ST. MARYS — Mickayla Poland, originally from California, moved to St. Marys in the fall of 2004, and fell in love with the PA Wilds over the years.
“Pennsylvania has been a much better place for me to grow up and live my life,” she said.
Poland, a self-taught painter, said she has always been artistic, and attended a four-year school for graphic design and photography. Her mother was always crafty, having Poland dabble in painting when she was younger.
Drawing inspiration from an area abundant with wildlife and culture, Poland created “PA Made,” which offers acrylic paintings on vintage windows, as well as other products like T-shirts and stickers.
When Poland found some old windows at a yard sale, her “signature” product was born. She enjoys taking old things for which people have no use and turning them into something creative.
“I started painting on windows,” she said. “My first was an elk, and then a turkey. Now, I paint on wood-frame windows or picture frames.”
Last year, Poland became a teaching artist through the Elk County Council on the Arts, she said. This summer, she will be teaching middle school students in an art class at Memorial Park in St. Marys.
“I’m really excited for that,” she said. “I never thought I’d become a teacher. I want to let young people from this area know art is a viable career, and open kids and people’s eyes to their options.”
Poland also designs Elk County and outdoor logos and is involved with Keystone Elk Country Alliance and the PA Wilds.
“I’m always blown away by how much people here love the outdoors and wildlife,” she said. “I just like being a part of that community.”
Poland also displays her work at area events, such as the Elk Expo in Benezette and other Elk County festivals.
“My dream is to eventually have a storefront, and to have my own space to showcase not only what I do, but open the door to other artists for them to showcase their work,” she said.
Visit PA Made on Facebook or PAMadeShop on Etsy for more information.