Spanish teacher draws focus to other ‘love’


Cami Culbertson

Camille Dunn, a junior, working on an activity featuring the work of artist Georgia O’Keeffe. Activity

Cami Culbertson, Contributor

“This is something I love. You don’t have to love it with me,” the Spanish teacher Regina Ruiz said to her students. 

Dr. Ruiz was not referring to Spanish. She simply loves art. 

She was speaking with her students in her new interim course, “Women in Art: Creative Women Who Inspired the World.” 

Dr. Ruiz admitted light-heartedly that she had no idea what she was going to teach for Interim Term until she saw a book about women’s art, “Women in Art: 50 Fearless Creatives Who Inspired the World,” and had a realization.

“I am not an art teacher nor an art historian. I have just always loved art since I was younger and it’s what makes me happy,” she said.

In her class, students explored the art of women and proceeded to learn about the artists’ lives. Students also completed activities related to the artists they learned about. 

Students in the class took part in activities where they made their own mini art pieces that reflect the legacies of many famous female artists. In one activity, the students took sheets of paper and cut holes in the middle so that they could use the paper as magnifying glasses and replicate the art of Georgia O’Keeffe

Dr. Ruiz said her class does not focus on memorization, but on seeing how art makes students feel.  

Though the course title might suggest that her interim class was just for girls or just about women, that focus was not her main goal.

“I don’t think that art is gender-based but the struggles in art depend on the time period because of how women were treated and how they have different journeys,” Dr. Ruiz said.  

Lyllian Walton, a freshman, said she was drawn to the course  because of her love for art and the fact that she is a woman. She mentioned that though the course touches on both female and male artists, it highlights underappreciated female artists and empowers them. 

“After taking this course, it helped me learn more of what it means to be an artist, usually whenever I thought about artists I thought about someone who painted or drew something but all of the artists we learned in class also designed lots of different things like architectural works as well,” freshman Lucas Fang said.

Fang said he enrolled in the course because he likes learning about arts in general, fine arts, and digital arts, so he thought it would be a good course to take.  

The course was filled with women artists that lure students into being curious, which was Dr. Ruiz’s goal, even if students didn’t have a passion for art. 

One of her favorite artists includes Yayoi Kasama, an artist who struggles with schizophrenia and uses her art as a form of therapy. 

Dr. Ruiz said she finds Kasama to be inspiring because she admitted that she isn’t necessarily healthy but did not let it hold her back in her work. 

 Freshman Lyllian Walton recommended the course to other students because it can expand their view on who an artist can be. 

“People should branch out and learn about female artists because in kindergarten they mostly learn about males,” Walton said.