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We cherish all of your memories and stories, many of which were sent anonymously. If you want us to add (or remove) names, credit, or anything else, please let us know through the “Share with us” link. Thanks and love.

Ariel Bourke (June 18, 1999 – April 14, 2020)

Ariel has always been an “old soul,” wise beyond her years. Not surprisingly, she grew into a thoughtful and smart young woman full of beauty and strength. When Ari chose a path, there was no dissuading her. She decided to end her precious life on April 14. She studied and lived lighting design, an art form that proved as ephemeral as she was. Ari persevered through life’s challenges with determination and grace. Notably, her high school trajectory was transformed in the summer of junior year by a life-threatening autoimmune illness that resulted in weeks of hospitalization followed by limited energy and school attendance upon her return to Northampton High School that fall. Not satisfied lounging around aimlessly, she quickly filled the new empty spaces by teaching herself theatrical lighting design which served as a life preserver and ultimately led to her college work and life’s passion. At Purchase College, Ari threw herself into her studies and theater production. She loved working long hours with fellow Design/Tech students, having found an outlet for her creativity and expression. Her friends and professors became her second family, evidenced by a shivah gathering illuminating (even by remote) how deeply she loved and was loved. Ari often spoke of college as a place where she felt at ease and accepted for who she was. Although it took her time to recognize and articulate, she was a queer transgender woman. Ari was described by her many close friends as an open and genuine person, and she made them feel supported to be their best and authentic selves. Ari could often be found taking long nighttime walks with friends, gazing at the stars, and pondering deep existential questions. In addition to lighting design, she loved drawing and tattooing, drinking exotic teas, and enjoying and sharing life with those close to her. Cape Cod and P-town often called to her, and she was always down for a Phish show, or two, or three. With Ari’s death, she leaves her sister and loyal advocate, Ilana, her loving parents Miriam and Andrew, her loving grandparents Marlene Bourke and Judy and Fred Krell, her dear uncles and aunts Jaron Bourke, Josh Krell, Krisna Basu, Jon Krell, and Marina Mazor, her cousins Leo, Bella and Susannah, and (“cape kids”) Sarah, Joe, Abe, Lily, and Logan, her chosen uncles Steve Garber and Bill Bonnet, and her many many cherished friends and loved ones.

Memories generously shared by Sam Norton (following).
Whatever state I was in, whoever I was, and whoever Ari was, she was the strong-arm of affection. (by Sam)

I remember when you all first came to our house in 2004 the night before kindergarten, the beginning of that – maybe 16 year tradition (I’m trying to do the math). I was a wee little hot-dog sized boy peering down from the upstairs rungs at the four of you in the foyer. Ari must also have been tiny-weeny, and Ilana would have been chiwawa-sized! So long ago but I remember being very happy to have a new friend also about to embark upon the scariest period we had yet to encounter – the great, uncharted waters of Bridge Street Elementary kindergarten. That day we all played in the “playroom” upstairs in our house (we still call it that for some unexplainable reason) and Ari, Lucy (perhaps Ilana too) built little castles and houses out of these big colorful pillows we had. It was fun and imaginative in a way that all toddlers love, in that formative year on the brink of ye-old kindergarten. I remember just being pleased to have a companion, especially one that loved constructing things as much as I did as a little boy. We must have all eaten greasy pizza and bland salad that night. While we – Ari, me, Lucy, Ilana and the “adults” (whatever that means) were ever growing people, one thing was steadfast; Ari would smile and hug us, and laugh about something funny that had happened that summer, would tell us her hopes and dreams for the year, or what music she was listening to . . . In other words, Ari was without fail a loving and loyal friend. And if anything is ever certain, I know that Ari shined light at that table, and made me happy. Whatever state I was in, whoever I was, and whoever Ari was, she was the strong-arm of affection. It will always be difficult for me that she is gone. . . . But I want you to know and I would want Ari to know that these memoriesof which I have described only a few {shared below} – could not be more dear to me. Whether in life or in memory, Ari has and will always be, a breath of spring air for me.

The glorious Panda years. (by Sam)

Those were the glorious Panda years. We both cared so much about those furry friends it felt like our duty to help them, as they were in need of support. That does not surprise me in the slightest that Ari cared so much about those bears; defiantly sticking up for the underdog. I remember one of my intensest memories of my childhood with Ari was doing that Panda fundraiser downtown. We were so eager to go out into the world and make a difference and fight for something. Ari had character and passion and it showed in those early years! We served lemonade to strangers and put up our cardboard signs reading “Save the Pandas” and proudly told strangers of our cause. I remember distinctly that this homeless guy came up at one point and couldn’t quite make the 25 cent price, but Ari and I consulted and determined that he needed a good drink and we gave him two all the same. People asked us for facts about Pandas, and oh boy did we give them. They poop some ridiculous number of times a day (Ari’s personal favorite fact); they eat only bamboo; there were very few left in the wild; they have surprisingly close ancestry to raccoons; and when they are born they are only the size of a stick of butter. Looking through some old boxes I found appreciation papers from the Smithsonian foundation, along with a little cutout picture of Ari and I laughing. The way I snipped around the edges of it showed it clearly was of importance to me. It still is of great importance! That picture was from one of my birthday parties when my grandfather Rex came up and did his silly shows. Ari is sitting there with a joyous grin – a smile and a laugh that stayed with her forever.

