Ann Woodin — writer, founder of the The Drawing Studio’s Docent (volunteer) program, world traveler, political activist, and certified mediator — died April 25 at Rancho Linda Vista in Oracle. Ann was the beloved wife and soulmate of The Drawing Studio Founder Andrew Rush. She died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. We will cherish and remember Ann and her invaluable contributions to The Drawing Studio.
At The Drawing Studio
Andy Rush began The Drawing Studio at an age when most people are thinking about retirement. Ann was involved emotionally, logistically, and financially. Andy could not have devoted heart and soul to The Drawing Studio without her.
In 2001, The Drawing Studio moved to 4th Avenue. The larger space allowed us to add more classes and a gallery, but we still had no paid staff. Ann offered to become our first Docent Coordinator. She built a vibrant volunteer program that allowed The Drawing Studio to prosper and grow. She trained volunteers to answer the phones, greet people who came to see gallery exhibits, and register students for classes. She put together a handbook of policies, procedures, and simple good advice that served us well for a decade.
Ann was an effective and relentless “enroller” who instilled a deep sense of service in others. She was peerless in this capacity. Saying no to her was almost impossible. Whatever Ann wanted you to do, her ability to articulate why it was in your best interest was utterly convincing. Her experience as a court mediator helped, and yet she always spoke from a completely mission-centered heart.
Writing and Activism
Ann wrote in a studio she designed and built at the Ranch. She was the acclaimed author of Home Is the Desert, a classic of Southwestern environmental writing; The Rule of Two, about intimate relationships and illustrated with Andy’s drawings; and In the Circle of the Sun, which chronicles her intrepid travels across the deserts of the world —with five boys in tow.
Ann was part of the heartbeat of the Ranch and active in Oracle town politics. She served for many years as the Secretary of the Ranch (“Whoever takes the minutes has the power to determine reality,” she said only half-jokingly.) When large real estate developers took an interest in Oracle, Ann went door-to-door asking residents what was important to them. Her efforts helped create a cohesive town plan.
— Pat Dolan and Lynn Fleischman, on behalf of The Drawing Studio community
You are invited to share your memories of Ann and condolences for family and friends in the comments below.