largest being 8’ x 28’, and has been unable to satiate the want to create more of them until now.
Strolling By The River On A Misty Morning - The painting was inspired by early morning kayak adventures and local flora, fauna and homosapiens.
Rick Minard was born and raised in North Western Pennsylvania and currently lives in Bradford, PA. His paintings appear in both private and public collections in Buffalo, New York, Huntington Beach, California, Guanajuato, Mexico and Geneva, Switzerland. He maintains an art studio in his home, and worked for many years as a graphic designer. He is now an adjunct professor, teaching art courses at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford and Jamestown Community College. Rick is also a managing partner in the Allegheny Mountain Arts Gallery where he oversees exhibitions and community engagement. Rick's paintings range from abstract figurative and landscape images to non-representational expressions of hue and surface variation. He strives to find ways to integrate his experience and skills in commercial graphic design with his love of drawing and painting. He is also a printmaker, specializing in lino-cut and fine art screen printing. But what he is known for are his unique woven paintings. This process began as an assignment during his undergraduate studies. Being a painter, he chose to cut up two of his figure paintings and weave them together. This soon became his most notable process, exploring color, texture form and pattern. He earned an Associate’s Degree in Visual Communications from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh in 1988. He went on to earn his Bachelors of Fine Art Degree in Painting from Clarion University in 1997. In 2010 he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Rochester Institute of Technology. Over the years he has been accepted into numerous juried shows and has won such awards such as Best of Show and People’s Choice. www.rickminard.com
Northward View - An abstract representation of an aerial view of Bradford at night.
Greg has been creating art since he was a child mostly drawing and painting. In his spare time as an adult he has worked in many types of media, including oils, acrylics, ceramics, welding, woodworking and murals. All his skills have been self taught and he is always looking for something new to create. www.gregsouchik.com
Winter Forest Road - Inspired by the beauty of the Allegheny's in the winter time, along with the ever changing weather.
Michelle Huber Chapman
Michelle loves art! She has some formal education in fine arts from Cazenovia College as part of her Design degree. She has "tinkered" for years with different mediums. In 2010 she began selling pen and ink drawings, which morphed into teaching painting classes for adults and children. She also taught watercolor classes and batiking as part of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford's Continuing Education curriculum. As of recent (post covid) she has been taking a hiatis from teaching and selling her art to focus on her other job. (AKA real career as some would say.) Wood burning has become a hobby she loves and is happy to be a part of Heart of the Arts this year.
Out Our Way - She loves old barns and the stories held in their walls and fields. She decided to title it "Out Our Way" for her Grandmother who used that reference often when she saw places that were run down or abandoned.
Alexis started painting when she started college, and has been painting for 3 years. She also enjoys making pottery and did that throughout high school. Although she has fun painting, she doesn't get to do it that often.
Bleu - Inspired by the McKean County Fair Cows. Plus she loves cows!
Sierra grew up the middle child in an Airforce family of seven. Having lived in many states in her youth, she was exposed to the terrain of various geographical areas of our beautiful country. Using this upbringing as a source of inspiration, Sierra's art revolves around nature, landscapes, and the different natural elements. She uses a mix of acrylics, paint markers and colored pencils to create the worlds she sees. She went on to explore more of her creativity at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. In her senior year at Pitt-Bradford, she completed her first series of paintings during a directed study depicting children's relationships with nature. This series aimed to show how a child's imagination is enhanced when spending time in nature and providing positive mental health in a time of technology. During this study, Sierra wanted to explore the link between daydreaming, creating, and grounding oneself in nature to help alleviate anxiety or depression. From that moment, Sierra continued to explore the relationships between nature, art, and mental health through the use of acrylic paints. Sierra uses impressionist brush strokes, bright colors and a general "trust the process" attitude to complete her artwork. Wanting to share the love of art, Sierra opened up an Etsy shop, Stories to Craft, in 2013 creating clip art for other creative entrepreneurs to use. Between commissioned paintings and daydreaming, Sierra self-published her first coloring book "Backwards Coloring Book" in August 2021. The book displays colored images that need finishing touches, doodles, and details - only a pen is needed. This book was created to be carried around by creatives alike looking for color prompts to exercise their daydreaming imagination and find doodling a way to alleviate anxiety. Sierra wanted to explore the idea of perspective and mental health care through these books. The Backwards Coloring Book resulted in a series of 6 books varying in subjects and artistic direction. In 2012, Sierra obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, a minor in Art, and a handsome stud whom she married. Sierra currently works for The Guidance Center while corralling two kids, a dog and a cat that hates people. She continues to expand on her artistic endeavors with painting commissions and working on her side projects. Through these projects, she hopes to expand more on the relationship between art, nature and mental health.
Nature's Wonder - This painting reflects a moment in time when there was a sense of magic in the air. The moment included a warm autumn day by the river watching a storm pass through while daydreaming. A good dose of daydreaming does the mind good. Living in McKean County is to be reminded of nature's constant presence of wonder and magic. This wonder has been displayed in impressionist brush strokes, vivid colors, and a touch of whimsy.
Ever since a young age, Eve has loved art. Over the years it has become a way to express herself, and has been there in tough times. It's a passion that keeps growing. Every time she paints, she learns something new and gets better. She encourages everyone to create, even if you feel you aren't "good" at it. Art is for everyone, at any skill level. There are no rules, YOU make them.
Water Under The Bridge - The bridge she takes her dogs to on their walks.
Art has been a part of Allison's life since she was a small child. She took every art class she could in high school and went to college to major in graphic design. She has been a graphic designer for nearly 30 years. In all those years she has always dabbled in painting with watercolor being her first and lifelong love. She is so grateful for the gifts God has given her. The Creator made us all in His image, so whether you have a gift with words or baking, dance or painting, she encourages you to explore your God given gifts. Get out there and create something, you and the world need it.
Commonwealth of Beauty - Inspired by the lovely florals in the great state of PA.
Thomas has been drawing since before grade school. He majored in Studio Art at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a retired artist of 20 years from Zippo Manufacturing. He enjoys freelance work creating landscapes and house portraits. He began doing house portraits for people in 1986 starting with the historic Dresser home.
Outstanding In His Field - Inspired by the love of farm and country scenes
Mary V. Gibbs
Mary has her BFA in Ceramic Art and Design from Alfred University. She taught art in public schools in Binghamton, NY area for 5 years and at Otto-Eldred High School for 32 years. She retired in 2011.
Woodland Friends - They had at least five baby bunnies in their yard this spring along with baby chipmunks, red squirrels, and a variety of birds so she thought it would be fun to include some animals along with the spring wildflowers in this woodland composition. Look for the Wood Turtle, Toad, Chipmunk, Bunny and two Raccoons among the trilliums, ferns and fallen leaves in the forest. Nature inspires her and each season provides new and fresh opportunities to reconnect with nature and herself through solitude and observation of the world around her. Her work reflects her connection to nature and the outdoors, often intertwining the subject fantasy or emotional expression, using her own interpretation for composition, color, light, form and design. She would like to encourage the viewer to be more aware of and appreciate the beauty of nature around them or in unexpected places or moments, and to allow themselves to, perhaps, become a part of the scene or to experience the peace and solitude or energy of the work.
Brielle Litz Plaisted
Brielle is an artist with a little bit of experience in painting, having only a high school art class for training. As a young child, she won a jelly bean coloring contest that Gardners Candy store put out and has been creating art ever since! She has done paintings as gifts for others and has even had a chance to work on set painting for various theater productions. Other than that, she loves the chance to learn and grow and to have fun. She currently operates a small business, Bright Designs by B, creating macrame art in all kinds of creative ways.
Hope is Found - A Snow Owl visited Bradford, PA back in December of 2021. It is a symbol of learning and mental change. It also represents a fresh start. The pandemic has taught us that at times it gets tough, but you also find new beginnings. You find hope.
Kacy recieved a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Art from Pratt Institute in 2016. From there, she traveled the country for a year doing volunteer work with AmeriCorps NCU. She spent three years living in Salt Lake City, UT. working as the Education and Warehouse Manager of a Non-Profit Creative Reuse Center. They worked with businesses, manufacturers and the public to divert materials going to the landfill that could be used in arts and crafts. Today, she lives in Bradford, PA. where she still creates art and works for her cousin, Marty Cummins with all of her amazing projects.
