by Bill Batson
After 15 years of merging fashion, culture, and civics, Paulette Ross is retiring from retail. This Friday, September 25, the owner of p.ross boutique and the founder of ARTWALK will close her Main Street doors, opening the next chapter of her life.
Nyack Sketch Log talked to Paulette about the sartorial style and strategy she brought to Nyack and what comes next for the woman who built a store where art and fashion met.
Why retire now?
With a 15 year run under my fashionable belt, retiring from retail was in my game plan. A couple years ago, I started sensing a recession on the horizon worse than the housing debacle. It would be economic and my travels to Italy for my exclusive fashion collections and footwear was reinforcing my opinion.
I had just returned from Milan and Fashion Week one day before Milan was shut down, and then came our March lockdown. By May, it became evident and quite clear that a tough decision had to be made. It was time to pivot. Time for new beginnings.
Despite the pandemic, you pulled off SuffrageForward, a 3-part series of art celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage? How was it received?
SuffrageForward was established a year and a half ago. We had a goal to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment and bring awareness to the strength, resiliency, and persistence of women past and present, as well as inspire all peoples in our quest for equality. 100 years ago the pandemic nearly halted the women’s movement-but they persisted. Well, we couldn’t let this one stop us!
“The Power of Persistence,” a 3-part video series, was born. In the age of Zoom, it has become a success received internationally! Schools and various organizations have been requesting screenings of this series and we are so very proud.
What’s next for Suffrage Forward? You mentioned something about the struggle to add the ERA to the constitution? That sounds exciting.
Next on the SuffrageForward agenda, along with our social media platforms, is Monumental Monday’s, OTD (on this day) celebrations of women who have made a difference, as well as our VOTE campaign.
This will include our hosting a panel discussion with Meredith Bergmann (a sculptor and creator of the new Central Park monument), Coline Jenkins (great, great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton), and Pam Elam (President of MonumentalWomenNY). This event is in collaboration with RoCA, and will take place Nov 8th. (The number of attendees is TBD based on social distancing regulations.)
Looking forward, we are planning a video event on American Women in the Arts, and our next 3-part video series based around the ERA and the environment.
What are your plans for ARTWALK 15?
Due to the pandemic, the 15th anniversary of ARTWALK had to be cancelled this year. Since the 15th year happens when it happens, the event and celebration will take place June 18, 19, 20 in 2021
What inspired you to start ART WALK?
I have always enjoyed being part of a community and decided that just owning a boutique wasn’t enough. I joined Friends of the Nyacks as a board member and brought ART WALK along as an event under their umbrella. I have served as chair for over 3 years creating more events such as Apple Fest, Appraise This, Plays in the Park, and the Red Carpet Oscar Party.
With the few hours left in my day after running my shop, I joined in on the branding of Nyack along with leaders of other civic organizations. Nyack Marketing Association (VisitNyack) was established and I served as its first chair, branding “Nyack ART & SOUL on the Hudson.”
The inspiration for ART WALK came from my tag line, “where art meets fashion.” The wealth of talent in our area combined with my desire to get more customers into our wonderful shops became my challenge. Nine months after opening my store, ART WALK was born.
What’s next for Paulette?
Through door number one, as a union member, I want to resume my 25 year career in TV and film. A year & a half ago, before the pandemic, I booked several movies and TV shows.
Door number two will be to continue my work with nonprofits, using all of the connections I’ve made over 30 years in the world of fashion and design.
To all the wonderful people who I’ve met in the last 15 years, it has been an honor to take you through the fashions of the times, and I thank you all for the smiles on your faces as you walked through my door.