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Ruth Newquist To Serve As Grand Marshal Of 2015 Parade



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Ruth Newquist To Serve As Grand Marshal Of 2015 Parade

By Nancy K. Crevier

“Celebrating the Fine Art of Newtown — Honoring SCAN” is the 2015 Newtown Labor Day Parade theme, and it is Ruth Newquist who will put a face to that theme, as grand marshal.

Ms Newquist, who is well known for her land- and cityscapes in watercolor and oils, has been an artist “since a child,” she said. She received her BFA from Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, and attended The Art Students League in New York City for a year after that.

Along the way, she met Larry Newquist, who was a substitute art teacher at Moore College. They married, and moved to New Jersey, before moving to Newtown in 1969. Both fine artists, the couple made their living through the sales of their works and by teaching art. Ms Newquist taught at the high school in New Fairfield for many years, while continuing to pursue her own art.

“I like to paint on location, and a lot of my pieces represent Newtown,” Ms Newquist said. Newtown is a town with scenes that are inspiring, she added, as are so many of the surrounding towns that she has captured on canvas.

Like many artists, she is continually seeking to grow. Watercolors are her specialty, but from there, she has mastered the art of oil paintings, and paints occasionally in acrylics. “You get itchy, after a while,” she said. “You want to branch out.”

Creating art is an ongoing learning experience, Ms Newquist said. Many people do not realize the years of hard work that go into being a fine artist. “It looks easy, when you see the completed painting, but it’s not.” She is humble about her talent, saying that she does not believe that people are “gifted.”

“I think some have a disposition to create, but it needs to be developed,” she said. She has devoted her life to that development, and has made a name for herself in the art world through that dedication to her work. Her involvement in the Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN) has not hurt that growth, she said.

“Larry came up with the idea of an art group here” almost immediately upon moving into town, said Ms Newquist. With that idea in mind, SCAN was born. Mr Newquist was active in the group until his death, 15 years ago, she said, and she has always been a supportive member of SCAN, and has served on the board.

“I suggested the afternoon demonstrations, and they have become very popular,” Ms Newquist said.

As grand marshal of the parade, Ms Newquist said she is proud to represent the arts in Newtown, particularly SCAN. “It’s an organization the needs publicity, and I’m happy it will be getting some,” she said. “SCAN is the only fine arts organization in town. We try to serve all artists,” Ms Newquist said, providing classes, shows, and presentations for members, and twice monthly free demonstrations by professional visiting artists that are open to the public.

“Fine arts” traditionally incorporates painting and sculpture, she said. “You might say, 2D and 3D art. There are other areas, as well [other than painting and sculpture that qualify as fine art]. But art that has any ‘purpose’ takes it into the craft area,” Ms Newquist explained.

“There’s a lot of stuff going on in town,” she said, regarding the broad spectrum of the arts. “I think Newtown is known as a fine arts town. We have groups like Newtown Friends of Music, writing groups, The Little Theatre, and SCAN, of course. You name it, we’ve got it in town,” Ms Newquist said.

She is proud of how SCAN has developed over the years, and said that the group strives to welcome all artists and art lovers. The demonstrations are not just for those actively involved in creating art, she said. Just as many concertgoers are there to appreciate music, with no intention of ever picking up an instrument, the twice monthly evening and afternoon SCAN demonstrations welcome those who simply want to observe skilled artists.

“People feel better by enriching themselves through art,” she said, whether participating or observing.

Although SCAN has nearly 200 members from all around the region, Ms Newquist would love to see more Newtown artists and art lovers join the organization. “I think a lot of people think we are a closed group. We want people to know they can participate in SCAN. We’re tremendously active, but people don’t realize it,” she said.

SCAN hosts three major shows a year; workshops; monthly drop-in and open classes; and offers discounts to educational programs, for a $25 a year membership. Members do not have to “qualify,” said Ms Newquist. “We’re looking for people to enjoy what we offer.”

The Newtown arts community has always been active for the nearly 50 years she has lived here, she said, and SCAN is a great force in supporting the fine arts in town.

“SCAN is really there for the growth of all artists and the growth of the community,” she said.

Initially, it had been planned for Ms Newquist to marshal the parade alongside another of Newtown’s well-known artists, Betty Christensen. Ms Christensen, nearly 100 years old, passed away earlier this spring, though. Ms Newquist admitted to having a bit of reservation about going it alone, but decided that the importance of promoting fine arts in Newtown was enough to overcome her private persona.

“You can’t say ‘no’ to something like this. And I am excited. It’s an honor, let’s face it,” she said.

Newtown artist Ruth Newquist takes a break from her work. Ms Newquist is honored to be selected as the grand marshal of the 2015 Newtown Labor Day Parade.
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