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Alumna Faculty Member’s Gallery Opening Is April 25  

Stacy-Ann Rowe ’97 says she has the best of both worlds. She is a member of the visual arts faculty at Loomis Chaffee and a working artist.  

The Richmond Art Center is a home away from home; it is where she teaches, and it is where she has studio space. 

“I get to be around art, I get to create, I get to teach, I get to help young minds, and I get to be here in the place that fostered that love for art,” Ro said. “I took a drawing class here as a freshman and fell in love with drawing and art. So, I wanted to figure out how I could do this for my life; this is what makes me happy. I can honestly say my passion and love for art started here.” 

Known to all on the Island as “Ro,” she is in her fifth year of teaching at Loomis and will have an opening in the Sue and Eugene Mercy Gallery on Tuesday, April 25, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The show, Freedom of Thought, runs through June 12 and was about two years in the making.  

“When I started planning the show, it was going to be based on the Seven Deadly Sins [lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride],” Ro said. “Then COVID hit, and I said I am not going to focus on sin and death for two years.” Instead, she decided to do the opposite, following the theme of the Seven Heavenly Virtues — chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, forgiveness, kindness, and humility. 

She focused on the feelings that each theme evoked for her. One part of the kindness section of the exhibit is a glass installation with images of kindness from around the world. There were many to choose from, and each had a story. She points to a pelican, an elephant, and jasmine.  

Ro with glasswork and sneakers in the Mercy Gallery

Ro with glasswork and sneakers in the Mercy Gallery on the day her show would open.

“I didn’t know pelicans were a sign of kindness, and it is great since we are the Pelicans,” Ro said of the Loomis mascot. “And an elephant. My mom is obsessed with elephants, so it was great that I could find that. Jasmine is my niece’s name, so that came to me.” 

In the corner of that exhibit is a rocking chair and footrest, brightly painted. What she sees is a loving mother and the kindness associated with nursing a baby. 

Ro said she could have gone in several directions regarding temperance.  

“I decided to go with a caterpillar becoming a butterfly … it’s about carrying on … this phase that might not be the most beautiful part of yourself but making sure you just stick with it, you are focused, and you have that willpower to move on.” 

But there is a second, more powerful meaning. 

“My dad passed away in 2021 of COVID, and my mom always says she thinks he comes back to her as a butterfly,” Ro said. “Every day [when] she goes outside, there is the same purple butterfly. Purple was his favorite color. So it’s always there, and butterflies are always on my mind. I think of my dad. So this entire setup has butterflies in it.” 

Those are just two of the displays in the exhibit. Clearly, family inspires her.  

“I love my family, have a wonderful family,” Ro said. “For me, to really get into my art, I always have to ground myself and come back to who I really am and what I want to do and not what people expect of me or want me to do. That always goes back to me thinking about my family and specifically my parents and what they have ingrained in me." 

Also on exhibit: The College-Level Art Seminar capstone show and advanced student artwork in all disciplines. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Gallery hours are subject to the school schedule.) 


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