Juanita Leonard - Part 1Montgomery, Louisiana

~Leonard 1

A slideshow containing images by photographer Fred Scruton.

Southeast Region


Artistic Ministry

Juanita Leonard (b. 1960)

Art by Juanita Leonard

Art Type or Medium: Environment/Installation; Painting; Sculpture

Status: active

Viewable: yes

Secular or Religious: Mixed

Next to her home in about 2005, Juanita Leonard built and decorated a small church where she, a licensed minister, holds Sunday services for a small congregation.  At the beginning of her ministry, she dressed in “white swaddling” and for around forty days carried a large bamboo cross along the rural Louisiana highway in front for around an hour, usually twice daily.  Christ had appeared and directed her to take up the six foot cross of her making: she cherishes that those cross-bearing walks “brought [her] so much closer to Jesus.”

Church detail: "Juanita Walking With HER CROSS"
Church detail: “Juanita Walking With HER CROSS”
Juanita Leonard's bamboo carrying cross (standing below)
Juanita Leonard’s bamboo carrying cross (standing below)

As a child, she painted the inside of closet and pantry doors in the family home (as well as the family car).  Partially inspired by Clementine Hunter’s murals at Melrose Plantation, she began to paint the walls, floors and ceilings of own home around 2004: “I felt a spirit when I walked through [Hunter’s] house on Melrose, as if she was speaking to me.”  Two other (now vacant) buildings on Leonard’s property have walls fully covered with depictions of life memories: she grew up on a farm surrounded by chickens, her mother smoked a pipe and picked cotton.  Leonard owns a thrift store in nearby Montgomery, but sells her work at local art shows, or directly out of her immersive, colorful art environment of a home.

Ms. Juanita welcomes visitors to her ever-changing home and grounds, and she may be contacted through her Facebook page (see “External Resources” below map).

(now vacant out building)
(now vacant out building)
Painting by Juanita Leonard
Painting by Juanita Leonard
Painting by Juanita Leonard
Painting by Juanita Leonard

Juanita Leonard in 2015

See also:

External resources: