Ross School Students Win LongHouse Awards

IMG_9219 (1) Several Ross School students won awards in this week’s LongHouse Student Annual X. The Student Annual show recognizes outstanding student work inspired by a class or student visit to LongHouse during the 2016–2017 academic year. Teachers were invited to submit the best individual and collective interpretations for individual, small group, whole class, and/or whole grades for consideration.

At the show reception, guests applauded as students were called on stage for recognition, and Bridgehampton High School’s marimba band serenaded the audience. A complete listing of awards won by Ross students appears below.



Maisie C. ’25 and Wesley H. ’25 were awarded in the Mixed Media category.

Elise A. ’25, Joy Mae H. ’25, Eleni K. ’25, and Amaya J. ’25 were selected for their 2D Mixed Media Collaboration

upper school winners


Jennifer Cross’s Advanced Art Class won first place in the Book Arts Collaborative category. Sharon Kim ’18 and Dennef Chiriboga ’18 accepted the award on behalf of the class.

Keqing (Kevin) He ’20 was awarded first place in the Drawing category.

Seamus McCarthy ’17 was awarded first place in the Sculpture category.

Grace Fu ’18 placed second in the Painting category.

Sunny Guo ’18, Tali Friedman ’18, and Nick Swanson ’18 won first place in the Collaborative Video category.

Advanced Studio Art Students Meet Walter Price

Walter_Price_6607 Painter Walter Price visited students in Jennifer Cross’s Advanced Studio Art course to share information about his career path and creative process. The artist, who was born in Macon, Georgia, recently completed his first-ever solo show, although his bright and eclectic works have been widely displayed throughout New York. Unlike many people who struggle to figure out what occupation they would enjoy, Walter said he had always felt a call to be an artist or creator. He recalled being inspired as a child by a picture that his older brother drew of the characters from the 1990s children’s television show Bananas in Pajamas dressed in baggy urban clothes. Until then, he’d never been aware of work that was rooted in something familiar but informed by an artist’s personal experience. He continues to try and instill that quality in his own work.

Walter says that one of the most important pieces of advice that he could share with young artists is to maintain their creative drive. “I always tell them to never stop having fun with whatever inspires them creatively, whether that’s drawing, painting, or sculpting,” Walter explained. “We’re not encouraged to be creative as adults, so I try to remind students that staying focused on their art and believing in themselves will take them very far in this world.”


For 11th grade student Clover Kim, Walter’s visit was enlightening. “I loved learning more about his work and seeing the hidden messages incorporated into his paintings. Even though the way he views the world is very different from the way I do, I gained a lot of insight from his strong expression.”

Walter is currently engaged in a personal challenge to begin and fill a sketchbook in the course of a day. Although he’s been able to do it before, Walter insists he’s not always successful. Still, he values the practice, which he combines with exploring other media like photography and drawing. “I know that when I go back to painting, [these explorations] will advance the work in ways that I’m not even aware of,” he said.

Reaching Toward a Greener Future

IMG_5135 Avid sailor Jared Goldsmith ’17 is using his Senior Project as a way to share his passion and educate his peers about this ancient and environmentally friendly pastime. In a tent beside the school’s metal shop at the far end of campus, Jared is in the process of constructing a Passagemaker classic sailing dinghy.

“I have always wanted my own sailboat,” Jared said. “Sailing is fun, and also eco-friendly compared to powering bigger yachts and motorboats.”

Jared began sailing when he moved to Sag Harbor as a seven-year-old. He attended a sailing camp and eventually accepted a job at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club, where he teaches sailing in the summer. Working at the yacht club has helped to prepare Jared for his Senior Project by teaching him to work with new materials like fiberglass and to repair damaged boats.

Jared's Passagemaker is being built of Okoume marine plywood stitched together with copper wire, trimmed in mahogany, and reinforced with fiberglass. Because there are no special molds or tools needed, as with glued hull shapes, this 90-pound boat is an ideal boat for first-time builders like him.


Still, Jared’s project has not been without challenge. This fall, he fractured his leg while playing basketball, which made maneuvering around his already tight workspace even more difficult. Additionally, winter weather has proven to be an obstacle. During a recent snowstorm, Jared had to travel to school three times to remove snow accumulating on the roof of the tent. The cold weather is also making it difficult for the fiberglass epoxy to set.

