ABILENE TEXAS- (KTAB/KRBC) You may not know her name but you’ve probably seen her work. Ruth Jackson has been making art for over 60 years. Though you might remember her advertisements for local stores like Thornton’s, especially their Christmas ads.
An ad she made in the 1970s depicting the stores two story display of a castle, Santa and his reindeer, and an angelic choir singing in the new year is now being re-printed for sale to the public. you can buy one for yourself on the Center for Contemporary Arts website for $25 a print.
You may notice the small helicopter in the top left corner carrying Santa and the Magilla Gorilla. This actually happened that year with a helicopter landing in the Thornton’s parking lot bringing the fun fictional characters to the children of Abilene.
When Ruth wasn’t designing for Thornton’s, the Abilene Reporter News, or raising her children much of her time was spent in Haiti, Jamaica, and India teaching children and their families how to draw, paint, and express themselves. When she came home she continued teaching and sharing the gift of art with the local schools, Disability Resources Incorporated, and the inmates at the Taylor County Jail. “its just a very rewarding thing that God has given me to do” said Ruth.
In the past few years she has also acted as a courtroom artist for the Taylor County Courts System, and has continued to participate in the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) exhibitions.
She of course makes time for all of her “adopted” grandchildren, of which she now has over 100 all over the world. Manny De Los Santos, the Curator of the CCA and grandchild #91 says that every time he meets another one of her grandkids they swap stories about Ruth.
Ruth says that as she reflects on the time she has left she has been reaching out to friends or acquaintances she may not have talked to for over 60 years, catching up and expressing how much they mean to her. She says this chance to share her older work with the people she made it for is a way of giving more to the community that’s given her so much.