Profile: Gale Fulton Ross (1974-)

Gale Fulton Ross is an African-American visual artist who lives in Sarasota, Florida. Primarily a painter, she also practices portraiture, printmaking, and sculpture.


Gale Fulton Ross was born in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1947, the oldest of nine children.

She studied at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, where she explored a wide variety of styles and media including sculpture. She continued her art education at the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco, concentrating in the study of Fine Arts and art history. In addition to formal academic training she has studied under the guidance of established artists, including Melvin Johnson, at the Vesper George School of Art, Boston; Cleveland Bellow, of the DeYoung Museum, Oakland California; and Pierre Parsus, of France, while a resident at the La Napoule Art Foundation.

Initially trained as an art curator, Fulton Ross traveled extensively throughout Africa, Europe, and as far east as China, in order to study and paint. She was a participant in the second World Festival of Black Arts in Lagos, Nigeria in 1977. In 1984, she was an artist in residence in Bellagio, Italy and produced an exhibition for the Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio,  and in 1993 was the recipient of an award to work and study in the People’s Republic of China.


Fulton Ross has cited several classical artists as influences on her work, including Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Rembrandt, as well as modern-day African-American masters such as Elizabeth Catlett, Charles Wilbert White, Beauford Delaney, and Romare Bearden. Her style incorporates both the figurative and the abstract, as reflected in her eclectic creations. She believes that artists are the humanistic conscience of a materialistic society. Her visual expressions most often depict poignant images of people, especially African American women, reflecting her philosophy that it is the depth and variety of human feelings that motivates art, and indeed, that she must become a more sensitive human in order to be a better artist.

In that regard, she has dedicated considerable time to mentoring and creating opportunities for younger artists as the founder of the Fulton-Ross Fund for Visual Artists of Sarasota County, which provides a supportive environment and awards competitive grants to those just beginning their careers.

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