This week, we can’t help but think of Louise Nevelson. In 1905, at the age of six, she immigrated to Rockland from what is now Ukraine with her family to escape the terrible abuse inflicted by Tsarist Russians on the Jewish community she grew up in. Our collective hearts go out to the Ukrainians fighting for their country, and to those who find themselves forced from their homes today.

This early painting by Nevelson was likely painted in 1931 on a visit to her family in Rockland before she departed to Munich, Germany to study with the influential teacher Hans Hofmann. Note the colorful stars in the narrow band of blue sky. She later likened the star to a crown and said, “I’ve always felt like a star.”

Nevelson was born Leah Berliawski on Sept. 23, 1899, in the town of Pereiaslav. In 2019, on the eve of what would have been her 120th birthday, the citizens of Pereiaslav commemorated the artist with a bronze plaque installed on School No. 2, to inspire young women to reach for the stars.