Joella Connell Exhibit

Joella (JoJo) Connell is the Leeds Arts Council’s featured artist in April.   The public is invited to the opening reception on Sunday, April 7, 2019, 1:30pm – 3:30pm to view her beautiful paintings.  Admission is free.

Joella was born and raised in Walnut Grove, Alabama.  She attended Jacksonville State University, where she majored in English, minored in physical education, marched with the Southerners as a ballerina, and met her husband-to-be.  She later earned her master’s degree with a concentration in physical education.  Joella lives in Saks, Alabama with her husband, W.E. (Duck) Connell, Jr., where they attend First Baptist Church of Saks.  Their son Scott and his wife Cannon have two girls, Sara and Emma. The Grands are the sunshine in their lives. 

Joella taught physical Education at Saks High School for 25 years, sponsoring cheerleaders for 16 of those years. Retiring at the young age of 45, Joella was ready for the next phase in her life.  She joined a hiking club and has backpacked many times in the Smokies, but her first big adventure was backpacking from the North rim of the Grand Canyon, down into the canyon, and back up the south rim.  She backpacked up to base camp on Mt. Rainier, spending the night on the snow at 10,000 feet.  Joella has also ridden in the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (400 miles in 7 days) twice and has ridden the Cheaha Challenge once.  Besides sports, her hobbies include gardening, reading, traveling, and camping with her husband.  Joella has traveled with her church on mission to Honduras.  She and W.E. have traveled to New Zealand, Alaska, and have taken many shorter trips with the entire family.  Their latest trip was to Lake Tahoe, where the grand girls learned to snow ski. 

At the age of 60, on a whim, Joella decided to join a painting class taught by Carolyn Morris, in which everyone painted the same thing. She had always declared that she could hardly draw a stick figure, much less paint, but she LIKED it!  Later she joined a class with Paulette Parks, and learned to sketch from her own photographs and then paint them. She works mostly in watercolor but has done a few oils.  Many of her subjects are from her travels, a favorite place being New Orleans. Joella likes to tell a story with her paintings.  You will find people or animals in most of her paintings

Joella has entered pieces in ARTS ALIVE!, a juried show held in Florence, Alabama.  She enters the juried show at the Gadsden Art Museum most every year, where she has won two honorable mentions, one 2nd place, and one 1st place.

On April 6, Joella will reach the young age of 75 and she’s still going strong.  When she’s not painting, gardening, or traveling, she’s doing Zumba and Yoga and hiking whenever she gets the opportunity. 

Ms. Connell’s paintings will be on exhibit through May 3, 2019.  The Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive, in downtown Leeds.  The gallery is open during events.  In case of inclement weather, call the center at 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.

Thank You!


The Dolores Hydock presentation of “Soldiers in Greasepaint,” which was accompanied by The Birmingham Harmony Belles, was a huge success!  The audience of over 100 enjoyed an extremely entertaining evening listening to a master orator bring the USO story alive.  The Birmingham Harmony Belles added a sense of realism with their beautiful renditions of the Andrew’s Sisters classics hits. 

A special thanks to all those who contributed to our HVAC fund.  We hope to see you again soon at the Leeds Theater & Arts Center – A Fun Place to Be!  

Jonathan Williams Exhibit

Jonathan Williams is the Leeds Arts Council’s featured artist in December.  The public is invited to the opening reception on December 2, 2018, 1:30-3:30 pm, to view his beautiful paintings.  Admission is free.

“A good painting has meaning behind every brushstroke.” Jonathan started with art when he was a young child, always drawing and being creative.  When he was about 14, he developed a true passion for art and wanted to paint portraits of himself and family members to hang around the house.  He started to dabble in oil paint and charcoal, learning from free lessons on YouTube.  These ideas helped him to expand his technical skills.  Being only 19 now, he can see how his artwork has progressed over the few years that he has painted.  Jonathan loves to render wonderful realism in oil paint and charcoal that represents a person, feeling, and meaning.  That is what he strives to achieve in every piece of artwork from allegorical figurative art and still life.

Jonathan won 1st place in district and county for the Young American Patriotic Art Competition.  He also won 1st place in the Southern Museum of Flight’s art competition.  He exhibited his work in Cahaba Springs Lutheran Church’s Art Show of Forgiveness.  He was also glad to participate in the National Art Honor Society.  Having achieved these accomplishments at such a young age leaves Jonathan thankful to God for His kindness in gifting him with this talent.  Mr. Williams’ paintings will be on exhibit through December 29, 2018.

The Arts Center is located at 8140 Parkway Drive, in downtown Leeds.  The gallery is open during events.  In case of inclement weather, call the center at 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.

Auditions for The 39 Steps

Directed by Suellen Wilkins

Auditions: Monday/Tuesday December 17/18, 7 pm

Performance dates are:  February 15-17 and 22-24, 2019.

Auditions are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday December 17 and 18, at 7 pm each evening, at the Leeds Theatre and Arts Center, 8140 Parkway Drive, in Leeds AL.  Come prepared to read from the script; bring a resume and headshot, if you have one.  Director Suellen Wilkins is seeking 10-12 actors, men and women, for the many roles in this show.  The main actor (male age 35-45) will not be doubled.  A female actor (age 25-35) will have two roles.  The other roles will be handled by an ensemble of actors ages 20 years and up.

The 39 Steps is a 1915 novel; this is NOT that novel.

The 39 Steps is a 1935 movie; this is NOT that movie.

The 39 Steps is a comedy based on the characters from the novel and the movie, but handled in a Monty Python style, with actors performing multiple roles. In 2005 playwright Patrick Barlow adapted a script developed by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon and it is this script that will be performed.

Reception – Moody High School Artists

The Leeds Arts Council will honor the Moody High School Artists with an opening reception on Sunday, November 4, 2018, from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Leeds Theatre & Arts Center in downtown Leeds. The public is invited to meet the artists and enjoy their beautiful and varied works. Admission is free.

These talented artists work in a variety of mediums and styles. Their works reflect their interest in nature, pop culture, music, humor, and everyday life.

Their art will be on display through December 1. For more information regarding the reception, exhibit, and other Leeds Arts Council events, visit

In case of inclement weather, call the arts center at 205-699-1892 to confirm opening hours.

String Theory – November 11, 2018

Leeds Arts Council presents String Theory on Sunday, November 11, 2018 at 2 pm at the Leeds Theater and Arts Center, downtown Leeds.  Tickets are $15.

String Theory, formerly known as Blue Galaxy String Project, is an instrumental pop group formed in 2005 that plays an eclectic mix of originals and modern pop songs arranged for string quartet plus acoustic bass and drums. The group is comprised of six conservatory trained musicians representing Northwestern University, University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, Indiana University, University of Alabama and Davidson College.  The musicians are united by a common passion to expand their musical repertoire beyond the traditional roles of the string quartet.

Musicians are Caroline Nordlund and Pei-Ju Wu violins; Melanie Rodgers, viola; Sam Nordlund, cello; Abe Becker, bass; Michael Glaser, drums.

Arrangements of music are from many different sources including band members.  The group prides itself on performing music from every genre.