“Summer Breeze, Community Love”

acrylic on canvas, 36×36″, 2016 by Ruth Chase
Donated to Venice Community Housing

Painted in collaboration with Rhonda Lynn Wise by Ruth Chase. This is one out of 12 individual portraits in the West of Lincoln Project.  The painting reflects the value of community through Rhonda’s perspective as a result of growing up in Venice, CA. Rhonda and Ruth worked together to create a portrait that would symbolize her story best. Rhonda’s biography was revised by Gena Lasko.


Rhonda Lynn Wise
b. 1961 | Sunset Ave.

My grandmother, Winifred E. Pierson (known as Miss P.), introduced the whole family to Venice when she moved there in 1967. To her it was an oasis of friendships, cool breezes, corner markets and the start of a new life. I loved how my grandmother acclimated into the community very quickly and made so many lifelong friends. That’s what Venice was about, community and friendship. I miss that very much.

My mother, three brothers and I moved to Venice in the summer of 1972 from South Los Angeles when I was 10 years old. I would have to adjust to living in my new all white neighborhood while balancing the social stress of being the new girl in a sea of unfamiliar faces that didn’t recognize me from their neighborhood. This was the year I was told I was different, without knowing the concept of racism. I don’t know how I endured it but I wouldn’t let it make me cry. By the time I got to Mark Twain, I was in a groove with my life, as an honor student, in theater, and in choir.

My grandmother taught me to become who I was meant to be, a strong and beautiful woman. Winifred E. Pierson was embedded in the Venice community for years before we moved there. Known as Miss. P., she was active politically and socially, working in public relations at the Venice police department on Venice Boulevard. My life was influenced by intelligent and capable women; my mother and grandmother would go on to shape me as a woman.

Currently, I live in the West Adams District of Los Angeles and am a Peer Advocate for Mental Health and Drug Rehabilitation. I dream of being a writer whose work is received well and am pursuing writing a book using the inspiration of family. I strive to accept and not resist the things in life that disappoint me.

Learn more about The West of Lincoln Project