Lancaster has a new public art officer who should be familiar to many in the city’s art community.
Heidi Leitzke is an artist and recently served as Adjunct Professor and Gallery Director at the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.
“I’m so grateful to live in a city that values art as much as Lancaster does,” Leitzke, 36, said in a phone interview Tuesday.
It’s gratifying, she says, that the city sees art as something that has the power to enrich and transform the city and its people.
“Art can ask questions, spark the imagination, reveal beauty and realign perceptions,” she said in a press release. “I have seen – and personally experienced – the transformative power of art. I want to help people in all corners of the city experience art – in person – and then recognize and appreciate the value that art has for them.”
She replaces Tracy Beyl, who was the city’s fourth artistic director. Beyl left to move to Texas to be close to her family and her new grandson, said Charlotte Katzenmoyer, director of public works for the city.
“The city has been blessed with an excellent public art program established by the hard work of Tracy Beyl with many wonderful projects such as ‘Revolutions’ in Brandon Park, the ‘Gateway Bundle’ storm water cistern, ‘Dancing Arches’ at Rodney Park, ‘Changing Gears’ at Crystal Park, and of course the spectacular North Gate wind sculpture, ‘Silent Symphony’ at the Amtrak Station,” Katzenmoyer said.
Leitzke, who will receive $52,000 a year, also joins us as the city begins work on a public arts master plan.
She said she was excited to research the community, get feedback from the community and from experts in the fine arts community and the city’s arts administration.
Leitzke has an MFA specializing in painting, but for the past five years he has worked with thread and embroidery “to create textural images of landscapes, plants, secret gardens and imaginary worlds”.
She has exhibited her work most recently at Sunshine Art+Design in Lancaster and galleries in Philadelphia and New York.
“I’m really excited for this new adventure and really looking forward to working with the city,” she said. She will continue to work as an artist, but left the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design.
Leitzke moved to Lancaster in 2006 after completing graduate school based on connections with friends and other artists here. She lives with her husband, Jay Noble, and their son Henry, 5.