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Leslie Ward's art is full of vibrant and brilliant shades that embody calm, resilience, contentment, and passion—a narrative that aligns with true urban reality. Leslie uses images that speak to her soul, represent a community, and elevate those who face marginalization resulting in powerful work that captures emotion, attitude, energy, culture, and spirit.

Her first piece, Girl in the Mirror, was created while away on summer vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. While packing for vacation, Leslie decided to pack a sketchbook instead of a book. After months of watching the news day and night overcome with images of hate and fear, she felt the urgency to shine a little light through the dark both for herself and for anyone else who needed it. Fueled by a sense of ambition, that summer produced a series of bright, tranquil, and strong images that heavily contrasted our media’s dark depictions. Each piece that Leslie creates is as unique as the people that inspire them.

Like many artists, Leslie faced the dilemma of focusing on her art or reaching for a stable professional future. While her family supported her talents from a young age, they encouraged her not to rely on that alone. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, she went on to complete her Ed.D. in Education Leadership with a dissertation on Urban Hip-Hop Cultural Competence in K-12 education. Now, in a place where she can enjoy the personal fulfillment of her art, Leslie wants her work to celebrate women and instill a sense of power in the younger generations who are growing up in a culture struggling to love them wholly.

Dr. Leslie J. Ward



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