FEBRUARY 15, 2011
A multifaceted artist
By Arthur Ramon Brown
For Heartland Women
Joan presented a large painting measuring 6 feet by 8 feet titled 'The Late Great
Planet Grapes' to Southeastern Illinois College (at her professor's request).
'I'm 76 years old … older,
yes, but hopefully wiser in
many ways,' Joan said.
Joan is also an award-winning photographer. Her photo
of her late husband, Earl, first displayed at the Du Quoin
State Fair, was also exhibited in Disney Land.
finds joy in artistic
creation in many
shapes and forms
www.heartlandwomen.com February 16, 2011
Joan Skiver-Levy is an award-winning, native Southern Illinois artist and a remarkable woman by anyone's definition. She lives in West Frankfort, having moved back
to the region after living
many years in the Chicago area. But don't believe for one minute that Joan moved back home to live the “quiet life.” In fact, this multifaceted artist only began to
explore her considerable artistic talents after she and her late husband had raised their family.“It was time to discover my hidden abilities and talents,”
Joan said. “Much of our lives are spent taking
care of others, from mates to children to parents. We never have the opportunity to discover who we are as every one else comes first.” And Joan is busy discovering
everything she can about her creative abilities. They run the gamut from photography and painting to cooking and baking to sewing, writing poetry and singing. Oh
yes, she also teaches in-home computer classes and is well respected for her work on the subject of diet as a control for hyperactive and learning disabled children. “I
surprise myself all of the time on this journey of life,” she said. But don't think it has been easy for Joan. In fact, she hasn't had an easy life and has overcome many
obstacles, both physical and otherwise, in order to achieve all that she ha accomplished and continues to accomplish. “I have had rickets, spinal meningitis and
thirteen operations, including one that left me with the left side of my face in paralysis, after which I learned to speak and eat properly
again,” she said. “Eight of the operations have been in the last eight years, (including) two knee (operations and) two hip replacements. I walk at our local pool three
times a week so I can keep moving as best I can without any appliances. “I wasn't a quitter left home at 14 in Chicago and I never will be,” Joan said. “I'm 76 years old
…older, yes, but hopefully wiser in many ways.”
Joan was interviewed by representatives of the Public Broadcasting Service who were doing a documentary about people who are living their dreams after they retired.
They interviewed several people in order to prepare short segments to
air during station breaks. “They called again after a few days,” Joan said. “They said they had a class project and wanted to do a six minute documentary and that I
was the one they chose to do it with. They came to the seniors dance at West Frankfort and filmed. They were at my home and filmed for more than two hours. They
came to Rend Lake and filmed when I had some of my paintings on display for the art and wine festival.” Joan, the artist, works with watercolor, oil and acrylic as well
media and will often display as many as 25 paintings in one showing. I like to work with a lot of different materials(because) each one has its own way of leading you to
a new discovery,” she said. “When I'm working, I'm not concerned about the final result. I'm only concerned about the moment, living in the joy of that moment. “There
is nothing out there but the painting,” she said. “It takes on a life of it's own and most of the time it's successful. I enjoy that moment of creation and that is the joy of my
Joan credits Professor Michael Elvestrom, former great deal of fun and I am enjoying myself immensely every day I can.”
Joan Skiver-Levy's exhibits, awards
Joan Skiver Levy is an award-winning artist with five art exhibitions in 2010. Here is a list of some of her one-woman exhibitions: •At Mungo Jerry's Coffee House in
2005. •At The Buzz Restaurant in Benton in 2005.•In the Dunn-Richmond Center on the SIUC campus in 2006. •At Perk Place Coffee House in West Frankfort in 2006.
•At the Carbondale CivicCenter in 2006. •At Southeastern Illinois
College in Harrisburg in 2007. •At The University Museum, SIUC, in the Art Atrium in 2007. •At John A. Logan College in Carterville in 2010. •At Realty Center in
Murdale Shopping Center,
Carbondale, in 2010. Here are some of the exhibitions that Joan has been a part of: •The Mitchell Museum in Mount Vernon in1982. •In the Celebrate Southern Illinois
exhibit at John A. Logan College in Carterville in 1983. •In the Tenth Biennial Arts
in Celebration exhibition, Looking at Southern Illinois, in The University Museum, SIUC in 2006. Joan has won many awards including: •Blue ribbons at the Saline
County Fair. •Best of Show at Ridgeway Popcorn Days. •Best of Show at the Equality Salt Festival. •First place at an art show at Burnett's Bank in
Eldorado. •Third place in the mixed media art show at the John
A. Logan Spring Show in 2003. •Second place in John A. Logan Spring Show in 2004.
Check out Joan's art now. It's on display at the Varsity Center for the Arts in Carbondale through the end of February, and beginning March 1 for six weeks at the
|Joan was featured on the front page of
the West Frankfort, IL Newspaper.
February 20, 2013 Click on link to view
article on line link below.
|On PBS Expressions February 28, 2014
|Award winning 83 year
|Centralia Morning Sentinel
Newspaper June 2015
HERRIN,ILLINOIS – There was an eager crowd of enthusiastic listeners at the Hartley art Gallery in Herrin
recently for a reception to honor local artist and West Frankfort resident Joan Skiver-Levy.
The 83-year old virtuoso has been producing art, including paintings of all styles, subject matters and
disciplines in the local community for several years. Several of her paintings hung on the walls for guests to
view as they entered the gallery for the big event.
Skiver-Levy was originally born in the tiny village of Valier, she said, but her parents moved up to Chicago
during her childhood in order to find more work. It was there that Joan discovered her love for the old
standards and jazz music—which she recalled was only referred to simply as music at the time, with no
additional label being necessary. She recalled being an avid admirer of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, and
While she is a lifelong jazz fan, she only started singing at age 70. “I was at my friend’s house, and she was
playing the piano, and she said ‘sing!’ and so I did, and she said ‘I knew you could’ and I said, well you know
more than I did!” After this Joan went to see a voice teacher at John A. Logan College who told her after her
first visit, that no additional visits were required. “She told me, you have a great gift—go enjoy it.”
Joan said she began painting around 30 years ago. “I started singing at 70 and started painting about 30
years ago, so we’re never too old to learn something new and to experiment, and I also think it helps our brain
function,” she added. As well as singing and painting, Joan also says she occasionally enjoys playing the
piano. “It’s been a lot of fun for me—especially playing with the musicians. They (the jazz band) came here
today for me and I’m so grateful that they did. They’re just great people, and it’s just too bad we don’t hear
more of this kind of music in this area, because it’s getting lost and I wish that somebody book them—maybe I’
ll get a chance to sing with them again.”
She said she used a multitude of styles in her artwork because she loves trying new things.” I do painting
because it gives me pleasure and joy," Joan said. "It's the joy of my life and I'm not afraid to try anything, and
most people don't care what you're doing anyway, so I do that. We're never too old to learn and to do things
that are new, and I think that sometimes the interests we have in something is that talent that is waiting to be
The jazz band played for several hours and included Jim White on the keyboard, Mike Thomas on saxophone,
Ed Baumann on bass and guitar and Gene Stiman playing the trombone.