HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A Harrisburg artist is getting international attention: some of her paintings will soon be decorating the U.S. embassy in Moldova.
Reina Wooden spends her days in her Harrisburg studio, surrounded by paintbrushes, canvasses, and bottles of acrylic paint.
“It allows you to layer different colors on top of each other a lot better,” she said. “It gives it more vibrancy to me.”
Twenty years ago, Wooden, who goes by the artist name Reina 76, did not have a studio. She worked as a consultant in Washington, D.C.
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“I always loved art as a child,” she said. “I never saw myself doing it full time though.”
However, she said being a consultant was not working out, so she changed course, pursuing art full-time.
“My family was nervous, they were unsure if I could sustain myself,” Reina said, laughing.
Now, she has years of success behind her, and in January, things took an unexpected turn. She got an email from a federal program called Art in Embassies, run by the U.S. State Department.
“I didn’t believe it, I thought it was spam, I ignored it,” Reina said.
The program reached out again, explaining they wanted her art on the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Moldova.
“I didn’t even know that Moldova was a country, it was Geography 101 for me,” Reina said.
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The U.S. ambassador to Moldova, Kent Logsdon, is from Pennsylvania. He had seen Reina’s work and decided she was the right choice.
“He loved my Keystone series,” Reina said, describing a series of paintings incorporating the Keystone symbol.
The embassy is also bringing Reina to Moldova for a few days in November to see her art go up.
“I hope I don’t faint,” she said, laughing. “Honestly I am just going to be pleased and humbled.”
She will also have a chance to share advice with high school students studying art.
“It’s like a dream come true, it’s just an opportunity I never saw coming,” she said.
Reina leaves for Moldova on November 5. Her paintings will be up in the embassy for the next three years.