A Special Update on the State of ARAS

Tom Singer

This edition of ARAS Connections marks a significant moment of transition in the history and development of ARAS. On the one hand, we honor the retirement of Ami Ronnberg who has served as the Curator of ARAS for forty-one years—as well as its Director for a good portion of that time. It has been a remarkable tenure of service and creativity. Ami has overseen the development of many book projects, including the enormously successful publication of The Book of Symbols which has sold 300,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into seven different languages. Under Ami’s devoted leadership, ARAS has expanded its archives, developed educational programs for young people, and brought ARAS into the 21st century with a now vital online presence. Among Ami’s many gifts, perhaps none has been more valued than her uncanny eye for choosing just the right image for whatever the moment has required. She has had a vast palette to work with—the symbolic imagery from around the world and the beginning of time. But, to know how to use that palette is a cultivated gift that no one has mastered like Ami. One only has to turn to our brand new curriculum guide A Journey Through Symbols, to witness the stunning originality of Ami’s eye. Her selections exhibit a freshness of vision, often with images that are centuries old. One example is this amazing collection of images from the section entitled “The Call” in A Journey Through Symbols. We are launching this free, downloadable book in honor of Ami's unparalleled career at ARAS.

In emphasizing the creativity of Ami’s curatorial eye it becomes clear why her retirement is a change and a loss to all who have worked with her over the years. Those of you who don’t know her personally know her through her exceptional ability to curate the universe of symbolic imagery in the many books she has edited. 

It is pretty much a Jungian cliché to talk about how the archetypes of death and rebirth often go hand in hand. Yet the cliché masks the deeper fact of the symbolic nature of change. At ARAS we are witnessing the living truth of how the archetypal twins of death and rebirth are linked so closely in the retirement of Ami and the simultaneous emergence of wonderful new things at ARAS. Fortunately, Ami will continue to serve on the Board of ARAS so her voice and intimate knowledge of symbolic imagery and the ARAS way of presenting it will continue to have a meaningful influence on our work. ARAS is deeply indebted to Ami’s forty-one years of contributions. And, we also celebrate the birth of a new incarnation of ARAS in the form of the exciting, innovative projects that we feature below.