the Delta Gamma Blog

Creating a Ripple of Hope During COVID-19

By Jenny Rusinko, Eta Alpha-Pepperdine


The Ripple Project started out as six 8" x 8" paintings. For a direct donation of $250 to an organization providing resources for the most vulnerable populations in Los Angeles and Lincoln, NE, anyone could own original artwork by professional studio artist, Alison Aten Rash , Eta Alpha-Pepperdine. The paintings sold within one hour.

When diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in the autumn of 2014, Rash and her husband moved with their two young children from Los Angeles to Lincoln, NE to be closer to Rash’s family. The move proved prudent as Rash experienced her first of three metastatic relapses just one year after relocating and was elevated to Stage 4.

At the onset of the COVID-19 quarantine, Rash felt the overwhelming need to do something to help those most affected by the economic shutdown. With her compromised immune system, going to the shared studio space she rented in Lincoln was out of the question. She quickly transformed her dining room into a temporary studio and started painting. “I realized that buying art probably wasn’t on most people’s minds at the time but that helping was.

I created the paintings and found six organizations in Lincoln and Los Angeles, the two places we call home, to support. I posted them on my professional Instagram site and was happily surprised at how quickly they sold.”


Encouraged by the positive response, Rash spent the following weeks creating a total of 43 paintings and raising over $10,750. Each organization received the 100% direct donation from the buyer and Rash shipped the “purchased” painting to the donor.

 When protests erupted around the country, Rash began phase 2 of the Ripple Project, this time raising $5,000 to support organizations working toward racial equality. Rash shared what has become the mission statement of the project, “If we each create a ripple … do what we can, with what we have, where we are … together we can create a wave and make an impact.”

In the midst of the Ripple Project, Rash learned of her third metastatic relapse. The breast cancer had moved into her hip bone. She is undergoing treatment and remains hopeful and optimistic. She reflected on this turn of events in her life, “Hasn’t COVID-19 taught all of us how to pivot? How to change direction on a dime when plans change or something unexpected comes up? We pivot, we adjust, we cry, we lean on each other, we summon our courage, we muster our strength, we change course, we live fully every day.”


Rash’s work has been exhibited in LA, NYC, San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Paris, Venice and Tokyo and can be viewed at The Ripple Project can be followed on Instagram at @rippletoawave and @rashalison. Her cancer journey can be followed @aliaten.

This story and more can be found in the Fall 2020 ANCHORA.