Leroy Johnson passes, Allan Edmunds to retire, Queer Ecologies at William Way and Bartram’s Garden, ConsenSIS at Awbury Arboretum

We are very sad to report the passing of the great artist, Leroy Johnson, who was a mentor to many young artists in Philadelphia, in addition to being a maker of truth-seeking and truth-telling installations, sculpture and paintings. There's a public funeral service on Friday, details in the post. In other news, the also great artist, mentor and founder of Brandywine Workshop and Archives is retiring this Fall. And, two events jumped out at us: ConsenSIS at Awbury Arboretum and Queer Ecologies at William Way Center and Bartram's Gardens.


Leroy Johnson passes

Dear Reader, Artblog mourns the passing of a great artist and community member, Leroy Johnson, whose subject was the city and people living in it. Johnson’s visceral art bared the truths of living in the City — the dirt, poverty, darkness, but also celebrated the human spirit and the beauty of people living and making a place for themselves in their neighborhoods. A great artist, and a wonderful human being, we quote Artblog’s dear friend, Betty Leacraft, who says about her friend, Leroy Johnson, “Leroy was a prolific, multi-talented, one of a kind artist, and special human being. I am grateful to him as one of a few “recognized” artists who always encouraged my creative efforts. I will miss his Old Head stroll, wit, wisdom, and smile. He leaves behind large, indelible, artistic footprints.”

We say, Thank you, Leroy, for all the good you did in Philadelphia. You are deeply missed. For more information and video, see Jere Edmunds’s film portrait of Leroy Johnson at The Inside Look.

Four African American artists inside at a gallery opening pose for a picture, looking happy, with art pictured in the background.
R-L, Leroy Johnson, Dindga Mc Cannon, Betty Leacraft, Louis Massiah, Phila. City Hall, rm. 116, “Bethel Burying Ground Project,” exhibition reception, 2020. The 4 artists were among the exhibitors. Photo courtesy of Betty Leacraft.
LeRoy Johnson, Life in the City.
LeRoy Johnson, Life in the City. Photo by Gary G Schempp.

From The Clay Studio

We are so deeply saddened at the passing of one of Philadelphia’s great artists, Leroy Johnson. We have had the privilege of Leroy being part of our artistic family and he was beloved by many. He was a Resident Artist from 1995-2001 at The Clay Studio. He gave us so much powerful art, but we will miss that which he still had to share. Thank you Mr. Johnson, for your strong artistic vision and for sharing it with all of us. His paintings and ceramics had layers and layers of visual, historical, conceptual, and emotional content.

Leroy Johnson (b. 1937) was a mixed-media artist whose work takes the form of painting, collage, and assemblage sculpture. A native of Philadelphia, his work is poetic and reflective of his many experiences in the inner city. Johnson has exhibited widely, with past solo shows at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Tirza Yalon Kolton Ceramic Gallery (Tel Aviv), Gloucester County College (Sewell, NJ), and the Camden County Historical Society. He has received grants from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Independence Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Johnson received a Masters of Human Services from Lincoln University (1986-88), and was a 2014 Pew Fellow at the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. He has been a participating/resident artist for several community-based arts projects, including for Ile Ife, The Village of Arts and Humanities, Taller Puertoqueno, and The Church of the Advocate, St. Francis Academy, in Baltimore. Most recently, he was selected for the Woodmere 77th Juried Exhibition at the Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA, in 2018.

Transition service will be Friday, July 15th, 1pm, West Laurel Hill Funeral Home Chapel, 225 Belmont Ave.


Allan Edmunds will retire this Fall

Allan Edmunds, President of Brandywine Workshop and Archives, with work from "Culture Quilt" by John T Scott at The Printed Image gallery.
Allan Edmunds, President of Brandywine Workshop and Archives, in 2019, with work from “Culture Quilt” by John T Scott at The Printed Image gallery.

from the Brandywine Workshop and Archives

Our founder-executive director Allan L. Edmunds is planning his retirement this fall and the Board of Directors has a five-year plan in place, Brandywine 2.0, to manage the transition of leadership.

The new executive director leadership position application deadline, originally June 17th, is now ongoing through the summer or until we receive an adequate number of qualified candidates for the review. This is a challenging position due to the many local, national, and international programs BWA manages. The organization is seeking someone knowledgeable of contemporary diverse art, with experience in curatorial and collections management experience, development, and management background. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Applicant, if selected, must be ready to start no later than January 1, 2023.

Qualifications and responsibilities will be sent to all who request application materials by sending an email to

Our history, mission, and programming are available at and



William Way partners with Bartrams Gardens for “Queer Ecologies” exhibit

From the William Way Center

“Queer Ecologies” is a collaborative, multimedia, and multi-venue art exhibition held at the William Way LGBT Community Center and Bartram’s Garden from 14 July to 18 August.
Queer Ecologies includes 22 LGBTQIA+ artists from the greater Philadelphia region exploring the intersections of queerness, ecology, and community building. The exhibition will showcase a wide range of artworks, including visual art, performances, digital, multi-disciplinary installations, sculpture, workshops, and more.
In-person opening events:
14 July at 6PM at the William Way LGBT Community Center
17 July at 5PM at Bartram’s Garden
Exhibition in both venues will run through 18 August

More info and virtual gallery will be live at the link ON JULY 14.


ConsenSIS public poetry reading Saturday, July 30, 3:00-5:00 PM, at Awbury Arboretum
A poster with a black background has a central oval with sepia-toned photo of women gathering happy and smiling in an inside space. Words in the poster invite you to a public poetry reading in PHiladelphia
From ConsenSIS

ConsenSIS welcomes all to “The Clearing,” a public poetry reading celebrating Black women and femme poets on Saturday, July 30, 2022, 3:00 – 5:00 PM, at Awbury Arboretum.

Helmed by Trapeta B. Mayson, 2020-2021 Poet Laureate, and Yolanda Wisher, 2016-2017 Poet Laureate, ConsenSIS strives to create space for Black women and femme poets, surveying and memorializing their work and lives within the ripe literary scene of Philadelphia. From the bold writings of suffragist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper to the lyrical chants of Sonia Sanchez, Black women and femmes have long been a vibrant part of Philadelphia’s poetic legacy. ConsenSIS, fiscally sponsored by Philadelphia Contemporary, is part of Re:Generation, a nationwide participatory public art and history project organized by Monument Lab and supported by the Mellon Foundation.

Spend your afternoon supporting and listening to the work of Black women and femme poets of the Philadelphia region. Light refreshments will be provided as well as free giveaways (while supplies last).

FREE! REGISTER at the Eventbrite Link.