Nexum - The latin word for connection to represent the infinite number of connection found in nature. The famous scientist Alexander Von Humbolt shared his revolutionary concept that nature is a complex and interconnected global force that does not exist for the use of mankind. Today, we see so many plants and animals becoming threatened or endangered do to climate change and habitat obstruction. This year she hopes you spend time in nature and enjoy the blessing that it is. Plants in her painting include, Wild Lupin - lupinus perennis, Eastern Magnolia - magnolia tripetala, Gray Headed Cone Flower - Ratibida Pinnata, Shooting Star - Dodecatheon Meadia, and American Ginseng - Panax Quinquefolius.
Growing up, Diane always enjoyed creating artwork, crafts, but especially drawing. She had put it aside for several years, but about 10 years ago she started taking continuing education art classes and eventually took a painting class at Pitt "just for fun." The instructor was super encouraging of my artwork and challenged her to become an art major and get her degree. As of right now, she is currently enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh Bradford with a major in Interdisciplinary Arts, focusing on art and her other passion, music. She has taken most of the art classes at Pitt, and appreciates exposure to a wide variety of mediums such as oils, acrylics, watercolor, and drawing in pastels, charcoal and graphic pencils. She enjoys so much learning new techniques, improving her artwork and is hoping to graduate in 2024.
Early Autumn On The Farm - Growing up around many farms in the Smethport area, and remembering how the bus needed to be delayed for the cattle crossing to their morning grazing fields. She is also very familiar with the Farmer's Valley area so she wanted to pay tribute to our rural heritage.
Lisa Conklin Conn
Lisa is a clay artist and owner of Conklin Studio Pottery located in the Allegany National Forest of PA. She is a juried artisan of the PA Wilds and a PA Wilds brand licensee. All pieces are hand built and painted sculptural art, that can be found throughout the region at various galleries, host sites and shops. www.conklinstudiopottery.com
The Pollinator - Education of Bee Conservation, bees are a keystone species. Pollination provides floral growth, however nuts, seeds, berries and fruits also rely on insect pollination.
In 2022, during the war waged upon men, Mark had envisioned a freedom from oppression. Men, able to make their own way without permission or excuse. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A life of entrepreneurship had always been fulfilling for him and combining what he knows of business and a new found art medium filled him with a spark of hope- that he could persue the happiness found from the work of his hands. Thus, the Dip Tank was born and the challenge of the new medium kept him engaged. No two dips the same and no experience without its learning. The freedom and the pursuit reminded him of a day when men could exist by the hard work of their brow.
Springtime in Hydrographic Land - Hydro dipping is a new medium for Mark. Combining McKean County landscapes with this Neo Art form has been challenging and rewarding.
Kevin M. Litz
Kevin began his interest in the art world in his teens, when he started painting under the tutorship of Gussy Voss, locally known professional artist in the Clearfield area, where he trained in oils, pastels, acrylics, charcoals and watercolor art. During high school he continued on his own, along with some art classes in high school with Bob Brown, long time art teacher and next door neighbor growing up. He's been on his own ever since creating a variety of art, including signs, logos, portraits and illustration works. His favorite subjects are transportation items, like cars, firetrucks, motorcycles, planes, and an occasional portrait, wildlife, or animal picture. Many of his art pieces have received awards at the county fair throughout his lifetime. His favorite medium has been pen and ink, along with colored pens and markers. Kevin enjoys doing art as a hobby and donating his work to inspire others.
Final Detailing - Kevin wanted to challenge himself and combine history, railroading, industries of Bradford and do it in 3-D. He has always been inspired by the works of Harrison Fisher and Norman Rockwell. Not bad, for a rookie?