“Hey Sam, I have a secret to tell you.” (by Sam)

I remember one time in our house upstairs as little kids Ari and I were playing and suddenly Ari said to me, “Hey Sam, I have a secret to tell you.” “What is it,” I said. “You have to promise to forget the secret as soon as I tell you,” Ari said. I promised, and Ari laid it on me. “My favorite color is purple.” I suppose I never kept that promise given that I’m telling you now. Ari would forgive me I am sure!

The adults all laughed. (by Sam)

Oh and I remember as little ones when we were all at your house for some event, someone was telling of this wild news story in the deep south where some conservative justice-of-the-peace, or perhaps it was a judge, refused to marry an interracial couple. Ari blurted out: “You mean it was illegal for a black man and a white man to marry each other?” This was all before gay marriage was legal of course, and Ari couldn’t even imagine that people would be denied their human rights by others. The adults all laughed.

I don’t know what day (shirt) Ari got – maybe Friday. (by Sam)

I remember Ari made so many people care about her. Even that weirdo teacher we had in middle school . . . who was hard to get through to, loved Ari. That was his last year teaching, and he knew it when June rolled around. He had a lot of suits and dress shirts he wore on particular days of the school week. Only a few people were given them when he gave them away. Ari and I were some of them. I got the Wednesday suit, I don’t know what day Ari got – maybe Friday. And I think that teacher sent Ari a letter or something the next year when he was starting up his own band out west. He knew Ari was special, odd as he was.

I don’t know if Shlomo made it. (by Sam)

In the eighth grade we had a science project given to all of us to care for a plant with a partner. I had mine and kept it decently well watered and protected. I don’t remember what group Ari was in but she was a terrible plant parent. I came into math class one day (we took our plants to every class) and Ari was hunched over the ground and laughing hysterically. I smiled and asked her what was so funny. Ari pointed down and it was her plant (named Shlomo) upended on the ground with soil everywhere and some sad looking green leaves crushed under the weight of the pot. I don’t know if Shlomo made it.

How grateful I am to have had her as my partner and teammate at Northampton Karate… (by Elena Frogameni)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ariel recently, and about how grateful I am to have had her as my partner and teammate at Northampton Karate for all those years. It seems kind of funny to call her my “teammate” (not really a term used at a dojo!) but I really felt like that was what she was to me during those training years. I’m so grateful to have had someone who started right at the same time as me. In those early months I remember constantly whipping my head around to watch what she was doing during class as she was always lined up right next to me in ranking order. One of my favorite memories was learning the Pinan Godan moves along with Ariel in a little clearing in the woods behind Smith one summer. We were both completely lost, and I bumped into a tree. I loved that summer we spent training in the mornings and going for runs. Ariel was much, much faster than me (which I was a bit jealous of) and I always used to groan a bit when we’d eventually get paired up for that exercise where you basically smack your arms into your partners’ repeatedly – I swear my arms got tougher working with her than all the black belts combined. I really struggled at the dojo in those earlier years, feeling quite alone. It was this impossibly lonely and intimidating situation feeling like one of the only young women in our youth classes, especially after many left. I remember walking into classes and being afraid of being alone – either literally the only student or alone among the older male students who seemed to love acting like the strongest in the room. And I so vividly remember, class after class, feeling so much relief when Ariel walked into the dojo. I felt so grateful to have someone who was figuring it all out along with me, someone who I never felt was trying to intimidate me with their punches, and someone who I knew was rooting for me, and would crack up with me when we both inevitably forgot which way we were supposed to turn. We didn’t do much talking at the dojo, and I think both of us ended our training in a slow, anticlimactic way in fits and bursts. But I think of training with her so fondly, and I am just so happy to have gone through that process with her.

From the Conservatory of Dance for Ari’s birthday 6/18/20

This past semester I worked at SUNY Purchase as the Production Supervisor for the Conservatory of Dance. The seniors and I wanted to make a tribute video that holds clips of each piece Ari designed this semester. There is also a folder with the full videos I used in case you wanted to see more. Although video doesn’t capture the true impact of the lighting, I hope you can still see the passion and incredible design in there. Along with being the Production Supervisor I was also the Stage Manager for most of the senior projects, which means I worked closely with the lighting designers. Out of all of them, your daughter Ari had some of the greatest raw talent I’ve seen at Purchase. Ari would continue to tweak different looks she made throughout the week, continuously pushing her design to the next level. Her passion for the craft was obvious but more importantly Ari had the most incredible demeanor of everyone. She would walk into the DTL with a smile, an excitement, that infected the space. Tech with her was some of the most enjoyable experiences I had. Ari’s goal was to make the show great, and if that meant helping the other designers hang a light or fix a cue for them she was always there to do it. The news of her passing hit me especially hard because I knew she was going to go far in the industry – I was going to make sure of it. I was planning to pull her onto to any and every event I could. The world may not be able to experience your daughter’s genius but please know that I will never forget this past semester with her. Her designs, her passion, and her positive energy as a lighting designer will stick with me for the rest of my life. This video is in celebration of Ari and her work for her birthday tomorrow. We send you and her entire family love. From, Madison Ellis and the entire Conservatory of Dance

Dances and tribute video generously shared by the 2020 Purchase College Dance Conservatory senior choreographers, and posted to our Lighting & Design page.