With Senior Project celebration nights next week, Jared expects to complete his project in time for Exhibition Night next Thursday.

The Ross School’s class of 2017 will be presenting their Senior Projects to the public from January 18–20. For a full schedule of events, please visit These events are free and open to the public.

Modernity Projects Explore the Evolution of Modern Consciousness

DSC_3277 Earlier this month, Ross eleventh graders culminated their Modernity studies with projects that expressed the advances in science, art, and culture that occurred during the Modern time period, as well as the people that helped shape this important era.


From disruptive technologies to the rising skylines of major cities to the growing momentum of the feminist movement, the Modern era brought important changes that influenced both social behaviors and the economics of the times. The period also saw the introduction of new inventions that had significant cultural impacts on societal interactions and international warfare.


The Modernity projects include original artworks, couture, models of iconic buildings, and case studies of advances in science and medicine. Ross junior Selena focused on Japanese cuisine before and during the Modern period. One noticeable change was the introduction of Korean rice (previously, when the country was under British rule, rice was procured from India). Her classmate, Frank, created a beautiful painting and sculpture featuring a bull skull, influenced by Pablo Picasso and Cubism. Other classmates detailed advancements in the study of anatomy and the evolution of women’s hairstyles through the Regency, Victorian, Edwardian and Interwar (1920–1930) eras. “Hairstyles reflected the social moods and innovations of the day, becoming increasingly natural and progressive over time. This included the bob, which debuted in the Modern period,” eleventh grader Jordyn said.


Check out the photos of the amazing projects by Ross School juniors!



Faculty Art Exhibition Opens at Ross Gallery

DSC_5873 On Tuesday, November 17, students, staff, and members of the community were delighted to attend the opening of the Art @ Ross Faculty Exhibition in the Ross Gallery at the Upper School. The show features paintings, prints, photographs, and mixed-media works by Ross teaching faculty and associates, including Ned Smyth, Jennifer Cross, Jon Mulhern, Alexis Martino, Christina Schlesinger, Brianna Ashe, Kevin Pomerleau, and Christopher Engel.


Ross School, renowned for its art-infused curriculum, is proud to have professional and emerging artists as members of the teaching staff. Several students in their first year at Ross attended the opening and were impressed to learn that many of their teachers and mentors are successful artists with international recognition.

DSC_5920 “It is a pleasure to share our work and experience with the students,” said Jennifer Cross, dean of Visual Arts. “We hope by seeing the diversity of the work on display and learning more about the backgrounds of their teachers, students can be inspired in their own creative endeavors.”

The following works of art will be on display in the Ross Gallery through December 16.

Brianna Ashe, Teaching Associate Little House on Lincoln Woodcut

Jennifer Cross, Dean of Visual Arts Great Was the Race and If Only Oil on wood

Christopher Engel, Director of Community Programs Summer Carnival Mixed media on paper

Alexis Martino, Dean of Media Studies Untitled photos

Jon Mulhern, Visual Arts Teacher Brave 2014 and Meraki 2015 Acrylic on canvas

Kevin Pomerleau, Teaching Associate Worn, Not Yet Ruined Screenprint on canvas

Christina Schlesinger, Cultural History Teacher Viking Raider and Stuart Collage on Indian cloth

Ned Smyth Nestle C-print


LongHouse Awards

Emma2 On June 17, a beautiful summer evening, Ross School students from both the Upper and Lower Schools proudly accepted awards for their artwork in a broad range of categories at the LongHouse Reserve 2015 Student Annual VIII. The works were chosen from hundreds submitted by students from schools on the East End of Long Island, each based on entrants’ experiences at the Reserve.


LongHouse encourages “living with art in all forms,” and the students are inspired to express themselves in their medium of choice. The outdoor ceremony began with a warm welcome from LongHouse Reserve Founder Jack Lenor Larsen, who said he was once again delighted to see the huge participation from young people and their interest in expressing the beauty of life through art. Then, with the soft sunlight as backdrop, the students were called to the stage accept their awards.


