About the artist

Leona Coakley-Spring

Leona’s works have been displayed in several galleries and shows in the Seattle area including Artists Gallery of Seattle and Parklane Gallery in Kirkland, Washington. Her art has also been featured in newspaper articles in the Seattle area. Since moving to Portugal in 2017 she has displayed her work in Torre Shopping, a mall in the Portuguese city of Torres Novas.

 

Much of Leona’s art, featuring sandy beaches, the beautiful blue Caribbean, and seabirds, is inspired by her childhood growing up in the beautiful Bahamas. Experiences in the Pacific Northwest of the United States influenced some of her later works featuring nature and animals. And, of course, people, and faces have always made interesting subjects for her art.

 

She was born in Cargill Creek, Andros, the largest island of the Bahamas. The middle child of ten, she was 12 years old when her mother died, and she had to care for her younger siblings. She learned hair grooming, cooking and gardening. The family grew their own fruits and vegetables, living off the land. But opportunity was scarce. So, at the age of 22, as a single parent, she took her children and moved to Chicago. She arrived with 4 Bahamian pennies in her pocket, relying on her faith.

 

In Chicago she joined a theatre group and auditioned for and won several significant parts on the stage. Leona received rave reviews for her acting and singing as a stage performer, but the stage took her away from her children and so she took her family back to the Bahamas. Having graduated from a renowned beauty school in Chicago, she opened a hair salon in Nassau, the capitol of the Bahamas.

 

Again, in search of opportunity, Leona brought her three children to Seattle, Washington. She became a cosmetology instructor at two well-known beauty schools in the Seattle area. Later, she opened Bahama Mama Hair Salon in Seattle. Beginning in 1998, and each following year through 2016, Leona, an accomplished Gospel Singer and Songwriter, gave a Christmas concert with the proceeds going to All Saints AIDS Shelter in Nassau, Bahamas. Today, Leona resides with her husband Terry, near Tomar, in Central Portugal, and in 2018 and 2019 she has given Christmas concerts in Portugal, with proceeds going to APAT, the Animal Protective Association of the Ribetejo-Tomar region of Portugal.