Sarah Stikeleather poses for a photo with the inspiration for her artwork, Ruby the Eastern screech owl.

For the Love of Ruby: Artist donates work to help Eastern screech owl

Posted at 1:15 PM on Mar 15, 2019



Sarah Stikeleather is an inspiration to many people who know her.

A two-time cancer survivor who was born with Down syndrome, she has volunteered her time at the public library, Yokefellow Ministries, Iredell Hospital and several local businesses. Her best friend is her poodle, Smokey Joe, and she enjoys spending her weekends in the mountains and at the lake. The 29-year-old is also a Special Olympian.

Sarah, who lives in Statesville with her family, has been enrolled in a watercolor art class at Mitchell Community College for 10 years and has entered several pieces of her work in the community art show. 

In November, Sarah attended the World Falconry Day celebration hosted by Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center and the North Carolina Falconers Guild.

While she enjoyed seeing all of the different birds, Sarah fell in love with Ruby, the Eastern screech owl who serves as the animal educator for the Outdoor Learning Center. She decided that she wanted her next painting to be of Ruby. After she finished her painting she asked if she could donate it to the nonprofit.

She also made copies of her painting to sell because she wanted to raise money to help with Ruby’s care.

The prints made from Sarah’s painting are on sale for $1 each as Sarah requested. She will be kept informed of all those who want to help with Ruby’s care.

As World Down Syndrome Day approaches on March 21, Sarah's friends at the Outdoor Learning Center were eager to share her story.

"We feel it is extremely thought provoking how a young woman that has faced so many challenges in her short life still thinks of others around her," explained Selena Goodin, the director at the Allison Woods Outdoor Learning Center. "Perhaps we should all be a little more like Sarah Stikeleather!"

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