At a break in the ceremony, Emma Engel ’16 entertained the audience with a live performance of her award-winning dance, “Function of the Senses.”

“I am very impressed with the creativity and originality of this year's group of Ross students in responding artistically to their experiences at LongHouse," said Jennifer Cross, dean of Visual Arts at Ross School.

Below are Ross School winners per category:

Watercolor (K and 1st grade) Winners Sonia Manoussoff Damian Sosa Luke Stevenson Teacher: Soraya Brooks

Art and Poetry (High School) 1st Place: Elizabeth Burdge ’17 Teacher: Jennifer Cross

Fashion Illustration (High School) 1st Place: Untitled, Eric Wu ’16 Teacher: Jennifer Cross

3rd Place: Untitled, Iris Gu ’16 Teacher: Jennifer Cross

Painting (High School) 3rd Place: Untitled, Nissu Wang ’16 Teacher: Jennifer Cross

Painting—Collaborative 1st Place: Sketches of LongHouse Blair Choi ‘17 Eric Wu ’16 Iris Tong ‘16 Nissu Wang ‘16 Jenny Chen ‘18 Yuting Ding ‘17 Odile Li ‘17 Emily Lin ‘17 John Liou ‘17 Andy Long ‘18 Amber Qian ‘16 Misuzu Shibano ‘16 Isabel Timerman ‘16 Big Kitty (Jingyi) Xue ‘16 Teacher: Jennifer Cross

Performance Arts (High School) Interpretive Dance and Original Choreography 1st Place: Function of the Senses, Emma Engel ’16 Teacher: Sheryl Hastalis

2nd Place: Matter-Avoid, Talia Friedman ’18 Teacher: Sheryl Hastalis

 Sculpture (High School) 3rd Place: Untitled, Misuzu Shibano ’16 Teacher: Jennifer Cross

Congratulations to all winners!

Seventh Grade Curates Art Exhibition

55_2015Ross_KSM7891Having the seventh grade students curate an annual art exhibition has been a tradition at Ross School for more than 15 years. The current show, The Illusion of Definition, opened in the Ross Gallery on June 5, and features professional East End artists Roisin Bateman, Don Christensen, and Anne Raymond.24_2015Ross_KSM7844 The seventh graders spent months preparing for the exhibition, learning about the intricate details that go on behind the scenes at renowned museums. They interviewed local artists, took photos, wrote biographies, selected works, installed the show, and hosted the opening celebration. Along the way, they were supported by Visual Arts teacher Jon Mulhern, Dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross, and seventh grade teacher Carol Crane.

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The three artists presented in the show create abstract artwork using a variety of media. Roisin Bateman expresses the metamorphic effects of weather on nature in her paintings, pastels, and monotypes. Don Christensen’s paintings use geometric shapes and bright vibrant colors inspired by nature and music. In addition to canvas, Christensen paints on distressed wood and found furniture. Anne Raymond’s paintings and prints are known for evoking an airy feel, with light brushstrokes juxtaposed with darker, bolder ones. She mixes warm, cool, and neutral colors to suggest the wild forces of nature.

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In the months before the opening, the students had an opportunity to work with each artist in their local studios to learn about their motivations and techniques. Students created their own art inspired by their visits, and their colorful stools and prints are also on display as part of the show.


Summing up the experience with the pros, the students said, “Working with the artists and witnessing their studios was truly inspirational. They gave us incredible tips on what we should do when making prints and monotypes. We also were able to talk about their interests, and understand the true meaning of their art.”


When it was time to install the show, the seventh graders, artists, and teachers discussed the best arrangement to showcase the beauty and detail of the abstract art. They moved gallery walls and experimented with placement, resulting in a 3D-like effect. For example, the students’ stools were arranged on varying sizes of display podiums in the middle of the gallery.


The students say the project was a lot of work, but teamwork made the difference: “If one gear in the system was stuck, we worked together to fix it.” They also have a new appreciation for everything that goes into running a successful gallery, and now feel that they will experience art in a different way in the future.

Q&A with Visual Arts Teacher Ned Smyth

DSC_0882 The advantages of studying at Ross School are many, with one of the most significant being the opportunity to learn from professional experts on a daily basis. Ross School News recently visited with Visual Arts teacher Ned Smyth to learn more about his career as an accomplished artist and how he brings this expertise and passion to the classroom.

