Award-winning artist and Theatreworks costume designer Betty Ross traveled the world, but always came home to Colorado Springs.

Ross found inspiration in everything — a bicyclist in Xi’an, China; city scenery in Hong Kong; Trafalgar Square in London; Zion National Park in Utah. She translated those visions into abstract paintings, drawings, collages, watercolors and 3D works, and also used them to spark ideas in her decades of theater work.

About 80 of her works from the past five or six decades will be for sale in a one-day, pop-up exhibit, “Giving Back, Moving Forward: Betty Ross Artworks to Benefit UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art’s Active Artists Fund.” It’s Friday at Sheppard Arts Studio inside Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. All sales will be first-come, first-served. Go online to register at

“She’s lived life as a creative and quietly impactful artist on this region that’s important to recognize,” said UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art Director Daisy McGowan.

A trained art historian, Ross has lived and worked in the Pikes Peak region since 1976, and exhibited at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College, Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center and UCCS Galleries of Contemporary Art, which featured Ross and her husband, Theatreworks founder and artistic director Murray Ross, in a 2017 retrospective. Murray died that same year.

“She is emphatic, opinionated, sometimes unfiltered,” said Ross’ son, Orion Ross. “She feels things deeply and responds to them and we see that in her work, whether she’s responding to a landscape or political situation or historical event or a place she experienced, it’s about the emotions these things trigger and how she gets it out onto paper and canvas.”

Pieces are arranged in five pricing tiers and range from $50 to $1,000. Proceeds from the exhibit will go toward future GOCA artists and projects. The exhibit was born from Ross’ desire to benefit the contemporary art community that has supported her through the years, and also get her work into the community.

“(Ross is) someone who has traveled the world and is of the world, but she’s made her home here for five decades, and is really a quintessential Colorado artist,” McGowan said.

“She has this wonderful way of blending all these influences she’s taken in all her life, whether designing costumes or traveling and finding inspiration in a whole range of settings, and bringing it back here.”

Contact the writer: 636-0270

Contact the writer: 636-0270

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