Growing up in Elk County, Pa has given Liz a deep appreciation for the outdoors. As an artist, she is not only inspired by the beauty of nature, but also mechanical things; old trucks, rusty farm equipment, you name it! Country Chic Studio is her place to express her inspirations, in a traditional yet contemporary manner. Creating artwork is her escape into the natural world without leaving her studio space. Liz is an art teacher in the Smethport school district and is also a member of the BCPAC Board of Directors. She hopes you enjoy her work! www.countrychicstudio.com
Father of Zippo - Inspired by the 90th Anniversary of Zippo
Shelley has always found art to be an expression of her path to healing. The foundation of her work lay in the symmetry and sacred geometry that is reflected in the natural environment; connecting plants, crystals, animals, people, too. As a child Shelley spent many afternoons nestled beneath the trees, creekside in the beauty of the Allegheny National Forest. She would sit with sketchbook and pen and freely draw the energy of the elements, creatures and life that was near her. After graduating from Kane High School she went on to study Studio Art at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, continuing to do what she loved to spend her time doing (making art) and refining her studies in healing arts via yoga and meditation. Pursuing her passions she relocated from Western Pennsylvania to Western North Carolina to immerse herself in community focused on arts and health among the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Over the last decade she has cultivated her art and mindfulness practice into curriculum, utilizing a holistic approach to teaching. She believes strongly in bringing mindfulness to all ages of classroom in order to foster resilience, emotional regulation, self awareness, and a powerful creative nature that draws out the natural gifts of each student.This particular piece represents a very cathartic time in Shelley’s professional and personal career. In May of 2021, Shelley was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, just nine months after giving birth to her first daughter. With immense strength, a loving partner, as well as family, friends, and community providing an immense amount of love and support, she is on the other side of treatments, surgery, and now cancer free. “Holding Sacred Space” represents a coming home to the original birthplace of her here in the wild woods of PA. This journey home includes the open hearts that have been great comfort to her healing journey at this point in time. She is thrilled to offer a monthly painting class at Keystoned Cafe and Natural Shoppe that aligns with the full moon. It is her mission to guide others to finding their own way home to open loving hearts by way of awakening the artist within.
Holding Sacred Space - Often times holding a sacred space for another involves a holistic approach. When a friend offers a cup of coffee on a cozy couch, or a shop owner knows exactly the product you are looking for, or a therapist opens their ears to hear your story, this invitation allows one to open their hearts to their own experiences fully. Our brains are constantly sending messages to our body, our environment is informing our nervous systems responses, and our voice becomes our expression into the community. This art piece is a welcome sign for all walks of life that honor everyone’s unique rhythm on their journey to wholeness.
Shannon is an awarding winning self-taught artist who is new to the area. As she says Senior Process Engineer by day, Artist at night. Originally from Western New York, art has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. She dabbles in all types of mediums- paint, wood, fiber arts, sculpture, etc. and finds inspiration in the oddest of places. Shannon is always looking for ways to challenge herself, a picture will form in her head and she will just go for it not knowing if it will work out or not, or give her random supplies to see what she can come up with (rarely does she use objects as they were intended to be used). Many of her works have been in exhibitions, offices and holiday signs in her front yard. Every piece that she does is colorful and with the intent to make you smile.
Who is McKean County - The Kinzua Bridge and the forest around it inspired her originally and then the more research she did on the county, the more inspiration she got.
Samantha (sami) Bigley
Samantha is 24 years old. She is originally from Kane, and her relationship and career brought her to Bradford. Samantha graduated from Gannon University as a student-athlete with a degree in medical laboratory science. Painting has been a fun hobby all her life. Samantha enjoys challenges, and thought “the oil can look’s simple”, although it was very challenging and fun. It also has key connections with oil in the Bradford area.
Small Town Beginnings - Her life has been filled with motors and machines of all kinds. The Kendall oil played a key role in motor evolution. Pretty interesting!
Pamela has lived in Sheffield, PA her entire life. She is a retired registered nurse. She enjoys hand painting furniture and knitting using yarn from her alpacas. She also enjoys felting with alpaca fiber, as evidenced by brook trout scene! She enjoys gardening and spending time outdoors.
Life Is Like A Stream - This piece required a colorful subject. She used alpaca fiber to felt this piece.
Chip-Chip-Hooray! - The family of chipmunks that share her front porch with her were her inspiration.