The Peace of Wild Things 

The Peace of Wild Things 

– Wendell Berry


When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

She embodies what it means to be in D/T, from her work ethic to party ethic…

I had the privilege to work with her on the Opera. She carried the lighting team in that show.  She was my go-to to sort out all of the lighting problems that I had as the rigger and was responsible for making sure that all of the stuff in the air could actually be there. She was there to help and solve them.  No matter the time of day when I called her or texted her she would pick up and we would talk about the show but about how each other were doing. She embodies what it means to be in D/T, from her work ethic to party ethic. At the parties, I remember Ari just dancing without a care in the world or on the roof looking at the stars of our studio building.  We had discussed plans for next year on what we were going to do as she would be the designer and me the technical director, two people that work closely together.  We had talked about preventing the absolute mess that had happened this year, where stuff had gone wrong and right. She was so excited to design and was really the best in the entire class. She was part of our family and will always be part of the family in our memories.

“cool lookin’ stump”

It was Thanksgiving break, and I was stuck on campus alone. I was fully prepared to spend my holidays alone, but I distinctly remember Ari and Preston calling me to make plans for hanging out literally all day. We had spent a good portion of the afternoon wandering campus, and ultimately down into the woods. (I mean, what else is there to do on campus anyways?) Ultimately, we stumbled upon a Perfectly Cut Stump. The three of us stood around it for a moment in silence, just…. Looking at it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I 100% wanted this stump for my apartment as it was a perfect chair. However, I didn’t want to be the one to volunteer to carry it all the way back across campus…. Probably a 2 mile walk? After a moment, the two of them both agreed that it was a “cool lookin’ stump” and there we were. An odd bunch of two very short individuals with one large one, carrying a muddy stump past university police slung under a hoodie. After what felt like a million years, we finally hoofed it to my second floor apartment, where it remained all year until the last weeks. The ‘Stump Gang’ had persisted with it. As the year concluded, we had come to the conclusion that the stump must return to where we had found it…. The woods. So all by herself essentially, she carried this large, immensely heavy stump through brambles, bushes, muddy slopes and even tossed it across a river in the pitch black of the night. The rest of that night was spent in beautiful company with some amazing folks, and that stump remains there to this day– a permanent fixture to the woods. And I feel, that’s where her spirit would return to if she ever visited purchase. That firepit in the woods, with that stump chair. Forever serving as a gathering place for friends, and oftentimes unlikely guests– sharing in good company, laughs and cheap alcohol.

But something about her glowed…

Ari and I weren’t close. We didn’t tell each other our secrets, we didn’t hang out outside of class. But something about her glowed. I remember sitting on the back couches reading a play for Scott’s class and she came and sat with me. We didn’t talk, just ended up quietly reading together. I remember swinging my legs on the catwalk, hanging a light with her, and trying not to giggle. I remember countless small waves and smiles as we passed each other in the hallways. Keep glowing up in the stars Ari. 

Ari’s lighting design is what really brought it to life.

My name is Solange, and I am a dance major at Purchase.  I had the opportunity of having Ari as my lighting designer for my senior project.  I had a big vision for this project, and after bringing Ari in towards the end of the 6 month process, I can easily say that Ari’s lighting design is what really brought it to life.  Ari was amazing and easy to work with, she effortlessly granted every request and even enhanced my original vision by going beyond what I expected.  I did not know Ari for very long, but I am so thankful that I got to work with her and share a very special piece of myself with her.  My condolences to her family and friends, may Ari fly high.

Every time she walked into the room there was a kind of positive energy…

Ari was one the most confident, passionate, exciting people I knew. She was incredibly creative and seemed to have good taste in everything. Every time she walked into the room there was a kind of positive energy surrounding her that never failed to brighten your day. Even though we weren’t too close, simply classmates, I loved her so much and I loved all the moments I got to talk with her and be around her. Ari I cant believe you’re gone. I’m going to miss you so much. 

Goblin Queen

Halloween 2019.

The Goblin Queen.

“…You know, I’ll be free, just like that bluebird. Now, ain’t that just like me? Oh, I’ll be free…” Lazarus by David Bowie

When I was with her she always made me feel like Massachusetts wasn’t far away. 

My Teacher from High school met Ari at the METG high school festival, heard they were going to purchase, and wanted them to have my phone number so that they could meet someone a little closer to home at Purchase. Ari and I always stayed in touch after that, I may have been the first DT she met. When I was with her she always made me feel like Massachusetts wasn’t far away. 

She was one of those rare people who always smiled and said hi…

Ari never said a mean word, not to me at least.  She was one of those rare people who always smiled and said hi; and that means a lot on the rough days.  Her laughter was contagious too.  I just hope she knew how much good she did in the world. ❤

What would Ari do?

Ari was the light that you saw at the end of the tunnel, the one that guided your way on the rocky depths of the sea. She was there, for all of us, shining brightly on top of the mountain that is life. Her love and caring for those who stood beside her was unmatched. She always had a welcoming smile and an eagerness to help or just to catch up with and talk to all of her friends around her. Her outlook towards others was something that I aspired to adopt. She was there to listen, she was there to learn, to help and to teach; never to judge or shame, to hurt or to complain. Ari’s work ethic was also without comparison. We LDs always turned to her for that little step of guidance when an assignment would begin to stump us. In any situation, there she was, all elements done, finalized, proofread and sent out. As each day now marches on, I am further and further reminded that she is devastatingly no longer with us, and that so much of our lives inside and outside of class somehow was connected to her, and in fact is still connected to her, now more than ever. Ari will live on in spirit and in guidance, we will always remember her, look back and ask ourselves “what would Ari do?” and in doing that I know she will be there, with all of us, guiding our way through life. I miss you Ari, and I won’t ever let your guiding light fade from my life.

“The break down of structure and then figuring out what to do without it.”

I met Ari briefly while working with Kars on their senior project last fall. Between that experience and multiple recommendations I decided to ask Ari to be my lighting designer for my senior project which happened on the weekend of February 28. The project was one of the most stressful times in my life, a weekend I had been anticipating and planning since freshman year. Looking back I had no idea what was to come a few weeks later and I am so incredibly grateful that the show happened at all. Ari was extremely professional. I remember my first meeting with her was so wonderful that I went home and raved that I loved my lighting designer to all of my friends. She seemed to find a way to understand the concept behind my piece and even put it into words, which I hadn’t been able to really do yet. I wrote it down because it seemed so clear and simple “The break down of structure and then figuring out what to do without it.” She was so on board, so competent, hardworking, smart, and creative. Without fail, every time I got flustered or felt uncertain about my work, Ari always knew exactly what to say to make me feel as though everything would be okay. She went above and beyond, meeting me at odd hours to practice in the theater or talk to me about lighting. It was inspiring to watch her work. I’m sure I was a bit hectic to work with. I had a lot of ideas for the lighting and often had a hard time knowing what I wanted without a lot of trial and error. When I worried out loud about my lighting being too complicated or asking too much, she always said, “This is my job, I’m excited to do it,” and I knew it was true. I could see the passion quite clearly. I wasn’t the only one in the dance conservatory who was impressed by Ari and her abilities. The director of the program said the lighting really solidified my piece.  Ari lit projects for other dancers at Purchase beautifully. Everyone only ever had good things to say about her. The first week of March, the senior class met to discuss second senior projects, an evening of dance featuring a short piece by each senior. We all decided to ask Ari to light the show because of how impressed we were with her work. The last time I spoke to her I told her that while this show would no longer happen, I wanted her to know that we thought of her. It was so bitter sweet to hear that she had grown to love lighting dance. She had such an eye for it and I feel so honored to have been able to work with her and know her for the short time that I did. Thank you, Ari.

Time is too short with all the people in your life to pass up on those opportunities to connect with others.

I always wanted to be friends with Ari. She had an impeccable music taste and loved 70s music and I always wanted to have a friend to talk to about it. I have a vivid memory of her carrying a Jesus Christ Superstar vinyl around on campus and I just wanted to start gushing with her about it but I felt too nervous and scared to ever really approach her and just hang out. I remember drunkenly telling her at a party how cool she is and how much I liked her and I was sure she wasn’t interested in hanging and she insisted that wasn’t the case and that she did want to hang! But I was still scared. I’ll always regret that weakness in me. Time is too short with all the people in your life to pass up on those opportunities to connect with others. Ari was a bright light to many of us, and so many people love her and will continue to love her for the years to come even if she isn’t with us. 

We danced together, we worked together, we laughed together…

We danced together, we worked together, we laughed together, we talked about music together, we painted together, we had many late nights together. We spent so much time together these last three years and I am thankful for every day that you were there. You made me a better person and I will miss you.

feet in wet spaghetti?

Ari quote from September 21, 2019 : “Have you ever put your feet in wet spaghetti?…… I have.”

The three of us rolled, danced, and starfished in the grass for hours…

I will never forget the day that Ari called me outside to join her and a friend out on the lawn of the Neu. The three of us rolled, danced, and starfished in the grass for hours, and then proceeded to walk circles around campus – hand in hand and completely barefoot. At one point, I let go of Ari’s hand, to which she scooped mine back up and said “I love you. These are the days that count.” Later the three of us realized how sunburnt our noses got, but it was well worth it. We spent the entire day doing nothing together. And it was one of my favorite days of my whole life. 

She and I had gotten really high and begun to talk about brownies.

It wasn’t until this summer that I realized how close Ari and I had become over sophomore year. We were desk neighbors throughout one of the most transformative and definitive years in this conservatory. From then on, I had a very clear window I was looking through of such a talented, selfless, beautiful, and strong soul. One of my most favorite memories of Ari was from our jr LD meat night. The 10 of us got together for a high & booze filled night to make pasta, meatballs and garlic bread. We were all there, cracking jokes, reminiscing of our fun or miserable times in production; but I remember Ari. She and I had gotten really high and begun to talk about brownies, which lead to both of us really wanting to eat brownies. To which our friend whose apartment we were at gave us the box of mix, and Ari went straight to work flexing those impeccable brownie making skills. Believe me when I tell you, they were some of the best brownies I’d ever tasted. It was this summer that I realized that Ari and I had grown so close. With what has become the most difficult time in my personal life, Ari was right there. Once I was able to see and hang out with people she came and visited me as soon as she could. And for 2.5 hours everything seemed like it was back to normal. From that point on she made junior year so special. Literally always there for me. I was lucky enough to get to work with Ari on literally every show we were assigned to this year.  Ari was always someone I looked up to for design, I’m so grateful that she was not only designing beside me for both of our last and my first performances in the DTL, but she literally had my back for my entire design. She had such a strong eye for design, one that I am truly inspired by. And I’d always taken it as if Ari liked my design, that was a good sign that I was doing something right. She was so passionate about everything she did, and really committed and gave it her all. Tonight will be the first night that I’ve smoked in several months. And I’ll be okay, just like I was smoking for the first-time junior year after my summer of not having touched pot. That first-time junior year Ari was right there to walk me through it all, with how nervous I was. And I won’t be nervous tonight, because I know Ari will be with me again. I’ll love you forever darling. 

Ari and our other friend had carried a stump from deep in the woods.

I always had a friend crush on Ari, from the moment I met her. I always wanted to be closer with her, and over the years, the closer we got the brighter my life got. One of the best neighbors ever. All of the times sophomore and junior year we saw each other on our way home and started walking together, those few moments always warmed my heart. She was always ready to donate garbage bags to my apartment when we ran out. She’s one of those people you could just sit and listen to talk for hours, doesn’t matter what it is, but Ari was so passionate about everything she did so listening to her speak was always just such an interesting thing, no matter what. My favorite most recent memory is the last week we were on campus. Ari and our other friend had carried a stump from deep in the woods on the opposite side of campus to my apartment balcony over thanksgiving break. It’s been there ever since. That stump became a staple of our apartment. The last week before we had to leave campus, we decided to have a fire with this stump to let it go out in style. We packed that stump into our friend’s small car, and this was a big stump. To fit all of us around it, Ari got in the middle seat in the back and hugged the stump, smushed between me (with another friend on my lap) on the right and another friend on her left. Here we were, some rowdy college kids squished together, with a stump. When we got out, Ari tried to carry it herself to the spot in the woods, but this stump was huge and heavy. I ended up helping her. We carried this chunk of a tree, stopping every 10 feet to readjust our hands and plan out our course of action for the next 10 feet. We swapped who was going backwards, who had the side with the better hand holds, and both of us were small but both were too stubborn to accept any more help. Though, she carried it by herself across a plank spanning a small stream. Well, threw it across the stream more like it. She was so adamant she had it, and she did; just took a minute. When we finally got to the campfire spot, we couldn’t even burn it like we originally carried it out there for cause we couldn’t chop it up, so it became a nice seat. Might still be out there. 

Such a loving, caring, beautiful, intelligent, artistic, genuinely good soul. Always makes everyone smile. I love her. Always will.

She came over and made me tea and sat on my bed with me.

One day I had pulled two all nighters in a row and I was really sick and I went home after class, and I told her about it, and she came over and made me tea and sat on my bed with me and held my hand and she just said “ Dude, whatever you need, I’m here for you”. All my time with her is full of times like that, of just her unconditional caring about others. She talked to me like I mattered. I wish I had told her how much her kindness meant to me. Go with G*d, you lovely talented person.

We used to go on long walks all over campus really late at night.

We used to go on long walks all over campus really late at night before it got super cold and she would talk about all this really technical stuff about lighting design that I didn’t understand but it was worth it to hear how much she knew and cared about it. I was always in awe about how much she wanted to do and all the ideas she had. My sophomore year was really rough, I didn’t feel like I had a lot of direction or inspiration, but watching her talk about hers was always really helpful. 

She brought challah.

She knew that I didn’t have anyone to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with so she brought challah to the studio at 2 am. 

When people were transphobic or didn’t understand stuff she always made a point to have a talk with them and she changed people’s minds for the better.

She would always seek out and look out for trans underclassmen. She singled me out in my electrics rotation in my freshman year and made me her ladder crew for weeks and was always very concerned about how trans kids were matriculating. When people were transphobic or didn’t understand stuff she always made a point to have a talk with them and she changed people’s minds for the better. I always got a sense that she was proud of that part of herself.

Ari is the only person I’ve ever met who knows how to make every second count.

Ari is the only person I’ve ever met who knows how to make every second count and make the things that seem so small mean more than the world. One night, I was lying in bed playing on my phone when I got the most unexpected phone call from her. She was going for a walk on the Cape and was admiring how beautiful the stars were. She convinced me to get out of bed and go outside and look at them too, even though I was 6 hours away. We were so far apart, yet time felt like it had stopped, like we had somehow been pulled together to be standing side by side. I had never felt so connected to anyone before. I am so grateful for every moment I shared with her and the self confidence she helped bring to my life. She showed me I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I love everything about her and I always will. I know I’ll be able to see her in the stars.

Ari had a desk right next to me freshman year.

Ari had a desk right next to me freshman year. I was always astounded with her concepts and ideas. Fast forward the next couple years, she would take me to FedEx in her minivan without a second thought. Come over to my apartment for some “Crab Raccoons”. Wave and say hi from her window. And randomly show up because we were closest to where she lived. My apartment was talking about getting tea related stick and pokes from Ari to commemorate our Tea Drawer . I think we still will get those stick and pokes. And they will mean all that much more..

Talking to her before class made getting up at 9 o’clock in the morning a whole lot easier.

Ari sat behind me during lighting design 1. I didn’t really know her before that but we soon got to talking and became friends. Talking to her before class made getting up at 9 o’clock in the morning a whole lot easier. She was bright, positive and very creative. My heart goes out to her Loved ones. I hope you have found peace, Ari💜.

We would talk about the universe and life.

When I met Ari she was a kindred spirit and knew exactly what to say about everything. She understood the world and we would talk about the universe and life and she was always so optimistic about everyone’s futures. I had never met such a kind and vibrant person. We would dance at parties and scream the lyrics to songs like we were on top of the world. She was electric and made all of us feel so important and loved. I will always remember a conversation with her about all of her brilliant creative designs for stick and pokes and how passionate she was about art. She encouraged me to be true to myself. Ari made me feel visible and I cherish the friendship we shared. “We can be heroes” 

I looked at Ari and light went all through me.

I looked at Ari and light went all through me. I remember driving to a Phish concert in a snowstorm with her. I was petrified, but she kept driving and saying “it’s all good man, we’ll make it”. And we did, and danced at that concert for 3 straight hours. She was my person, and made me a better one. 

She cleared a path for me amongst all the intoxicated people.

My freshman year, I slipped on the wet floor and collapsed to the ground at a party, severely twisting my knee. I didn’t know Ari very well, she was just the girl who sat near me in the studio, but she cleared a path for me amongst all the intoxicated people and carefully got me outside on the steps. I don’t remember anything that we talked about, but that was the day that sticks out in my head, as the day we became friends. Since then, she has been by my side ever since. We spent so many amazing nights listening to her eclectic mix of music, dancing wildly to the Hair soundtrack, getting stupid high, talking about the universe, building a brownie empire, discussing art, watching trippy music videos, and living life to it’s fullest. Ari has been a ray of light in my life and I truly will never stop loving her beautiful soul. You will be so missed my dearest Ari.

Ari was someone who was very easy to love.

Ari was someone who was very easy to love, she was such a light in the world and she made everything brighter around her. She could literally talk to you about anything, and would be honest with you about her opinion, it was refreshing! Ari was one of my favorite people to be around, she made everything seem better. I wish we had gotten closer, that I was able to get the poke & stick from her, and I’ll miss her so much.

It still makes me laugh remembering that hilarious and kind conversation that only I knew the contents of.

Once I was sitting outside of a nearby party that I had no intention of going to and Ari came out for some air. She sat down across from me and immediately started talking to me, despite us not really knowing each other outside of existence. She was dressed rather oddly and if it was anyone else it probably would have put me off just a little bit but instead It was one of the easiest conversations I’ve ever had as she was just so kind and immediately respecting. She asked about where I was from, how the year was going, and told me about herself. Her friend came over to talk and Ari said that I was a “cool dude” and that she couldn’t really remember most of the conversation that we just had then said goodbye and left. It still makes me laugh remembering that hilarious and kind conversation that only I knew the contents of.

It was impossible not to feel at ease around her.

I’ve always been a nervous and anti social person and I’m generally terrified to talk to people, especially when I don’t know them well. Something about Ari was different though. Even though I’d just met her, the way she talked to you was with genuine interest and respect. Never once did I feel like she was judging me in any way and it was impossible not to feel at ease around her.

Ari dropped her flashlight down the grate at the back of C-space.

I remember one time when Ari dropped her flashlight down the grate at the back of C-space during the opera load in. Unfortunately the flashlight was still on and so we could see a single light in this dark chasm down which it had fallen. For almost a week we came back everyday to see the flashlight still on in the dark hole. We watched as it slowly became dimmer and dimmer by the day until its light finally flickered. Ari was so happy to see every day where the flashlight had survived.

She was such a kind and genuine soul.

I didn’t know Ari too well, but she was such a kind and genuine soul. Her loss will leave a huge hole in our family and I’m sure she will be greatly missed by us all.

She had a laugh that made me smile so I was always grateful for her.

When I was a freshman, I walked to the back of the studio to see who was applying to Purchase and talk to them. I did that all four years I was there. The only person I remember so clearly was Ari. Something about her energy was so unique, I felt warmth in it. I told her, no matter what happens in that room, next year, you’ll be back in September. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it because she was and even better, I was her mentor. I  didn’t know much about my concentration at the time, but I was always determined to help her because I believed in her. I always invited her to any kind of call I was going to from then on, whether it was on campus or not, because her energy was addicting. She had a laugh that made me smile so I was always grateful for her. A few months ago, she made her stick and poke account and it made me so excited. I could get a tattoo from someone I believe in, both as a human and an artist. Time was unfair for us so it kept getting pushed off. I wish it wasn’t. I’ve never met someone with energy so vibrant like Ari. I’m beyond grateful I knew her and even though she is gone, she will never leave my heart. I love her so much and will never forget her.

They hurt like a bitch, can you untie them?

During Ari’s Freshman year at a party, outside I walked by and she said she thought my heels were fierce. I drunkenly said “I know”, kicked my leg onto the handrail and said “they hurt like a bitch, can you untie them?” and then I walked home barefoot. It was only last year that she told me how that was her first memory of me and she loved it so much. I remember it very fondly.

She never failed to make me laugh and smile anytime we were together. 

I spent time with Ari in and out of classes. We hung out quite a bit, and I will never forget the first day she read me one of her writings. She had a true gift, and it touched me in a way no other piece of work had ever done. It helped me to understand her and it strengthened my understanding of her and who she was. Her art was a beautiful outlet for her, and she really shined when she was working on a new project. It showcased her unbelievably unique spirit, and she never failed to make me laugh and smile anytime we were together. 

