Many Local Artists Call Johnston Home

Johnston has plenty of local artists living in the community, three are profiled here.

Several Johnston area artists, both novice and accomplished, displayed their skills during the recent Art in the Barn showcase.

Three local women — one who creates murals, another who specializes in watercolors, and a third who makes free-form sculptures — talked about their passion for creating art.

Susan Wilson

The art bug hit Susan Wilson of Johnston early in life. Growing up on Martha's Vineyard, she first picked up a paintbrush as a youngster. 

Wilson traveled the world following graduation from Wesleyan University, an experience reflected in her art's vivid colors. 

In India, Wilson worked with children rescued from slavery. She found that art therapy was a way to reach out to the youngsters.

A trip to Central America was spent creating several murals. 

Wilson called Johnston a "vibrant artistic community."

"I have such a love for art, a lot of my work is very natural, with a play of colors," she said.

Lisa Cooper

Art has always been a hobby for Lisa Cooper. 

A Johnston resident for 11 years, Cooper was the driving force behind organizing the Art in The Barn show. 

Cooper, who works primarily in watercolors, characterized her work by its “whimsical” style. She enjoys the watercolors because of their size, preferring smaller works to bigger pieces.

She said any work is her favorite as long as it turns out well.

Cooper has parlayed her talent to illustrating several children’s books.

Colleen Eckhoff

Free-form sculptures made of wool and a barbed needle are Colleen Eckhoff's specialty. 

The Johnston resident sculpts her pieces in a variety of forms to fit her whimsical style. 

Eckhoff prefers her art's portable ability, often beginning new pieces whenever a free minute appears. Working quickly Eckhoff can make something small in roughly 45 minutes.

“It’s something that I can sit and do while I’m listening to music or watching television,” Eckhoff said.

In the past, Eckhoff focused mostly on making pieces for family and friends. Art in the Barn served as Eckhoff's first public art display. 

The event, sponsored by the served as a fundraiser for the library


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