Kent S. Wilson (Stearns)
Kent didn't begin painting until his wife's passing in 2019. Although, he once had a note on his report card in the 5th grade that stated he was a great student but he drew too much. This is Ken's second year creating a piece for the Heart of the Arts
7:45pm - This was the time of his wife's passing. The Heart of the Arts project inspires him to create!
Curtis C. Anderson
Curt was raised in Sheffield, PA. While growing up Curt helped his father in his workshop, learning to carve with chisels and a mallet. As time progressed, chisels and mallets were replaced with Dremel tools and die grinders. This led to faster produced and more profitable hand carved one-of-a-kind pieces of art ranging from gunstocks to cabinets, headboards and doors. With demand for these carvings in Colorado, Minnesota and North Carolina, he was able to sustain a living while raising 3 kids in Kane, PA. Now Curt still carves for pleasure but the Dremel tools and die grinders are being replaced by his 7 grandchildren and of course his wife, the love and joys of his life.
Majestic Reflections - Curt has always enjoyed creating wildlife in his works, and he decided to use the Elk in this region along with a particular tree by the graveside of his wife’s father to create this piece.
Hannah loves working with different kinds of media art, and has for most of her life. In recent years, however, she has developed a particular passion for painting sky-scapes and galaxies. Hannah started painting them during a time when she was very sick, and was confined to a wheelchair. In the midst of being unable to live a normal life, it gave her a great sense of freedom to create an endless space of colors and stars. It took her back to the feeling she used to get when she would stargaze with her dad. Hannah ended up fighting the illness for years, so she would paint herself something she could get lost in, as an escape from what she was going through. Hannah started selling her artwork as a freshman in high school, and quickly started working with her uncle, who does artist prints for a living. Since then, Hannah has been in many Art/Craft fairs, has a gallery set up on the “Pixel Point Artistry” website alongside other artists, and set up a small Facebook page called Ember Soul Art. Outside of online platforms, she has been selling prints, originals, and commissions by word of mouth whenever she travels. A couple of Hannah’s galaxy paintings ended up getting used by her Astronomy professor in college, as well as a couple other pieces being used for events around campus. Although Hannah painted her dream-worlds as an escape, she hopes that her paintings bring the dream-world to people instead. Hoping they get to bring a piece of magic into their world, and find what life could look like through a different lens. As well as hoping they can experience the peace and comfort, she has found in it, and that the beauty inspires them to create their own safe spaces wherever they go.
Marilla Stars - Hannah grew up going stargazing with her dad and siblings all the time. One of the places her dad would take them a lot in the later years, was Marilla Reservoir. She remember those nights feeling magical, and filled with sparkling colors.
Morning strolls with her little doxie “Monty” leads to investigations and appreciation of spiderwebs, water tumbling in streams and leaves budding out, these daily discoveries in the PA Wilds are reflected in Julie’s art work. Julie has been painting for more than 20 years and loves to share the joy of art making with life-rich older adults in classes at continuing care communities. Julie geeks over the patterns of bark, cool looking rocks and the perfect symmetry of flowers.
Milkweed & Monarchs - When her girls were young they would stop along back roads at Milkweed patches to look for monarch caterpillars. They would collect two which they would monitor daily and feed milkweed leaves to watch the fascinating process of transformation. Ending with the much-anticipated release of freshly hatched butterflies.
Brenda Freeman Sawyer
Brenda's first introduction to painting was a paint by number set that her father gave her as a gift at age 4. Brenda has been painting ever since. Becoming more serious during high school and entered college with a dual major of Art/Biology. Brenda is currently working as a medical provider, 3 days a week and tries to spend as much time as possible creating some form of art. Brenda feels very fortunate to live in an area where there is such a stimulating environment, which she tries not to take for granted. Most of her life, Brenda has focused on water color painting, but in the past few years has been motivated to explore other media, and has found that freedom to be more creative, tell a story and provoke emotions. Her goal is to continue to grow as an artist.
Early Risers - The inspiration for the painting occurred when she was driving by a pond on her way to visit her mother and was awestruck by the German yellow irises that surrounded the entire pond. It was dusk, and the lighting was not good, so she came back early the next morning and that’s when the geese flew into the pond when the fog was lifting. She just thought it would make a great painting.