Ari walked into the theater with a smile.

Ari walked into the theater with a smile. She was an extremely smart, talented designer that was excited to share her art with the world. She just recently lit a senior project and her warmth and creativity brought the choreographer’s visions to life. The world lost an amazing human this week.

She stood out to me in her bright shirt.

I remember the first time I saw Ari last year, she stood out to me in her bright shirt against the blacks and greys of the other LDs in electrics orientation when I was a freshman. She smiled when she introduced herself and I remember that it made everyone else smile too. She was so bright and I immediately knew I wanted to talk to her more. We worked on a couple different shows that rotation and I had not been loving my time in electrics prior to working with Ari, but immediately my mind was changed when she was in charge. She was so genuine and appreciative of everyone working with her, even us ladder weights. She was so organized and confident, which allowed us all to learn from her and have a good time. We had a few short conversations during this time and even though they were not deep or anything, it always made me happy to interact with her. Ever since then, whenever I see her around campus she would always always smile and say hello no matter what, and was always so friendly and warm. She was so so so loved and will be missed always.

It made me feel like I was part of a family for the first time at college.

On Halloween of Freshmen year I was hanging out with a friend at the party. Maybe an hour or so into it, Ari had come up to the mutual friend and asked if we wanted to “participate in an illegal activity” on the roof of the building. There was a group of us, but I remember everyone on the roof talking and laughing, telling stories, cracking jokes, and her singing Bowie (quietly to herself). It made me feel like I was part of a family for the first time at college and if it wasn’t for Ari extending the olive branch I would’ve never made that connection with her and a couple other upperclassmen. I may not have known her well, but I appreciate her for it. 

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return.” -David Bowie-

A giant freezer bag of knishes.

One day I went to Aris room and she had the biggest smile on her face and she yelled “guess what my parents brought me!?” and pulled out a giant freezer bag of knishes. It was a very exciting day for both of us. 

We would always bond and talk about David Bowie.

Ari was always someone who made me feel included when there were parties when I was a freshman and I didn’t know anyone, or even just passing each other at the Hub, she would take the time to say hi and chat with me. I remember a few weeks before we all had to leave campus in March she came up to me in the Hub to ask me if she could practice doing stick n’ pokes on me and it just made me feel good that she knew I would totally be down to do that and that she wanted to. Sometimes in this program I feel that I don’t have many friends whether that was because I didn’t go out of my way to make them because I was awkward or because people just didn’t want to talk to me, Ari always was a friend. We would always bond and talk about David Bowie and I remember for Halloween Ari dressed up as him from the Labyrinth and it was AMAZING! I’m glad to know that there’s a Starman waiting in the sky for her and I hope she can have some great chats with him. 

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie

Ari was my first friend in college.

Ari was my first friend in college. I remember freshman year us all sitting in the hall introducing ourselves and I heard she was a dt. The next day we had our freshman writing class together and we had to pair up and looked over at me like obviously let’s work together. The whole semester together we became very close. Her writing in that class was amazing. We would sit on my floor and talk about nothing for hours. Ari was the one who convinced me to go out and help me make more friends.  She is the reason my transition into college was not alone. She made sure I never felt left out. I knew she was always there for me. She was such a ball of light. Anyone who met Ari was immediately her friend and i’m so happy to have met her. Ari’s life will live on through her friends, family and art.

She drove me to fed ex at 3am.

She drove me to fed ex at 3am so we could print our drafting. We talked about her old car, and what we had done that semester. When we got there, we both had trouble printing and spent 2+ hours there, cracking jokes and looking at the cute books they have. I showed her a book about creating art. The chapter was called “Timeline of a project”. The line went from “I’m so ready to do this” to “I’m never going to get this finished”. We laughed about how accurate it was. She showed me the stick n poke she did on herself. It was so beautifully done, I wanted to get a stick n poke from her. Rest In Peace. We will remember you forever.

She was a fierce lady with the world in her hands.

Mine and Ari’s Spotify accounts have been linked for the past 3 years now and even though there was no specific reason why we did it freshman year whenever I saw her listening to something or what she had been listening to I’d smile to myself. She was also definitely the only reason I survived electrics rotation freshman year. I learned a lot from her both about life and electrics. Every time I saw her anywhere she’d always say hey and give me a smile or a nod and we’d go our separate ways. Even those small moments with her were special. I’m so glad I got to work with her this past semester. She was a fierce lady with the world in her hands, a wicked sense of humor, and an amazing heart. You will be greatly missed sunshine..

I’d never really met someone like me before.

She was the first person I spoke to my freshman year. It was the first Joel class, and we sat together. I remember being so nervous and shy but she struck up a conversation with me just like that and I had my first ‘college friend’. She was also the first person I told about my pronouns at this school. I’d never really met someone like me before that and the sudden feeling of being known was amazing. Ari you were known, and you were loved. I’m sorry I couldn’t show it to you better. Rest in power, sister. 

Our talk would always be filled with wit and wonder.

