Alumnae in the Arts
LAURA BAPTISTE '89 is the public affairs officer at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. In this role, she manages a team that promotes the exhibitions and programs at the museum, working extensively with local and national media outlets. Laura finds her position at the Smithsonian extremely gratifying. “I'm lucky to have a job where I learn new things every day and work with interesting creative people.”
Laura’s degrees include a BA from Tufts University ('94), a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts ('94) and an MA from the University of Virginia ('96). Laura started at the museum in the mid-1990s in the curatorial department as a research assistant for exhibitions including one featuring 19th-century painter Abbott Thayer and another about 20th-century monotypes. The curator of the Thayer exhibition, Richard Murray, was her mentor. She was his intern while in college and kept in touch over the years, eventually becoming his research assistant for the Thayer exhibition.
About her experience at Stone Ridge, Laura says it was her teachers that instilled in her the qualities she needed for a successful career. “My teachers at Stone Ridge encouraged independent thinking - thank you Mme. Koss and Higginbotham - intellectual rigor, and having the self-confidence to develop and express personal opinions. All of these qualities have served me well in my professional life.” Each year, her department hosts one or two Stone Ridge seniors for their internship. Laura hopes this experience may inspire them to pursue a career in the arts.
TIFFANY BARNES ’89 has three passions in life: dance, the pursuit of knowledge and a desire to give back to her community. Thanks to the values instilled in her at Stone Ridge, an unwavering trust in God’s divine plan and a strong confidence in her abilities, her career path has incorporated all three of these passions. Since 2010 Tiffany has been the director of the Junior Division at The Ailey School, the official school of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She oversees the administrative and artistic operations of three dance programs for over one thousand children.
She fondly remembers reflecting upon the Goals of Sacred Heart education. “The Sacred Heart Goals definitely became an innate part of a personal philosophy that I began to develop as a Stone Ridge student. Seamlessly, the ideals and values contained within the Goals have come to govern many aspects of my adult life. I am extremely grateful to my parents to have been afforded the opportunity to receive the gift of a Sacred Heart education. It certainly served me well and has enabled me to serve others.”
Combining a rewarding career in the nonprofit world with a hobby that satisfies her love of acting, TESSA SOLLWAY BLISCHE ’04 is living the best of both worlds. By day, Tessa is a communications specialist for St. Elizabeth School, a nonpublic special education school in Baltimore City. When she is not working, she is performing on stage for local Baltimore theater company Fells Point Corner Theatre.
When considering Stone Ridge’s effects on her adult life she is incredibly grateful. “Stone Ridge gave me a very strong foundation for personal growth through artistic talent and also through community work.” She is also thankful for her biggest artistic supporter at Stone Ridge, Mrs. Sandra Blakeslee because, as Tessa avers, “She gave me the freedom to be uniquely me.”Sandra is still a great teacher and friend to Tessa, even showing up at Tessa’s shows in Baltimore to show her support.
With her bubbly nature, enthusiastic drive and non-stop energy, MARY BONNEY ’05 exudes solid confidence. And, gauging from her busy schedule and varied accomplishments in Los Angeles, her personality and philosophy on life are serving her well.
After receiving a BA from The College of William & Mary in 2010, Mary moved to LA in 2011 to pursue a career in doing what she loves most – entertaining others. She has performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live, acted in national television spots, become a production coordinator for various independent television shows and movies, is a tour guide at Universal Studios, writes music reviews for the LA Music Blog, and performs improv and stand-up comedy throughout LA.
She loves her life today and owes much of it to Stone Ridge.“I look back so fondly at my days at Stone Ridge and I feel very lucky to have had such a good schooling. Stone Ridge produces strong, confident, educated women. The day I was accepted into the school was the best day for my family. At Stone Ridge, I was taught that I could do anything.”
JULIE FARR ’84 owns the Julia Farr boutique in Northwest DC. The boutique at first featured established and emerging designers. In time, Julia fulfilled her dream of becoming a designer herself and having her own personal label. Julia makes her design choices based on a professional woman’s needs – their age, their body type, their career – whether they will be wearing the clothes in a boardroom or in a courtroom or while skypeing with clients.
When considering her Stone Ridge education, Julia states, “The one thing that most impacted me at Stone Ridge was that I was taught that I could do anything I wanted to do. That I could assume any leadership position and once I found that fit there was no limit to what I could do. There was no limitation to what my future could be.”
JANET ROSETTA SCHOCKNER ’63 has a deep love of and respect for animals. As a young child she would have “wonder filled” dreams of friendly encounters with big cats. Today she expresses her appreciation for the grace, power, and nobility of wild animals by creating gorgeous bronze sculptures of them in her Loveland Colorado art studio. Her sculptures, which depict tigers, lions, panthers, wolves and other animals in action, are in public spaces and private homes around the world.
Her philosophy on creating art has evolved and matured over the years. “When I created pieces that were just for fun or just for me and they were accepted into exhibitions and winning awards, I learned that if I create something that excites and pleases me, it will affect others that way as well. As long as I don’t compromise on my creativity and the results of my efforts, I can qualify as a fine artist.” For more on Rosetta, a step-by-step explanation of how her bronze sculptures are made, and pictures of her beautiful work, visit www.rosettasculpture.com.