Miss Porter’s School Ancient Spotlight: Gabrielle Banks ’15

Artist Gabrielle (Gabby) Banks ’15 recently held her first solo show in The Bahamas when her collection, “The Mark of a Woman,” exhibited at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas this summer. Gabby, who has been described as one of The Bahamas’ most exciting emerging artists, is a junior at the Rhode Island School of Design, where is is pursuing a bachelor of fine arts in painting with a concentration in art history.
We recently chatted with Gabby about her work, what inspires her, and her Miss Porter’s School experience.
orig_photo248400_2619830Describe Miss Porter’s School in three words. Home. Unique. Timeless.
Were there any teachers or mentors from Porter’s who inspired you in your art? The Porter’s community alone is one that is inspirational. Grier Torrence is one of the main reasons I went to RISD; he introduced me to their pre-college program, which I attended before my junior year at Porter’s, and has been supportive of everything I’ve done. I can comfortably say I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. My advisor, Susan Reeder Moss, is such an inspiring individual and fed my brain with so much wisdom and encouragement. And having Anna Swinbourne as my AP Art History teacher was indescribable. She was more than a profession, but also a mentor, and advisor, and a friend who I hope to maintain connections with for a very long time. I was blessed to have such an amazing and supportive community. My time at Porter’s and the relationships I made with the faculty there are the best memories I have. I truly would not be who or where I am today without their influence.
Describe life after Porter’s. What have you been up to in the time since Farmington? Life after Porter’s has been a huge adjustment. The community, the sense of love and care, is something that is so remarkable and unique to Porter’s. I guess one could say that college has been a huge reality check, but a good one. It’s been a wonderful experience being a part of a new community where anyone can communicate and share the same vocabulary and subject matter. Overall, RISD has been an eye opening experience, and one that I will cherish and look back on for the rest of my life.orig_photo268525_2872500
Do you have any advice for current Porter’s students? It feels weird giving advice to current Porter’s students since I was just there two years ago! I would advise them to keep an open and positive mentality towards everything. Your first year away from Porter’s is a unique one where you’re adjusting to a whole new community, one that may be completely different from the comforting and loving one we’re used to in Farmington. It’s important to stay positive, and patient, because adjusting to a new space on your own takes time. Friends and good memories always develop on their own, and if you surround yourself with good people good things will follow.
And finally, Mink, Possum, or Squirrel? Squirrel, of course!

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