What’s different about studying art at Ross School?

One of the most important differences is the School’s curriculum. With Cultural History at the core, the arts courses are integrated with all other subjects, including mathematics, science, and literature. Another is the special relationships between teachers and students.

Like our colleagues in other departments, the Visual Arts teachers are successful working artists, so we’re really able to connect with the students to share our insight into art as a way of life. I’ve been a professional artist since the ’70s, and it’s great to share this knowledge to help them see art as a lifetime experience versus a classroom assignment. I’m particularly interested in helping them find their passion and personal voice through art, and develop as a whole person.

Describe your role at Ross School.

I teach several art courses during the school year, including an introduction to Renaissance art for ninth graders and art of the Romantic era for tenth graders. They learn not just artistic techniques, but also about the influence of specific events and time periods on the evolution of art. I’ve also introduced several art electives to help students express themselves, as well as perfect their art skills in a particular discipline.

As part of their studies, ninth graders explore the life and influence of Leonardo da Vinci. He was a fascinating scientist and artist who approached his research with a keen sense for detail and a desire to really “see” and understand the nature of a subject.

Like Leonardo, I teach my students to know their subject by really seeing it. For example, during their first class, I had the freshmen begin their art studies by drawing a light bulb. As expected, many drew the “symbol” of a bulb, with lines stretching out to indicate that it’s giving off light and energy. I then placed an actual bulb on the table, and they could immediately see that it contained many details they had overlooked. It’s an important lesson, because although most of my students will not be professional artists, the ability to look, and see, and understand their surroundings will be invaluable as they progress through life.

Tenth graders study art in a similar way. They learn different artistic forms and techniques related to the Romantic era, but we also talk about the events of Europe and North America that influenced the styles of the period.

In the elective classes, the focus is not only on expanding their technical abilities, but also on finding a personal voice. At first, I expected these electives to be for advanced artists, but they turned out to be helpful for all students who are trying to find their voice and discover themselves and their talents.

A new elective course this year, “Content in Art,” was designed for students with interests in different disciplines including creative writing, painting, photography, architecture, sculpture, and philosophy. The class discussed meaningful subjects such as beauty, honor, loyalty, or life after death, and each student worked in their own personal medium to express their personal interpretation of the subject.

I want my students to understand that their artwork should be about something, that the content of the work is as important as their technical ability. No matter how perfect their rendering is, without personal insight or content, it does not become art. To copy what’s out there only takes you so far. To be visionary takes you beyond.

One of the areas we explore is finding their personal mark. For this, they draw blindfolded while I talk them through different emotional states such as anger, happiness, or comfort. The exercise helps them become aware of their personal energy, hand pressure, and movements, which helps them own their individual style. They experiment with giving voice to their dreams, nature, or feelings through different media and techniques. In one class, I had a student who was going through a difficult period, and she was able to channel and express her emotions into her art projects. It led to both powerful and healing images.

What led you to Ross School?

My two sons attended Ross, so I was familiar with the curriculum and community. Knowing that I was a professional artist, the School approached me when a teaching position opened up in the Visual Arts department.

Since 1975, I’ve been involved in international art exhibitions at museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C., and the Kunstforeningen in Copenhagen, as well as creating major commissions across the country. So at the time, I was busy and hadn’t really considered teaching at all.

When I eventually did join the School, I loved the connection to the kids, working with them, and helping them develop into successful and self-aware individuals. The same is true eight years later.

What’s coming up for you on the professional front?

Recently, I completed casting two 12-foot bronzes of male and female torsos for the new Adler Center for Nursing Excellence building at Ramapo College in New Jersey. The two prototypes were first shipped to China, where the bronzes were cast, and I’m now preparing to ship them back to the United States, where they will be installed over the summer. I’m also working on a large mosaic for a park in Pittsburgh, small bronzes, and monumental photographs for a future exhibition.

You can check out a few photos of the bronzes and my other work at



Grade 10 Experiences Plein Air Outing

DSC_0186 On May 27, the Ross tenth graders traveled to Cedar Point Park in East Hampton to combine their studies in art, science, and writing outdoors, or “en plein air.” Working en plein air replicates for the students a mode of artistic expression popular in the 19th century during the age of Romanticism. 


The class divided up while at the park, with one group oil painting with Dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross. Although they had to fight the wind a bit, the students produced a number of impressive landscape paintings.

The rest of the class rotated through several other outdoor experiences. Dean of World Languages and Literature Jack Hill and teacher Dwight Curtis led students in writing either lyrical poems in the manner of the Romantic poets or essays on the “sublime”—the Romantic idea of seeking out profound, overwhelming experiences in nature.


Science teachers Kim Borsack and Jack Szczepanski guided the group as they made scientific observations of marine life species on the beach. Seining with nets and buckets, the students captured a variety of species, such as shrimp and fiddler crabs.


Visual Arts teacher Ned Smyth oversaw students as they created two pencil drawings: one close-up, detailed drawing of an object in nature, and then one landscape sketch. Visiting artist Chrissie Schlesinger instructed students in the art of painting landscapes using watercolors.


Finally, the whole class engaged in plein air wellness, playing frisbee, tag, and other games. With beautiful weather and a change in scenery, the outing was a truly enjoyable experience. A selection of the plein air student works will be on view outside the Café next week to coincide with the school’s celebration of World Environment Day.

Sage Elsesser Named “Best New Artist”

sage and gp Ross School senior Sage Elsesser was recently named “Best New Artist” at the 77th Annual Guild Hall Artists Member Exhibition. Out of the hundreds of artists who submitted work to this year’s and previous exhibitions, Sage is the youngest artist ever to receive the award. His work of art, first titled “III” and then later renamed “Hard to Forget,” is a drypoint print of three people lynched in Alabama in the 1900s, and one of 16 pieces he created for his Senior Project. It will be on display at Guild Hall in East Hampton through June 6.Sage7

Sage is humble about his art. In fact, it took some encouragement from his advisor, Brianna Ashe, to take a second look at “Hard to Forget” before he admitted it was a good piece. Dean of Visual Arts Jen Cross, too, was supportive after she was contacted by Guild Hall patrons to relay a request to Sage to submit his work.

“It has been a privilege to work with Sage this year as his Senior Project mentor and as his art teacher. I admire him as a self-directed artist who explores both personal and universal themes, and strives always for authenticity and meaning in his work,” Jen said.


Marla Prather, a curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, served as this year's awards judge. She spoke with Sage at the exhibition opening to let him know that his work was “important,” a statement he appreciates. “Art should convey emotion,” he said.

As an example, he mentioned the profound impact artist Jacob Lawrence’s paintings of the Great Migration had on him during a recent visit to an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. The works capture the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North. “I could hear Billie Holiday playing in the other room as I took in the paintings and observed the reactions of the other visitors. A few were simply talking about one aspect of the painting, and they missed the essence of an emotional and pivotal time period Lawrence captured. For me, it was like being in a sanctuary, and I wanted to ask them what they were thinking.”

Sage and Brother1

Asked about the inspiration for his work, Sage talks of his family, especially his grandfather, who is a main influence. “He grew up in the deep South, and was a conscientious objector who spent years in a camp organized to literally shock people into believing in war. These things actually happened,” he said. A beautiful painting based on a photo his mother took of Sage as a child with his grandfather is part of his Senior Project collection. “Skillwise, it’s one of my best,” he says. It’s obvious that it is so much more, and the viewer can see the emotion and love living in the painting.

“Art is an extension of oneself,” Sage says, “and it’s gratifying to see people make a connection to my work.”

Sage will attend a prestigious art school in the fall to pursue a bachelor of fine arts degree.

Grade 8 Draws Artistic Inspiration from Medieval Cathedrals

DSC_1283 One of the highlights of Ross School’s 8th grade curriculum is the Medieval Guild Projects, a few days when students step away from their regular school routine and immerse themselves in the role of guild apprentice to a master craftsperson. Just as some young people in medieval times would apprentice themselves to learn the tools and techniques of various trades, Ross students choose an area to specialize in, and end up producing beautiful results in a variety of artistic media. 


