Judy Leventhal on Edith Wyle

“Masks call on spiritual forces for healing and transfomation...”

Artist and arts patron EDITH WYLE changed the art scene in LA forever when she founded the Craft and Folk Art Museum. She introduced folk art, masks and giant puppets during the Festival of Masks, a multi-cultural parade and arts celebration. The Folk Arts Research Library at LACMA is named after Edith, who was a mentor for many, including maskmaker Judy Leventhal who tells the powerful story.

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Judy Leventhal

Judy Leventhal’s lifelong interest in masks began in early adolescence in a middle school history and social science classroom. Here, her artistic imagination was ignited, as she reviewed masks from West Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Native Americas. Responding to the challenges in her adolescence, she reached out intuitively to the mask for a symbolic rite of passage into young adulthood. These events are the inspiration for the Mask Making Adventures program, and its purpose in serving young people facing a variety of challenges in today’s world. Her life experience includes a multifaced career as visual artist, consultant, academic tutor, published author, art therapist, and master’s prepared and licensed clinical social worker. She has over 25 years of Artist in Residence work experience with children and youth of diverse cultures, academic abilities, learning strengths and challenges. Currently, three of her specialty masks, Liberation, Healing Presence, and Seeds of Release, are part of Warner Brother’s 2019/2020 All American Television Series Set Design in the Slauson Café.

Featured Woman

Edith Wyle

During her lifetime, Edith Wyle helped bring crafts and folk art into mainstream culture. In 1965 she opened a Los Angeles omelette restarant and gallery space called the Egg in the Eye which evolved into The Craft and Folk Art Museum. She also founded the Parade of Masks and the International Festival of Masks: community-inclusive celebrations of music, mask-masking and… magic!