Janice Leppke

A forty-foot extension pole with a handy hook on the end is Janice’s favorite tool these days, as she works with volunteers to hang art installations from floor to ceiling at Willow Avenue Mennonite Church in Fresno, California. The soaring ceiling in the light-filled sanctuary has presented design challenges and artistic opportunities to engage the congregation in worship through the visual arts. Janice directs willing congregants as they spend time meditating, creating, and learning about the effect visual art has on one’s worship experience. Over the years, their hard work has resulted in anticipation among the community as a new church season approaches. Most recently the light in the space was transformed by transparent collages that grew on eighteen sanctuary windows throughout the season of Advent.

In her home studio, Janice works on traditional canvases using acrylic and watercolor paint to create contemporary works mostly inspired by California’s Central Valley and its surroundings. She is a member of the Door Art Gallery in Fresno where her work is displayed and sold. Janice has a masters degree in education from Fresno Pacific University. Her thesis explored the connection between the visual arts and the teaching of reading and writing. In 2018 she was honored to receive the Horizon Award from the Fresno Arts Council for her work in service to her community.