Jenny Allen preparing for an Easter Egg Hunt at the Boys & Girls Club Along the Allegheny.
EMLENTON, Pa. – Jenny Allen finds herself as the fourth generation of her family working in the Emlenton Crawford Center located in Venango County.
Built in 1928, the Crawford Memorial School was designed by Oil City architect W. Holmes Crosby and funded by Emlenton oilman H. J. Crawford in memory of his wife and parents.
Many years later, Emlenton students were moved to the Foxburg area to attend A-C Valley Schools, and Emlenton Borough decided to convert the former school into a business center. It now houses the Borough offices, Police, District Magistrate Court, and some community businesses.
Jenny operates Allegheny Pines Pottery in the building and is also a volunteer with AmeriCorps for the Boys & Girls Club Along the Allegheny that rents space on the first floor.
“Me being here is kind of weird because my great-grandfather and my great-aunt both worked in the school whenever it first opened,” Jenny told exploreClarion.com, explaining her family connections.
“My grandmother taught in the school and was an English teacher and a music teacher and did all the shows. Then, my mother, Anita Allen, taught in this very room (Boys and Girls Club) as the art teacher and retired two years ago.”
The road back to Emlenton after Jenny’s graduation from A-C Valley was a long one.
“I went to Allegheny College and studied fine art and took some studio classes there. I studied abroad and worked for an artist in Argentina casting bubble sculptures. I moved back and went to Graduate School at Slippery Rock where I did some ceramic courses there with Richard Willis.
“I traveled around and did jewelry for 15 years, and then I started taking my mom’s community art class just for fun when I moved back here in 2018. It was her last class.”
That was when she decided to start her own business, Allegheny Pines Pottery. Jenny said her website, alleghenypinespottery.com brings in a “lot” of business; however, more people are starting to visit in person.
“I had ten people walk in today, and this is like the first week I’ve been open to the public because of COVID restrictions. I wanted to wait until I had some immunity.”
Jenny said she had taken a test, and it was negative; however, she still couldn’t smell anything and quarantined herself. She was later tested for antibodies, suggesting that she did indeed have COVID but was now recovered.
She has some big plans for her business this summer.
“I’m going to do some workshops and classes and private lessons on the pottery starting in the summer. I’m also planning to do a Raku firing and I’m also hoping to get Gary Greenberg to help me. I’m hoping to do a Raku course with him if he has one in the fall.”
Clarion University has a Japanese anagama kiln, measuring 160 cubic feet, at Memorial Stadium. Assistant Professor Greenburg is an expert at firing the kiln and the ceramic pieces it helps to create.
Her work with the Boys and Girls Club also requires creativity in helping the youth of the community. For example, on Tuesday afternoon Jenny and Brad Rapp were busy planning an Easter egg hunt for kids after they were dismissed from school.
The Boys & Girls Club Along The Allegheny, according to President Dave Staab, was founded in 2001 as a non-profit organization that inspires and guides young people in the community toward a better future. The organization offers programs and services which enhance the personal sense of usefulness, competence, belonging, and influence in our youth.
Asked if she is pleased she returned to Emlenton, Jenny beamed.
“I love it. I’m really happy to be here. Now, I’m trying to find a piece of property here.”
Reprinted from exploreClarion.com with permission.