Meet Our Residents: Ruth Ross  

Rose Villa is a colorful community of creative, adventurous people who come from many different backgrounds and walks of life. In this edition of “Meet our Residents,” we’re sitting down with Ruth Ross, who was part of the collaborative effort behind Rose Villa’s Creative Arts Program, to learn more about her background as the Vice President Art Director for Ballantine Books at Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, and how she continues to practice art as an expression of the obstacles and freedoms of aging.

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Ruth has always had an eye for design. As a graduate of Parsons School of Design in New York City, one of the most prestigious art and design schools in the world, Ruth developed years of valuable experience learning from industry-leading designers, photographers and illustrators, poised to take the highly-competitive New York art scene by storm. And that’s exactly what she did. After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Ruth landed a job at Random House, working her way up to VP Art Director at Ballantine Books where she illustrated and designed book covers for a multitude of publishing professionals over the course of 18 years. Throughout her career, Ruth interacted with notable authors and industry leaders, including Philip Roth, Jimmy Carter, Michael Crichton, Marge Piercy, and John Irving, among many others. After retiring from Random House in 1999, Ruth spontaneously moved across the country to Portland in search of a quieter life. A few years later as she was out running errands, Ruth and her husband Robert noticed the construction taking place at Rose Villa and decided to stop by and see what the community had to offer. They instantly fell in love with the cottage-style living, proximity to Portland and the Willamette, and the opportunities to share ideas and interests with an inclusive community. A day later, Ruth and her husband put money down to snag a cottage in the Rose Villa community, an impulse decision that she will never regret. Today, Ruth is an integral part of the onsite art programs at Rose Villa, working directly with Arts and Culture Program Coordinator Kathryn Cellerini Moore and Community Relations Coordinator Jenna Miller to coordinate studio tours, art exhibits, and community classes. In fact, Ruth is the one of the featured resident artists and writers whose work is on display in the South Main Gallery at Rose Villa. The current exhibit, “A Few Things You Might Not Know About Me,” features writing excerpts and full texts from 13 resident authors, and “Female/75,” the new mixed media series by Ruth.

"I have always painted, and in recent years I have acquired some of the skills for printing monotypes and lithographs. The current exhibit incorporates those skills, printing to silks and vintage fabrics, which combine with my interest in textile to create work that is a statement about the effects of growing older and femininity and sexuality.” – Ruth Ross

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In addition to an opening reception that will honor all of the artists in the show, Ruth will give an artist talk about her current body of work that has been on display in three venues across Portland, now including Rose Villa. Ruth will speak about the ways that psyche can influence artwork starting at 6:30pm on Friday, June 22 in The Performing Arts Center. The event is open to the public – we hope to see everyone there! Come join us and meet Ruth in person to learn more about her remarkable story. Visit her website