Johnstown, PA – The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA) in Johnstown is proud to announce the opening of its newest exhibit, From Darkness to Light: Mosaic Art of Hope from Tragedy. This enlightening exhibit will be on display from August 23, 2024 through December 15, 2024.

The conception of this collaboration between artists, From Darkness to Light, began with mosaic artist Susan Ribnick, owner of Vintage Mosaic in Austin, Texas, and co-president of the Austin Mosaic Guild. Ribnick called a guild board meeting to create a memorial immediately after the shooting.The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA) in Johnstown will host "From Darkness to Light: Mosaic Art of Hope from Tragedy" from Aug. 23 through Dec. 15, 2024.

The exhibition was described in an article written by Tayler Blair, from the Lansing City Pulse:

“On Oct. 27, 2018, a shooting at the Tree of Life Pittsburgh synagogue building rattled the nation. The attack, among the deadliest against the Jewish community in the history of the United States, left 11 dead and six wounded [from three congregations: Tree of Life, Dor Hadash, and New Light]. In remembrance, artists across the United States and abroad banded together to create the traveling art exhibit.

‘When this happened in Pittsburgh, it just hit very close to home,’ she said.

Ribnick has participated in community projects in the past. She believes people can do good work when they are inspired and have something to say.

‘When these things happen, everybody walks around feeling kind of helpless and stung. Art can be a very powerful way of getting a message across,’ she said.

The mosaics started as a 12-person intercommunity effort in Austin that quickly grew as more people wanted to get involved. After heavy interest, Ribnick created guidelines and a dedication panel for new collaborators. The number of artists grew [to forty] once COVID-19 hit, leaving creatives idle in their studios.”

According to Abby Schwartz, former director of the Skirball Museum in Cincinnati, the genesis of the exhibit going on the road was mostly an organic process. She said, “When David Kalla, a member of the Tree of Life Synagogue approached me about a mosaic project initiated by Susan Ribnick of Austin, Texas that was inspired by the events of October 27, 2018, my reaction to this collective artistic response to a visceral, violent attack was overwhelming. Brimming with color and creativity, the eighteen works by eighteen artists from around the world expressed themes of hope, resilience, and social justice in the face of the unthinkable. Soon after, I began communicating with Susan Ribnick, and the seeds for this exhibition were planted.”

The forty mosaics in the exhibition evoke themes ranging from antisemitism and injustice to hope, resilience, and peace. Each piece in the exhibit serves as a testament to the unique yet interconnected histories. Visitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of mosaic art while gaining a deeper understanding of these artistic works.

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art in Johnstown is committed to enriching the cultural landscape of the region through diverse and thought-provoking exhibitions. From Darkness to Light: Mosaic Art of Hope from Tragedy exemplifies this mission by offering a platform for artistic expression and intercultural dialogue. For more information about the exhibition, please visit This project is supported by the Hope Springs Eternal: the Holocaust Project.

Hope Springs Eternal: the Holocaust Project is a collaboration between local organizations aiming to bring unique education and awareness about the Holocaust to Cambria County and the surrounding areas. The project is a combined effort of organizations across the region, who are hosting a variety of events, performances, and showcases to promote Holocaust education. To learn more, visit

For more information about the exhibit and upcoming events, please visit or contact SAMA at (814) 472-3920. Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance is proud to be the management partner for this special project. This Project was financed [in part] by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.

The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art is dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and advancing American art. Through its exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, SAMA seeks to inspire and engage audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art is in the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown at 450 Schoolhouse Rd., Johnstown, PA 15904 and is open by appointment only.


Sandra Hampton Director of Operations Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art Phone: (814) 472-3920

Email: shampton@sama-art.og