It is impossible to put into words exactly how much Ari has affected my life. She is an inspiration in every way. I’ve only gotten close with her this past year, but the depth of a person that she was was only matched by the depth of her love for those around her. If there was anybody that I wanted to make sure I made a good impression on, it was Ari. She worked so hard for everything, made everybody feel welcome, and was overall a vibrant soul who saw the beauty in uniqueness. I was always curious about what she thought about certain ideas that I had, tiny moments, anything in general. When I had a conversation with her, I knew that I was talking to one of the most genuine souls out there and that our talk would always be filled with wit and wonder. She constantly reminded me that she had my back forever and always, but even without her reassurance I knew that if there was anybody who I could go to for anything it was her. 

Her beautiful personality brightened my day.

Ari was an angel to the show that I was in. She made everything easier on everyone and genuinely showed she cared about the show and the people involved in it. She came up to me once after a long day and asked me, with a smile, if it would be helpful to share all the information she had in real time with me and the rest of the team so that all the departments could be more aware of the progress. Her beautiful personality brightened my day and helped me stay positive for the rest of a very difficult week. Not a lot of people have the ability to do that. You were so loved, Ari. And you will be missed.

Ari was interested in hearing everybody’s ideas.

This year, I remember being in the freshman studio late at night while Ari was working in the light lab across the hall. She would come into the studio sometimes and ask people for their opinions on her work. I always appreciated that Ari was interested in hearing everybody’s ideas, even freshman with little experience. 

“All set, for better or for worse.”

Ari and I became closer this year and some of my favorite moments were when Ari would come into the senior studio and we would talk for hours. The way she thought about life was so beautiful and she had such a wild spirit that was very inspiring. My favorite part of her was her smile and laugh, truly contagious. She was always there when you needed her even when you didn’t know you did. She was a true inspiration to everyone and I will never forget her beautiful mind and soul. Lastly, I keep going back to our last conversation through texting and the last thing she said to me was, “All set, for better or for worse.”

“I’ve got your back…”

This year I was asked to take on a project not normally asked of a freshman and she could tell that at times I would be in a panic, as I was pacing the stage, and I would be frantically looking around (that’s how she saw it and explained it to me). She would walk over to me and would poke fun about how I seemed super stressed. So whenever she got a chance, she would pull me aside, almost daily, and remind me that she was really proud of me and that I was killing it. Anytime I went over to ask her a question, she would always make a comment about it and was always reminding me that she was there if I ever needed anything. She did that a lot during the project and it honestly meant so much. She’d be working on the opposite side of the room and she would always make a point to say hey, check up on me and make me laugh to calm my nerves. Even went as far as to sit next to me during meetings when I felt like a fish out of water. It really helped, it made me feel wanted in a room that I didn’t feel I should be in. It was such a relief to just have someone say “I’ve got your back and you are doing a great job” either verbally or just physically as she sat beside me.

At the Wake’s Water’s Edge (by Jaron Bourke)

At the wake’s water’s edge.

Sunlight bright

Sun blazing



June 18th

Like the day you were born, except everything.

Doesn’t seem so light

Doesn’t seem so warm

Don’t care to notice the wispy clouds overhead.

I notice the wake of a motorboat,

Lapping noisily against the floating dock,

A crashing reminder of what was once here, and passed us by,

Rifling through our lightless funeral pyre

Of notes written to you on water soluble paper, they are

Clinging to the river’s surface,

Spoken but unheard,

Written but unread,

In the last moments before the current takes them under,


But not extinguished.

Love always Ari, Ilana, Mim and Andy.


She let me in on what was about to occur…

A month into my freshman year, I was volunteering for one of Ari’s calls for her show assignment. When dinner break was called the rest of the crew left to D Hall and I was going to stay in Humanities until Ari, who stayed momentarily behind, told me to follow her to D Hall. We made small talk on the way there and she even offered me the deck electrician position (but unfortunately I was on another show). On the way back from dinner, the upperclassmen initiated a game of Mr. President, which I wasn’t aware of. As more people put their hands up to their ears waiting for the target, Ari came up to  me and gestured for me to do the same. Another student got tackled instead. It wasn’t until after that I realized she was the only one to come up to me and let me in on what was about to occur. Anyone else would’ve probably let me be the target if I didn’t catch it myself. It was a simple gesture, but I still remember how grateful I was she did it.

Ari was the first person I saw…

Before classes began my freshman year, I walked past her and the student I was with told me that she’s a D/T and a good person to know. Ari was the first person I saw who was in the program and since that moment she smiled at me and gave a warm “hello” and wave, I knew I was in the right place. Further into that year, it just so happened that I was heading into the city on Metro-North while Ari and a fellow LD were too. We rode the train together, once we got to Grand Central Station and were about to part ways, Ari reminded me that if I happened to need anything I should give her a call. The few moments we interacted with each other were always warm and comforting. I will never forget the light that Ari was to all of us in the program, and I will never forget how organized her master electrician works was. 

I hope she knew how loved she was…

I was having a really hard time my sophomore year of college. I had just experienced a death in my family, was in the middle of my show assignment, and I had just nearly gotten into a deadly car accident when returning from picking up rental gear. Ari was the first person to notice that I wasn’t doing okay. We talked and she did everything she could to make sure I was okay and even picked up the rest of the rental for that show knowing how shaken up I would be if I had to make the drive again. She was one of the few people that genuinely cared about everyone they met and wanted them to be happy. I hope she knew how loved she was by everyone here at Purchase. She will be missed dearly.

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