Born in Boston, Joan Stuart Ross was introduced to the ‘handmade’ by her Swedish and Scottish relatives. She graduated from Connecticut College, earned an MA and MFA in Painting and Printmaking at the University of Iowa, and studied at Yale Divinity School and Yale Art School with Josef Albers. Trial, error and risk are hypotheses that explore the unknown in her drawings, paintings, prints, collage and encaustic. Color dynamics and a celebratory, questioning attitude are among her themes, an ongoing inspiration of her work with Albers.
Joan moved to Seattle in 1968 where she taught art for 40 years at various institutions including Pratt Fine Arts Center, University of Washington, and as a tenured professor at North Seattle College. A leader invested in her community, she has served on many boards and co-managed BallardWorks art gallery and studios since 2004, where she's mentored and supported hundreds of artists.
Joan was the first woman to win the Betty Bowen Award from Seattle Art Museum in 1981; additional honors include the Kathe Kollwitz Award for her advocacy of women artists, a Rome Fellowship from the Civita Institute, and a Fulbright-Hays Grant to Vietnam. Artist residencies include Centrum, Pilchuck, Balestrand, Espy, Playa, and Rancho Linda Vista. Her art is in the collections of Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Northwest Art, National Nordic Museum, and other public and private collections.