SARASOTA, Fla. - Gail Fulton Ross is a visual artist, working in figurative and abstract art, and has loved art as far back as she can remember.
She was born in Massachusetts and attended a special high school for the arts. She married young and had a son, so she had to work a day job, care for her son and paint at night all at the same time.
She was working at a hotel when she was commissioned to paint a portrait for the President of the company. He hated the picture, and she was devastated. But she says it set her on the right path in portrait art.
She learned he didn't like the picture because it looked too much like him. She learned then to get to know her subject and paint that person's essence, their true spiritual self. She has never again have anyone complain about a portrait she has done.
After the hotel she worked at The Children's Television Workshop, for the producer of Sesame Street, then the Electric Company TV Show. She was fired from the Electric Company for spending more time on her art than on her job. After that she decided to work full time on her art.
When her art was on display in New York, a woman named Marion Logan admired her work and took her under her wing. Logan was deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement, and got Gail involved.
She was the youngest member of the Urban League Board, she served along side Happy Rockefeller. She worked under Vernon Jordan, and was commissioned to paint his portrait. She was also commissioned to paint portraits of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bishop Tutu.
She first came to Sarasota when her art was on display at a gallery on Palm Ave., fell in love with the city and moved here 20 years ago.
She is now working on public art, she has sculpted the head of a woman that will be made into a 30 foot high work of art and placed in a park in North Miami.
Her son is now a very successful producer in Hollywood, and she has granddaughter who is the love of her life.