Children's Department at Bridgeport Public Library Gets Vibrant New Look Thanks to Leah Seaman

By Chris Johnson on September 19, 2023 via

Rebecca O’Connor, the Children’s Librarian at Bridgeport Public Library, knew her Department needed a fresh look.
Leah Seaman, a full-time professional artist with ties to the area, was more than ready to lend a hand.
“We wanted something to brighten and liven up the space,” O’Connor said. “I wanted to capture that child-like sense of wonderment.”
Seaman, who was born in Philippi and graduated from Philip Barbour in 2017, is based out of Columbus, Ohio with her business, ArtaBella. She does live wedding paintings, mural work and commission work. She’s worked in New York and Florida as well as locations that allow her time to visit her family in Barbour County.
She recently did the mural located at the Bridgeport City Pool and was thrilled at the opportunity to work in Bridgeport again.
“Rebecca reached out to me a month ago and said she wanted a piece for the Children’s Library,” Seaman said. “We kind of toyed around with a few ideas but eventually settled on something really colorful, really vibrant and really true to the area, which is sunset, Appalachian Mountains, things like that.
“She said she wanted something that would really draw patrons into this space because a lot times they don’t come into the stacks and what better way to get them to come back here than to put bright shiny colors right in the back.
“I’m very grateful for this project. I love working with this community. Everybody is very kind, welcoming and involved. I’m very familiar with the area, I know where to go to get things if I need them and that’s not always the case with a job.”
A mural the size of the one now present in the children’s area of the library typically takes 40-50 hours to complete according to Seaman.
“Typically, with the pieces I’m doing, I’m not familiar with the building structure, not familiar with the people, not familiar with the environment,” Seaman said. “The designs are always different so my clients can choose between getting something that’s very realistic or something that is stylized.
“Murals are a good chunk of my income. They have taken me all over the place. You bop around and each mural is completely different in its challenges and its victories. You challenge yourself. I enjoy them. I become emotionally attached to each of them by the end.”
As much as she enjoys painting a mural, Seaman says never stops learning about her talents, challenging herself and figuring out new ways to get something done.
“I can draw from my years of experience absolutely, but I always come away with something like, ‘Maybe here’s a different way to do a tree,’” Seaman said. “’Here’s a different way to grid out a mural. Here’s a different way to sketch out colors.’
“So, with this one, I’ve never used neon paints before but it wasn’t getting the vibrance that I wanted so I bought some neon paints and I’ve been playing with a fine balance of making it vibrant and pop but aggressively neon and distracting.
“At the end of the day my desire is to make sure my client is deeply in love with the piece.”
When it comes to the new mural at the library, that mission was accomplished.
“Children are so full of exploration; they want to go places and explore things and I think this does a great job of capturing that. It’s something that is timeless, and it will be here for generations.”
More on Seaman’s mural including another photo of the finished product will be available in Savanna Draper’s weekly blog that comes out at 9 a.m., Wednesday on Connect-Bridgeport.
To learn more about Seaman and her business visit the ArtaBella website HERE
Editor's Note: Photos of Seaman working on the new mural in the Children's Department at the Bridgeport Public Library.

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