Ruth Starr Rose exhibit now at Salisbury University

Special to Dorchester Banner/SU An example of the art work created by Ruth Starr Rose.

Special to Dorchester Banner/SU
An example of the art work created by Ruth Starr Rose.

SALISBURY — Despite having her artwork in the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and regular correspondence with Harlem Renaissance artists such as Prentiss Taylor, Ruth Starr Rose may not yet be a household name in the art world. Her legacy, however, remains an important part of Eastern Shore and African American history.

The early- to mid-20th century artist spent the bulk of her career painting scenes from the Shore’s African American community. The dignity and compassion with which she portrayed her subjects — from sail makers, to crab pickers, to soldiers, many the descendants of abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman — provides a rare look at African American life on the Delmarva Peninsula during that time. She also painted vivid interpretations of Negro spirituals.

Salisbury University presents a multi-gallery exhibition of Rose’s work, “Ruth Starr Rose (1887-1965): Revelations of African American Life in Maryland and the World” that opened Aug. 29.

Curated by Dr. Barbara Paca and developed for the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in Baltimore, the exhibit is on display at the University Gallery of Fulton Hall through Oct. 29. SU’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture also hosts a portion of the exhibit through Dec. 2. The display will inaugurate the center’s new Thompson Gallery in the Patricia R. Guerrieri Academic Commons. The exhibition is underwritten by Brown Capital Management, Inc., an investment management firm in Baltimore.

A reception will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Sept. 8, in the Fulton Hall Lobby which will include a performance by the Society for the Preservation of African American Arts Singers. A lecture by the exhibit’s curator, Dr. Barbara Paca, followed at 7 p.m. in the Academic Commons Assembly Hall. Dr. Paca, holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Princeton University. She has also completed post docs as a Fulbright Scholar and as a visiting member of Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study.

Other events scheduled in association with the exhibit include a performance by the American Spiritual Ensemble 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17, at Asbury United Methodist Church, and the Adventures in Ideas: Humanities Seminar “Exploring the African American Experience in Maryland History” with Drs. Creston Long, Nabb Center director, and Aston Gonzalez of the SU History Department. Charges apply for both events.

University Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-4 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Thompson Gallery hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Admission is free and the public is invited.

For more information call 410-548-2547, or visit the SU Art Galleries website at or Nabb Center website at

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