Ruth Waddy was a printmaker, artist, advocate, activist, and author born in 1909. She was known for her work with the Black Arts Movement in California in the 60s and 70s.
Waddy attended the University of Minnesota from 1927 to 1928, then moved to Chicago before she made her home in California. She became interested in art during World War II after hearing about classes offered through an African American newspaper. In 1965, she studied at the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County.
While in California, she founded Mothers of the Black Arts Movement and ArtWest Associates. ArtWest Associates connected African American artists with each other, providing a forum to discuss artistic and racial issues. They sought out exhibition venues since the major museums and galleries did not exhibit art by black people at that time. In 1965, she published Prints by American Negro Artists and in 1969 the groundbreaking Black Artists on Art with Samella Lewis.
Printmaking was Waddy’s main medium. She remained a prolific artist until she passed in 2003 in San Francisco, California.