The Student Newspaper of The Loomis Chaffee School

The Loomis Chaffee Log

The Student Newspaper of The Loomis Chaffee School

The Loomis Chaffee Log

The Student Newspaper of The Loomis Chaffee School

The Loomis Chaffee Log

Freedom of Thought: An Overview of Faculty Stacy-Ann Rowe’s Exhibit

Cathy Zhang ’26
Ro standing in the exhibit Freedom of Thought in the Mercy Gallery

Kindness, diligence, forgiveness, temperance, chastity, humility, and charity — the seven themes of the Freedom of Thought exhibit, currently on display in the Mercy Gallery. Open from April 25 to June 12, the gallery includes art created by Head of the Visual Arts Department and Associate Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Stacy-Ann “Ro” Rowe ’97.

Ms. Ro described the process of developing Freedom of Thought over the past two and a half years as both scary and amazing.

“I kept reimagining and redesigning,” Ms. Ro said. “At one point it was going to [center] around the shoes, since I teach graphic design here, and next year I’m teaching [glass art]. People don’t really know what types of art I do, so I decided last minute to do a bunch of different types of art all together.” As a result, Ms. Ro incorporates many unique mediums, such as 3D printing, shoes, and clothing, in order to showcase the wide range of art forms Ms. Ro enjoys.

However, her favorite medium that she began to explore more during the creation of Freedom of Thought was painting. “Painting is really soothing for me … I notice looking around that every single installation has some type of paint or painting on it,” Ms. Ro said.

Ms. Ro also used painting in the exhibit as one component in a combination of many other mediums. “Even the paper sculpture of the leopard [is painted],” Ms. Ro said, pointing to a black leopard sculpture in the Diligence installation with pink print painted on as well as a resin coat.

Near the side entrance of the Mercy Gallery, Ms. Ro included an interactive piece: a black canvas with the words Freedom of Thought painted in blue ink. Though this was the very first time she attempted this concept, the interactive piece was a major highlight during opening night on April 25 and unexpectedly one of her favorite artworks. Allowing viewers to interact firsthand with the gallery by writing their names or doodling with paint, the colorful canvas now serves as a physical memory from opening night that is displayed as one of the gallery’s main features.

Because of its success and popularity, Ms. Ro hopes to continue incorporating interactive pieces into future exhibits of hers. “It was a compelling and interactive way to leave a legacy on art at Loomis,” Brookie Olson ’26 said, who attended the opening night along with many other members of the community.

When someone thinks of art, they usually imagine intricate oil paintings or precise pencil drawings. However, Ms. Ro wants visitors of the gallery to “look at art in everything…even in the mistakes of everyday life.” For example, Ms. Ro upcycled unconventional materials such as disposable masks to create decorative flowers now in a vase of the exhibit.

“People come into the space of the exhibit and feel happy,” Ms. Ro said. “Everything is drawn in a way that brings you back to your youth and happy times.”

“[The table and chairs] in the center of the room reminded me of cartoon characters,” Sofia Mansilla ’23 said, recalling when she first entered the gallery.

Although Ms. Ro hopes visitors of the gallery will appreciate a new concept of art and experience joy, she acknowledges all visitors are entitled to think what they want to while walking around the exhibit.

The project is, after all, focused on the freedom of thought.

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