A new board and new vision will be heading the Peninsula Art Academy as long-time leader Edna Bradford Ratner, 88, steps down. She will continue to work at the gallery, 1600 Mill St. West in Peninsula.

The Academy offers adult and youth classes and workshops, including drawing, painting, pastel, photography, weaving, spinning, glass blowing, glass fusing, enameling, jewelry and more.

The gallery, open Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. features artwork in all mediums by regional artists and has working artists studios, an exhibit hall, a music stage and the Fiber C.A.F.E. (Center forAlternative Fiber Experience). Current classes are running from February through April.

Edna Ratner, who is stepping down as director of Peninsula Art Academy arrived in Peninsula with her husband, architect, Max Ratner in the 1970s. He died 13 years ago.

Edna, who majored in art history, worked as a graphic designer for department stores and freelanced for smaller companies.

The Ratners became friends with Honore Guilbeau Cooke who had trained at the Art Institute of Chicago and was a dancer. Her husband, Edmund "Buck" Cooke, was a botanist and they moved to Peninsula in 1936 where he started a tree farm on Major Road.

Honore helped organize the Peninsula Players in the 1940s which performed for 30 years. The Cookes wanted to expose their children to the arts and gathered the neighborhood children for classes in printmaking, ceramics, enameling, dance and theater in a barn. Honore's mural of natural stone, Mural of Transportation into the Valley" is on the Peninsula Library.

The children, now adults, grew up in this environment and wanted to continue the arts in Peninsula, Edna said.

"They knew their lives were considerably enriched because of the arts," Edna said. "I realized Peninsula should be the container of this message."

Steve Craig established the art academy as a non-profit in the late 1970s and a board was established, Edna said.

"Peninsula should bear the position of having a place in the arts due to the background and inhabitants who made the arts more important than in so many places, places much larger than Peninsula," Edna said.

Peninsula's location in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park adds to the need for the arts, Edna said. People walk, run and explore the park and it brings them to Peninsula. The Peninsula Art Academy and Elements Gallery are on the road toward the Towpath parking lot next to the train depot.

The art academy and shops serve the purpose of making the village important, Edna said.

Wall hangings by Tarja Kubinyl decorate the building.

Marianne Hite has been the president of the Peninsula Art Academy Board since the fall of 2016.

Hite joined the board in 2009 as an art advisor. She teaches classes on stain glass with copper foil or lead and glass fusing that stacks cut glass and melts it together in one piece.

Art education is the mission of the Peninsula Art Academy, Hite said.

"We want to be known for education and classes in art," she said. "We're seeking more instructors, classes and variety of arts."

A possible new class would be one on using creativity for grief management, she said.

Hite said Peninsula Art Academy would like to connect with other art galleries and art groups in the area.

"I'd like to see how we can help each other," Hite said.

One of the workshop leaders is Kim Klein, an oil painter, who teaches "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. The next session begins on Feb 23 at 6:30 through 8:30 p.m. for 12 consecutive weeks.

The class uses a textbook to help people connect to their own creativity, Klein said.

"There's a lot of talking, a lecture and some artwork," Klein said. "It's tons of fun. We laugh a lot."

Klein's oil paintings will be on exhibit March 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Corner Cup Coffee House, 3019 Graham Road in Stow.

Klein, who lives in Hudson, is self taught.

"I went to my first painting class 20 years ago and continued to take classes," she said. "It's kind of a spiritual thing. I'm a cancer surviver, and it makes the well deeper from the water you can draw up to paint with. I see life more colorfully."

Peninsula Art Academy has an energy to promote acceptance and creativity, Klein said.

"There's a warmth and energy you don't find anywhere else," she said. "I walk in and I feel like I'm at home."

Other artists include the Woodridge kindergarten through third grade artwork, which is currently on display in the front gallery.

Other artwork on exhibit and for sale includes jewelry by Colleene Daugharty, glass artwork by Bob Pozarski, leaf alchemy and jewelry by Giovanni Bocchiere, enamels and fiber arts by Carol Adams, functional ceramics by Susan Delahanty, collage by Ellyn Schneier, oil painting by Elinore Korow, woodwork by Ryan Thompson, watercolors and journals by Don Getz and more.

More information is available at http://eninsulaartacademy.publishpath.com.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP