About Friends of Ruth Blay
How Friends of Ruth Blay Came Together
When our community was challenged to come up with ideas to mark Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary in 2023, Knate Higgins - educator, producer, and beloved local drag queen, was inspired. Knate wanted to see Ruth memorialized, ideally with a grave marker that, while telling about a N.H. woman who was a victim of her gender, class, social status and the harsh provincial laws of her time, would also serve as a place where those who’d lost a child could go to reflect, grieve and find solace.
He rallied fellow community advocates and together they formed a nonprofit, Friends of Ruth Blay. During the COVID lockdown there were backyard & Zoom meetings, countless texts & phone calls. More locals with specific superpowers were recruited. With this, the quintessential scaffolding behind a community initiative, in place, “History Through Art” was born. Its goal is to create awareness about some of the women who stand out in the Seacoast’s storied history through public art installations.
The Evolution of "History Through Art"
En route to our objective, Team Ruth hit lots of walls - until Terrence P. Parker of Terra Firma Landscape Architecture came up with the idea of & design for a mural, and scored the wall at 165 Court St. This could not have been done without the vision and support of building owner Todd Adelman, who partnered with FoRB to kick off the “History Through Art” initiative.
The mural, on the building’s southwest wall, shows Carl Aichele’s artist’s rendering of Blay with historical facts and a “History Through Art” tag intended to identify and link together this installation with other future murals. Ruth Blay’s tribute, Part 1, went up on July 19, 2021.
Inaugural Mural installation by Alpha Graphics of Portsmouth, July 19, 2021. (photo by Denise Wheeler)
Laura Brown, President
Terrance Parker, Vice president
Knate Higgins, Treasurer
Nancy Pearson, Secretary