This year, students focused on mosaics, sculptured gargoyles, gilded paintings, and stained glass. All of these arts were integral elements of medieval cathedrals, which in turn were the physical and cultural manifestations of the growth in universal religions and their importance to the cultures being studied.


Mentors who served as master craftspersons last month included Sag Harbor artist David Slater, who worked with students on mosaics; longtime Ross associate Mary Jaffe, who guided the creation of clay gargoyles both adorable and grotesque; painter Roisin Bateman, who instructed students in the art of applying gold leaf to their artwork; and Sue Lichtenstein Lowell, who taught students how to work with stained glass.


At the beginning of the several-day period set aside for the projects, students viewed examples of their chosen artistic expression from the time period they have been studying, such as gargoyles from Notre Dame or illuminated manuscripts. The painting guild even examined the definitive 15th-century “how-to” book on using gold leaf and egg tempera to enhance works of art, authored by Cennino Cennini. The guilds then begin work on their own creations. It is a labor-intensive process, but the work comes with intangible rewards. Jen Cross, dean of Visual Arts, explained that the project gives students a sense of the communal learning and structure that was so essential to the medieval way of life. In addition, she said, students “have to demonstrate patience to achieve their goals.” There is a “reverence for the activity” that is a departure from the day-to-day schedule of modern life.


Eighth grader Lilly enthusiastically agrees. “I really loved the process!” she said. “It was such a fun experience and pretty easy to learn. I also think it was cool to learn what people had to do to make stained glass back in the Middle Ages.”

For more pictures of student projects, visit the Medieval Guild Projects Flickr gallery.

ESOL Students Visit Metropolitan Museum of Art

esol3 On February 3, Ross high school students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages classes headed to New York City to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and view exhibits related to their studies of Medieval and Renaissance art and culture. In their Global Studies classes, the students recently investigated the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, the spread of Christianity, and significant events of the Middle Ages; they are currently immersed in the Renaissance period.

“Viewing the actual artworks related to these time periods is so important to helping the students understand and embrace their studies,” said Vincent Barbato, World Languages and Literature teacher.

View pictures of the ESOL class trip to the Met

Ross Student Art on Display at Parrish and Guild Hall

Parrish8 Each year, the Parrish Museum in Water Mill and Guild Hall in East Hampton celebrate local student artists by placing their works on view in these renowned professional venues. Creations from Ross Upper and Lower School students will be on display in both institutions in February and March.


At the Parrish Museum’s 2015 Student Exhibition, the second grade’s beautiful piece “Solar System” hangs in a prominent position in the room with artwork from other local elementary schools.

The children worked with professional artist Sylvia Hommert, who helped them create their own pieces in her style, which includes carving into beeswax and then painting the design. Students were encouraged to pull inspiration from their studies of the Solar System and the big bang theory.


Across the hall, Ross high school student works include photographs, drawings, paintings, and prints, several of which are related to Senior Projects. The artwork exudes emotion and skill, offering a special experience for each viewer.

This Parrish exhibition will be on display through March 1.


At Guild Hall, Part 1 of the annual Student Arts Festival displays the third grade’s ceramic dinosaurs, which connect to their studies of early civilizations; the fifth grade’s Egyptian portraits on papyrus, developed as part of their studies of riverine civilizations; and photographs by eighth grade students related to their explorations of medieval Baghdad.


Part 1 will be on display until February 22. Part 2, featuring art from grades 9–12, will begin March 7.

Art History in New York City

DSC_0152 On November 13, the Revolutionary Art class led by Dr. Therese Lichtenstein traveled to New York City, taking their studies beyond the classroom walls. The students first visited the Upper East Side’s Jewish Museum, where curator Mason Klein treated them to a guided tour. Klein showcased Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power, an exhibition that celebrates Rubinstein’s collection of art and pays tribute to her as a pioneer of the beauty industry.


Students traveled next to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Therese tasked them with finding the works that they studied in class, with a focus on their recently concluded Impressionism unit. They were also challenged to choose a favorite piece and analyze its theme. As they came face-to-face with the paintings from their studies, students built a deeper understanding of artistic process and purpose. James, a senior, keenly described the juxtaposition of leisure with industrialism in a painting by Monet as a demonstration of what he has learned in the class so far.


