Joanne Beaule Ruggles earned BFA and MFA degrees from The Ohio State University. She taught in studio art programs at Ohio State, Alan Hancock College, Cuesta College. However she spent the majority of her university career in the Art Department at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo where in 2004 she was named the university’s top Research Award winner for her painting series entitled A Stone of Hope. That 29 painting series dealt with Ruggles’ examination of our national collective response to the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and her subsequent personal response to a diagnosis of breast cancer not long afterwards. In expressing her perception of “a world gone mad” the artist moved through a range of emotional portraits – illustrating shock, rage, grief, resignation, and resolution. Employing close up images of faces and hands to speak of these universal and personal human emotions, the artist found her path to regain a sense of hope. Painting and drawing the human figure has been this artist’s career specialty and she is also known for her use of unorthodox tools and techniques to create her artworks. Joanne’s originality and content has earned her honors including grants from the Puffin Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Capelli d’Angeli Foundation, and the SLO Community Foundation. When the Women’s Caucus for Art selected the art of 12 members to represent the national organization on their website for 2011, Ruggles found herself in that elite group. Four murals from her current Hanging by a Thread series were displayed for the month of June on WCA’s homepage along with information about the artist member. In January of 2010 and 2011 Ruggles twice joined a group of a dozen artists in residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. It was during this period that she began her current series entitled Hanging by a Thread: Mother Earth in Peril. Given the abundant space and uninterrupted time to work on mural-sized canvases, the artist found herself consumed with the idea of creatively portraying our responsibility to the planet. Without models Joanne convinced the other artists to pose when needed, but otherwise drew from her own imagination to create her scenes of maternal protection, grief, guilt, retribution and sacrifice. The artist hopes her work will help instruct as well as challenge us to greater awareness of our roles in protecting our mother earth. Professor Ruggles is represented in the US Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program and her paintings have been loaned to embassies in Luanda, Angola and Freetown, Sierra Leone. She has been represented in international exhibitions in such sites as The Museum of Modern Art, Rijeka; The National Gallery, Bangkok; The National Museum, Singapore; The Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sao Paulo; Americahaus, Berlin; Museo Carrillo Gil, Mexico City; and Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Ibiza. Ruggles is also interested in painting the western landscape and its botanical specimens. Her artwork appears on the labels of many Wedell Cellars wines, and for a decade she has been one of the featured artists in the Central Coast Wine Classic. Her artworks have been donated to raise money for many local and national charitable causes from breast cancer to Type 1 diabetes. She served as a reviewer of artist residency applications for the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony (1988 to 2004) and was a juror for the SLO County's Art in Public Places Commission. She has also served on the Advisory Board of the SLO County Arts Council, the SLO Museum of Art’s Board and served on and chaired SLO's Promotional Coordinating Committee.
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