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NOW: New Gallery Page, Honoring the Work of Grace Leonard

Published in the The Foothill Leader, Wednesday, April 5, 1989

Art exhibit to be part of 99th party

Montrose resident Grace Leonard will begin her centennial year at a 99th birthday party exhibiting a lifetime of her artwork.

The event will be 3 p.m. Sunday at the American Legion Hall in La Crescenta and will include a visit by Glendale Mayor Carl Raggio.

Planned by friends, relatives and patrons of her art, the show is an attempt to gather as much of Leonard’s work as can be found and to make a film record of the exhibit, Joan Francis, granddaughter and former editor of the Tujunga Record Ledger newspaper, said.

Since Leonard began painting at age 15, she has produced many paintings which have been scattered throughout the country. Locating even photographs of Leonard’s art has been a difficult task, Francis said.

Letters have been sent asking those familiar with her art to attend the showing at 1 p.m. to add their art to the exhibit.

Leonard, even as she approaches 99, is not retired. She still creates in both oils and cloth as well as gardening, housekeeping and creating Christmas presents.

As the artistic and senior matron of her family, Leonard has had a quiet but profound influence on the younger generations.

“Grandma not only has given us beauty in her pictures,” Francis said, “she has taught us all the joy of creativity and we want to honor her for both her work and the value she has added to all our lives.”

One Christmas, Francis said, Leonard sent her a complete wardrobe for her doll including shoes and socks to match every outfit and a wedding dress and red ball gown.

“The doll and wardrobe have long gone, and so has childhood, but to this day the greatest joy of Christmas is doing like Grandma, playing Santa’s elf, starting early and making special things,” she said.