Ross School affords students the unique opportunity to seize the offerings of New York’s cultural institutions. Students in Therese’s class eagerly embraced the Met’s collection of 19th and 20th century “revolutionary” art, defined as such for its commentary on political, social, and economic changes. As technologies advance and societies are globalized, students are experiencing revolutions of a new sort, and Therese’s class prepares them to express these changes through experimentation with artistic media.

Alumni Art Exhibition Opens at Ross Gallery

Bronwyn As an institution renowned for its strong art-infused curriculum and emphasis on arts instruction, Ross School takes pride in the number of its graduates who have gone on to work in various artistic and creative fields. A number of these artists’ work is featured in the Ross Alumni Art Exhibition, which opened November 12 in the Ross Gallery. The show highlights artists who graduated from Ross in the last 13 years and are now studying art in college or working as professionals in creative fields. The alumni artwork on view includes drawings, paintings, animations, cartoons, ceramics, sculpture, photography, and prints.

View Alumni Art Exhibition Photos

At the packed reception, students and members of the community wandered though the Gallery enjoying the diverse displays and the beautiful piano music played by Ross eleventh grader Ning (Claire) Yan.


“I am so impressed with the accomplishments of all the artists represented in this show and grateful to them for sharing their artworks with the Ross community. They are certainly an inspiration to all aspiring artists and future Ross graduates,” said Jennifer Cross, dean of Visual Arts. Students in Jennifer’s Museum Studies class assisted in curating the exhibition.


The featured artists are Noah Engel ’11, a film major and senior at New York University; Aiyana Jaffe ’13, a sophomore at Rhode Island School of Design; photographer Alexandra Strada ’06, who is pursuing a master’s of fine arts at Columbia; Molly Weiss ’02, a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art who now works as an independent artist and curator; John Messinger ’02, a photographer and artist who will have his first one-man show in New York City this fall; Ryan Duff ’04, a graduate of SUNY Purchase and current Ross School house parent; Hunter Herrick ’03, a cinematographer for film and TV; Riko Kawahara ’13, who is currently studying graphic design at Pratt Institute; Alia Knowlan ’13, a senior at Savannah College of Art; Tucker Marder ’08, an artist, curator, and director and current MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon Julian Mardoyan-Smyth ’08, a senior at Skidmore College; Kate Petrone ’05, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and a photographer; Bronwyn Roe ’06, a self-taught painter and visual artist; Dan Roe ’04, filmmaker and Media Studies teacher at Ross; Sara Salaway ’11, a senior majoring in photography at Bennington College; Clarisa Skretch ’04, a graduate of Carleton College and a portrait artist; Keith Skretch ’01, who designs video for live performance and installation in New York and Los Angeles; Andrina Smith ’03, a graduate of Emerson College and current actor, playwright, and singer; and Zac Wan ’14, a freshman at the School of Visual Arts.


The Alumni Art Exhibition will be on display through December 18 at the Ross School Gallery, located at 18 Goodfriend Drive in East Hampton.

Sixth Grade Visits Upper School Art Gallery

6gallery1 On October 22, Ross sixth graders visited the Ross Gallery at the Upper School campus to view the Art @Ross exhibit, which showcases a diverse selection of Ross student artwork, curated with help from the Ross Museum Studies class.


During a tour with Dean of Visual Arts Jennifer Cross, students learned about the origin and meaning of key pieces, including the Core Values ribbon sculpture made by this year’s eleventh graders; a 12-foot-long human rights mural, designed and painted by Ross Upper School students; photos of children from Nicaragua and the Philippines holding portraits painted for them by Ross students for their Memory Project; and award-winning student artwork from last June’s Longhouse Student Annual.


The visit was also an opportunity to learn about an important project they will undertake next year. Jennifer explained that for the last 18 years, the seventh grade at Ross curates a gallery exhibition to learn firsthand what’s involved, from securing the local artists, to arranging the pieces, to organizing the opening event.


To help the class see why the Art @Ross curators chose the specific layout for the exhibition, Lower School Visual Arts Teacher Soraya Brooks asked the students to draw their favorite piece in the gallery in the middle column of a paper divided in three, and then had them draw the pieces on its left and right. The students carefully examined the artwork, and then eagerly got to their task, stretching out on the gallery floor.


