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Alumna Drew Tye Ruby-Howe'05 Inspires Through Art

Upper School Visual Arts Department Chair David Love’s art studio was a place of creative exuberance where students from all divisions were immersed in making gorgeous art, inspired by visiting artist Drew Tye Ruby-Howe ’05. Ruby-Howe, whose Arts Center installation was entitled “Amplifying the Ephemeral,” took on the additional role of teacher, guiding students (and some teachers!) in the beauty of expressing their feelings through art.

Unconstrained by paintbrushes, students initially expressed their emotions and tried to choose colors based on those emotions. Artists then created abstract pieces, all the while feeling the paint squish between their fingers and palms directly onto the canvas. Granted, some of the younger students came up with a consistent green color (think what happens when you mix all the playdough together), but as the students got a bit older, the colors became striking.

Ruby-Howe’s visit was sponsored by Art Across the Academy, which is led by Truesdell House Head and Upper School Visual Arts teacher Sara Krupnick-Ritz and Lower School Art Coordinator, Teacher, and PreK-12 STEAM Coordinator Jessica Grisafi. Both teachers said that it was one of, or maybe THE, best day of work EVER! It was a fantastic sight when students of all ages rolled up their sleeves to create art based on Ruby-Howe’s gorgeous installation.

“Drew uses her hands to create deeply emotive paintings,” said Krupnick-Ritz. “Her mark making creates spots of light that stimulate our eyes and heart. One's response to Drew's work seems to come over you like a wave. The longer you linger, and the work begs you to linger, the more deeply you are gently invited in. The more you see. The more you feel. Her work is deeply layered and evocative. It is an honor to share this special exhibit with our community this year.” 

Grisafi noted that the artwork is one of beauty and imagination. “Drew's abstract expressionist artwork invites viewers to explore the depths of emotion and imagination through vibrant colors that take us on a journey into the unknown. We are drawn in by the fluidity of each piece and the intensity of hues that evoke raw energy and spontaneity, inviting interpretation and reflection.  The anticipation of unveiling this work to the community is exhilarating, as each piece promises to ignite imaginations and spark conversations that resonate long after the exhibit concludes.”

The students toured the exhibit as well. First grader Lea M. ’35 said, “I feel like this painting is a big wash of color…this side over here feels bright and happy, this dark side feels like a storm. But I feel like most of this painting feels colorful.”

While initially planning to just provide direction to students, Ruby-Howe came away with more than she could have imagined. "From 8am-4pm, over 100 amazing students of all ages came through the studio and painted with me. We got messy and it was loud and the little kids squealed and the older kids dove in-all in the same room, all at the same time. It was pure, intergenerational surreality and the art they made was STUNNING. What a gift it was to be there and witness it all from the eyes of an alum who cherished any and every hour in the art department at GA. I felt so lucky to be able to engage with the community through this unique school-wide project and the slew of thoughtful student group conversations.”

The opening gallery reception for this month-long solo exhibition was nothing short of spectacular either. GA welcomed 140 people, including many alumni, to the Arts Center and enjoyed an evening of [re]connecting, big hugs, and emotional remarks, all surrounded by a body of work amplifying the beauty of the ephemeral 'moment'. The studios were also open all night so guests could see the kids' projects from the day and fantastic student volunteers helped everyone find their way. 

“I want to share my deep appreciation for Jess Grisafi, Sara Krupnick-Ritz, Keeley Jennings and Dave Love who donated his attention and beautiful classroom to us all day with the students,” said Ruby-Howe. “Jess, Sara, and Keeley were truly the visionaries of this entire endeavor and gave so much to this effort. Immense talent, creative problem-solving, scheduling and logistical prowess, designing magic, and endless time in endless forms. I am grateful to each of these incredible women for their friendship, and for facilitating this incredibly special experience."

Be sure to check out the many pieces of art, from students and teachers, on our Smugmug gallery HERE.