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Rhoda Lubalin, Local Art Teacher

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At 91 and a half years young, Rhoda Lubalin can still recall the moment that determined the entire course of her life: In junior high, a teacher recommended she apply to a high school dedicated to the arts. “She asked me to put together a portfolio — I didn’t even know what a portfolio was — but I gathered some things and was accepted,” she recalls. Lubalin went on to become an art teacher, and later worked at a graphics magazine with her husband, Herb.

The Amenia resident’s experience taught her the importance of fostering a love of the arts at a young age. “When you go to a museum as a kid, it can be an awakening experience,” she says. She established the Rhoda Lubalin Art Scholarship in 1990. The award, which is now administered by the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, provides funds for high school seniors to study art in college. “When I see a youngster developing creative ability, it thrills me,” says Lubalin.

Lubalin also established Quest, a fund that currently subsidizes reading programs for kindergartners through third-graders in the Webutuck Central School District, and is expected to assist students through high school in the future. She also gave time to Literacy Volunteers of America. Next up, she’s working on new ways to get children interested in music. 

In her free time, Lubalin likes to garden and walk along the Harlem Valley Rail Trail — where she and a friend collect and properly dispose of litter. But her focus remains squarely on the young people she helps. “I get letters from my students from the ’70s telling me what they’ve been doing,” she says fondly. “I can’t tell you how blessed I feel when I get those.”

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