“The visit taught the students how to experience and appreciate art from a new perspective, and hopefully added to the excitement about their move to Upper School next year,” Soraya said.

Second Grade Students Create “Big Bang” Painting

big bang In the second grade Cultural History class, students are learning about the big bang theory in their Solar System unit. The class was asked how they could create the illusion of an immense explosion to visually represent their studies. After many discussions, students decided to use water balloons filled with paint to make a colorful piece of art on canvas.

On a recent sunny day at the Lower School, families, teachers, and staff gathered to watch the creative process, as the students went to work smashing paint bombs in sync to “Also sprach Zarathustra,” the opening music from 2001: A Space Odyssey. “We had so much fun, and the result was a beautiful painting that helped the students visualize the significance of the big bang theory,” said second grade Teacher Shannon Timoney.

Third Grade Studies Narrative Art at Parrish Museum

Parrish 2 On October 8, Ross third graders visited the Parrish Museum in Water Mill to view ecologically inspired artworks in the main lobby and paintings by William Glackens. A museum guide offered background on the artists and works, and the result was a learning experience for the students that introduced them to historical information about the artists and time periods and the definition of narrative art.

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Upon arrival, students gathered in the lobby to view Arctic Circle, Latitude New York City, and Equator a huge marble installation by artist Maya Lin that depicts the topography of the places of study. Students discussed the meaning of latitude and longitude as well as possible techniques for working with marble.

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In the gallery, students viewed specific works from Glackens including paintings of scenes set in New York’s Central Park, the beach and Long Island’s Bellport Harbor. Their tour focused on the narrative features in the park and beach scenes with a particular emphasis on representations of nature, the four seasons, and the passage of time. Students were encouraged to tell the story the paintings inspired for them, and observed characteristics that would help indicate the time period of the scene.

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Third graders wrapped up their time at the museum with a workshop where they worked with colored pencils and watercolor paint to create a related sequence of images such as the changing leaves of tree.

“It was a pleasure to see how quickly the students related the new information and experiences to their own lives and studies,” said Soraya Brooks, Visual Arts teacher at the Lower School.

Self-Portraits Reflect Hopes for the School Year, Ross Core Values As one of the first projects of the year, Ross students in Early Childhood through grade 6 thought about what they hoped to achieve as artists this year and which Ross Core Value would help them reach their goal. They then illustrated these hopes and dreams with self-portraits.

Students noted their aspirations below their portraits; their goals included such items as learning how to make a quilt, draw animals, design a pottery bowl, or create a 3D image. “It’s a beautiful way to start off the school year, and understanding each student’s artistic interest is important to helping them achieve their goals,” said Soraya Brooks, Visual Arts teacher at Ross Lower School.

This is the second year students created self-portraits, and Soraya said they plan to make it an annual event. “It brings the entire community together, and also helps foster new connections among classmates, teachers, and Buddies.” The Buddies program pairs older students with younger students for activities such as reading aloud together and art projects.

The self-portraits are on display in the Lower School main lobby and art studio.

Ross Gallery Opens with Art @Ross Exhibition

gallery opening1 Art @Ross, the first exhibition in the Ross Gallery for the 2014–2015 school year, opened with a reception on September 24. The show features a diverse selection of student artwork, and was organized with help from students in the Ross Museum Studies elective.

“This new show incorporates important aspects of the Ross School curriculum, including service projects, Field Academy [M-Term] courses, integrated arts, and the Ross Core Values, and my students did a great job of organizing the exhibition to showcase these elements,” said Jennifer Cross, dean of Visual Arts at Ross.

A highlight of the show is the Core Values ribbon sculpture made by Ross eleventh graders on the first day of school. Additional works include the 12-foot-long human rights mural, designed and painted by Ross Upper School students; photos of children from Nicaragua and the Philippines holding portraits painted for them by Ross students for their Memory Project; award-winning student artwork from last June’s Longhouse Student Annual; and a selection of art and media projects from integrated art classes and art electives.

The Art @Ross exhibition will be on display in the Ross Gallery in Building 3 at the Upper School in East Hampton through November 5.