‘A Foot in Two Worlds’: Alumna Leandra Drumm, the Next Generation of Artist

As students walk around the Kent Campus, they are surrounded by beautiful artwork yet may be unaware of the artists attending class right next to them. Iconic sculptor and Kent State alumnus Don Drumm has created several sculptures, including Solar Totem #1 near Taylor Hall on the Kent Campus. His daughter, Leandra Drumm, graduated from Kent State in graphic design and has dedicated much of her life to her art and is stepping into the shoes of her parents. 

Leandra Drumm, Kent State Alumna and Artist

During her time at Kent State, Drumm began creating and selling glassware to galleries around downtown Kent. After graduation, she had a choice of continuing with her degree or joining the family business of creating crafts and selling wholesale.

“I was walking through my dad's foundry one night and saw the sandblast cabinet and thought ‘that could be interesting,’” Drumm said. “I found a way to cut imagery and apply it to the glassware and then sandblast, which then became a project for my graphic design class. I was really impressed about how I could create a permanent image on a piece and fell in love with etching glass.”

Leandra Drumm Art of Fish

Drumm is thankful for having parents with backgrounds in art and craftsmanship. She noted them as a crucial part in selling her art and encouraging her to seek representation at galleries at the beginning of her career. 

“When I was growing up, many people were discouraged to go into the arts, including my parents. I was on an engineering track. I was good at math when I was younger, and I thought I'm going to be an engineer. But naturally, I was predisposed to be an artist,” Drumm said. “That's what I loved. I was very fortunate that I had my parents as examples of artists who have succeeded in this market and made a living for themselves.”

Currently, Drumm has her own studio, Leandra Drumm Design, which is next door to her father’s studio and gallery, Don Drumm Studios and Gallery, but as a separate business. In her studio, glassware and pewter products are designed, created and produced for a wholesale line that are then sold to galleries and museum stores.

Leandra Drumm Metal Art
Leandra Drumm Glassware Art

Drumm and her husband, Tim Benninghoff, are currently in the slow process of stepping into the shoes of her parents, Don and Lisa Drumm. 

“After COVID-19 and as my parents have been aging, they've been stepping back and we've been stepping into the position of being both the resident artists and gallery owners,” Drumm said. “A large part of thinking about the future of the gallery is how to best represent craftsmen and artists and find new and interesting products to represent wholesale.”

Drumm wants to encourage young artists who have potential in craftsmanship. Students shouldn’t be afraid of showcasing their art for promotion. Drumm spoke fondly of her trade and the amazing opportunity it presents. 

“I have a foot in two worlds where I am an artist and I understand the needs and changes that are occurring for artists, and at the same time having galleries, representing our work and also looking towards the future of being a gallery owner,” Drumm said. “It's a bit of a dilemma of how to best encourage, teach and represent these young people. I think that's why I've been thinking more that we need to look locally. Looking locally to be supportive of young people and helping them sort of enter that market if that's an interest for them.”

POSTED: Tuesday, May 2, 2023 12:01 PM
Updated: Tuesday, May 16, 2023 05:38 PM
Jordan Bryski, Flash Communications