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PHS Art Teacher’s RBG Portrait in the News

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PHS Art Teacher’s RBG Portrait in the News
Posted on 10/02/2020
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A portrait of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by a Portland High School art teacher recently was featured in the national news media.

Barbara Loring, who joined the Portland Public Schools in 1984 and is in her 10th year of teaching at PHS, was saddened by the Sept. 18 death of the Supreme Court justice and legal legend.

“I was moved to create this portrait on the following evening, after hearing there would be a memorial vigil in her honor in Monument Square on Sunday,” Loring said. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg's transcendence of cultural limitations and bias in the service of Justice is more inspiring than I could ever do justice to in words. I wanted to reflect on her magnitude and spend some time in vigil drawing her image.”

Loring created the image on a 5' x 4' panel of cardboard, using charcoal and white pastel.

After she arrived at the memorial vigil on Sept. 20, organizers permitted her portrait to be placed near the base of Our Lady of Victories in Portland’s Monument Square.

“A spontaneous Memorial was created as people brought candles and flowers and added their own signs and tokens near Ruth's image,” Loring said. “There was even a tiny statue of her standing amidst the candles, surrounded by an aura of ethereal light.”

At the event, Loring said, “a photographer from Reuters News, Elizabeth Franz, introduced herself and told me she would like to use images of the portrait to accompany news reports.” The Washington Post featured the Reuters photo with Loring's portrait of RBG in a Sept. 25 story about reaction to Ginsburg’s death.

“The event was a most beautiful and profound memorial to attend, sharing Ruth's image with others,” Loring said. “The portrait is now at home and could be available to be shared for display. My hope is that it gives a sense of peace, consolation and inspiration to viewers.”

At PHS, Loring encourages her students to create portraits. The work of students in her class has included portraits of children and teens living in Kabul, Afghanistan and of the PHS school leadership team. The school’s walls serve as a gallery for student portraits.

“I have always loved creating portraits, and that love has been amplified by interacting with and witnessing the growth of the thousands of young people I have had the rare experience of knowing and working with on a daily basis for over half my lifetime as a teacher,” Loring said.

PHS Assistant Principal Jade Costello said Loring is “a humble and ingenious human being and a truly phenomenal teacher.”

PHOTOS: (Above) Reuters Elizabeth Franz photo that features PHS teacher Barbara Loring's RBG portrait in Monument Square.
(Below): PHS teacher Barbara Loring with the portrait she created of RBG; and a Reuters Elizabeth Franz photo of a figurine of RBG at a memorial vigil for the justice in Monument Square.

Barbara Loring with RBG

Elizabeth Franz Reuters figurine foto