ART & DESIGN • In the News


Fall 2021 - Spring 2022

Local artist paints mural on handball court wall in Lancaster city

ENELLY BETANCOURT | La Voz Editor and Staff Writer  Ι Jul 8, 2021

Heidi LeitzkeA handball court wall in Lancaster city’s Reservoir Park got a facelift earlier this week.  The 16-by-20-foot cement block wall at the park on the 800 block of East Orange Street had been the site of graffiti numerous times, which prompted neighbor and artist Heidi Leitzke to paint a mural on it.  “The wall faced neighbors and visitors to the park-like a blank canvas, just waiting to be painted.” Leitzke said, “As a neighbor of the park, I envisioned the possibility of painting a mural on it because they are an effective way to deter graffiti while beautifying the neighborhood.” 

Leitzke said she had never painted a mural before.  “But I knew we needed to do something to come out of last year’s hibernation,” she said.  The wall seemed like a possibility, so Leitzke submitted a proposal to the city, which owns and maintains the wall.  She also sent letters to neighbors and held “talk times” at the park with them to gather input and ideas. An assistant professor of art at Millersville University, Leitzke received a total of $2,500 in funding for the project from various sources, including Lancaster city’s “Love Your Block” grant program, a community engagement grant from the Center for Public Scholarship and Social Change at MU, and a faculty research grant.  Leitzke is covering $1,500 in additional costs out of pocket. 

Leitzke, 42, spent 80 hours painting the mural and completed it Tuesday.  Her goal was to celebrate nature, recreation, and the spirit of community, using bright colors in a combination of flat shapes and meandering lines. “I wanted to include the community in the process to create more of a sense of ownership and help them feel invested in the project by adding some of their favorite things,” Leitzke said.  One of those favorite things, she said, were red roses.  “We had a neighbor named Rose, who always sat on her porch and was the anchor of this neighborhood,”  Leitzke said, “Rose died of cancer last year and it was a very sad moment for everyone, so I painted the red roses in memory of her.“  In my paintings, I don’t try to capture an exact likeness of any one place, but rather reflect the spirit of aliveness that we find in nature and being outdoors, the moments that connect us to one another and to this place and reminds us of the beauty and sanctuary of natural places,” Leitzke said.  As she painted the mural, she hoped it garnered a positive response from visitors to the park and residents in the neighborhood.  “I didn’t know what people’s reaction would be, but I just hoped they would find something new in my painting each time they looked,”  Leitzke said, “Someone said to me the closer they get, the more there is to see … and that was meaningful to me. I’ve been overjoyed at everyone’s positive response.”

Art and Design Department faculty Dr. Christine Filippone to be a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Dr. Christine FilipponeMillersville University Art and Design Department faculty Dr. Christine Filippone will spend the Spring 2022 semester completing a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Dr. Filippone, Associate Professor of art history at Millersville, will be the Terra Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in American Art for a four-month period, 1/15-5/15/2022. She will be working at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Archives of American Art to develop her research project, “Systems and Utopias of Process in Conceptual Art.” Her principal advisor on site will be Saisha Grayson, Curator of Time-based Media and Martin Collins, Curator of Space History at the National Air and Space Museum, will advise the project as well. Dr. Filippone is thrilled that the Smithsonian and Terra Foundation selected her project. “This great honor will allow me the time to develop my research because the appointment will provide me with access to the Smithsonian collections and their archives, as well as the holdings in the Archives of American Art. I’m excited to get going and dig into the project.”

The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. On July 1, 1836, Congress accepted the legacy bequeathed to the nation by James Smithson and pledged the faith of the United States to the charitable trust. The total number of objects, works of art and specimens at the Smithsonian is estimated at nearly 138 million, including more than 127 million specimens and artifacts at the National Museum of Natural History.

If you would like more information about this Smithsonian Internships, Fellowships, and Research Associates, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Internships at 202-633-7070 or check out their website