Heidi Leigh & Nick Leone have been married to each other and their gallery since 1994. When they met, Leigh had recently opened Animazing Gallery in Westchester and SoHo, New York. Leone was one of the savviest animation collectors of the day, who happened to be employed as the Gallery Director of the Warner Bros. flagship gallery on Fifth Avenue. Leone proposed in “Geppetto’s,” Leigh said “yes!” Chuck Jones drew their wedding invitation, and everyone ate carrot cake. Leone came aboard as Animazing’s Director and they have lived happily together in Westchester, New York with their daughter, Christie and their art collection.
The couple’s dream of owning a castle with a moat and a drawbridge became a reality in 2005 after Leone discovered Chateau Belcastel in the Averyon region of France. Their plan was to create numerous galleries within this magnificent medieval fortress, and to inspire visitors with music, art architecture and armor. As crazy as it sounds, the plan is working, and now nearly 25,000 visitors visit this historic site annually. The Mayor of the little village officially made them “citizens of honor” in 2006 and in 2009 Nick was knighted, Monsieur Nicholas T. Leone , Chevalier –Farge de la Tour Bistre.
Heidi Leigh was on the curatorial committee and the board of directors for MoCCA (The Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art) for 8 years until it closed in 2012. She has served as an advisor for The Walt Disney Co. and Art World Magazine, a consultant for Christie’s East and Sotheby’s auction houses, authored numerous articles & curated museum exhibitions. Leigh is recognized as an expert Art Appraiser by The Library of Congress for popular and applied graphic & cartoon art. Leigh has conducted seminars for university students, hosted Masterclasses and lectured about collecting animation art at the Art Expo in 2002 and 2003. Leigh has collaborated with many organizations over the years to host events that benefit museums and charitable organizations and has acted as a mentor for the Westchester Association of Women Business Owners, The Westchester Arts Council and The American Crafts Council.
Nicholas Leone is an art and armor collector, a musician, songwriter, inventor and the President of Screaming Wedgie Entertainment, a cartoon production company.
Leone a top expert in the art of illustration by such iconic American Illustrators as Charles Schulz, Theodor Geisel and Maurice Sendak, among others. In 2012 he curated a museum tour, “The Maurice Sendak Memorial Exhibition,” which opened in 2013 at The Bowers Museum in LA, and then to The New Britain Museum of American Art and the Walt Disney Family Museum, to name a few venues.
Both Both Leigh and Leone are Charter members of The Animation Art Guild. They belong to The Society of Illustrators, Museum of American Illustrators, MoCCA (Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art), The Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, The Charles Schulz Museum & Research Center. The Rosenbach Museum & Library and MoMA.
Leigh and Leone live together in Westchester, New York for most of the year, and spend summers in France at their chateau. They believe with their whole hearts that living with art and music is necessary, and take great pleasure in sharing their enthusiasm, passion and expertise with clients, collectors, artists, and friends.