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Ruth Faison Shaw was born in Kenansville in 1888. She was a visionary artist and educator who rediscovered the ancient art of finger painting and took it to new heights. Shaw first introduced finger painting to the country in the 1930s at the Dalton School in New York. Exhibitions of paintings by Shaw and her students received glowing reviews, and she published a book in 1934 explaining her ideas on the technique. The most important aspect of her work came when she recognized finger painting's potential in the treatment of mental illness. Finger painting is now widely used by psychiatrists as a method to approach severely disturbed patients. Shaw returned to North Carolina in the 1950s and was a consultant in art therapy in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until her death.