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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Dedicating “Aldo”

Photo by John Brady.
Photo by John Brady.
Photo by John Brady.

This past Thursday, artist and Grinnell alumnus Scott Charles Ross ’83 visited campus to speak about his painting, “Aldo,” as part of Pride Week programming. The piece, which was recently formally added to the College’s art collection, is a tribute to fellow Grinnell alumnus Aldo Melito ’79, who passed away in 1992. Ross recalled his experience at Grinnell as a closeted gay student and the romantic relationship he shared with Melito, who he met in a life drawing class.

“This is my love, the love that couldn’t take place … I love the person, but I did the painting, and the painting we have today as you know it is Aldo,” Ross said.

Ross fell out of touch with Melito after graduation, and began his work after hearing of Melito’s death from AIDS. The work shows an abstracted figure carrying a body upstairs, which Ross says represents the act of carrying his friend to an afterlife. Although he acknowledged the difficulty of concealing his sexuality during his time as a student, Ross feels that Grinnell has always been uniquely accepting.

“This is a utopia that we sort of have here in Iowa, especially in Grinnell,” Ross said. “It’s a safe place. You can be yourself … Grinnell has always been great.”

Compiled by Teresa Fleming ’17 

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