Ruby is a very talented self-motivated community artist who approaches her artistic interests and intellectual pursuits with innovation, experimentation, and a collaborative spirit. Indeed, her innovative and collaborative side has always impressed me. She demonstrates this side of herself via her numerous murals throughout Salt Lake City, Utah. With each of these murals, in fact with all of her public art projects, she engages in a community research process where she mentors youth artist interns and surveys local communities for ideas and issues they want represented in public art in their community. For example, she recently completed a public art project with the highly anticipated expansion of our local public transportation system, the Traxline. This involved working with local communities to gather input through focus groups and surveys, as well as work with the city and Utah Transit Authority. She and her apprentices took that information to design amazing artwork that is reflective of the neighborhoods the Transit serves.
Ruby's creative force and imagination are evident not only in her portfolio, but also in her role as the co-founder of Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts (MICA). As the co-founder she imagined a creative space in her local working-class community that would strengthen and build community through arts, civic engagement, and dialogue. MICA provides this space and allows under-represented communities to engage the local community and/or use art as a tool for social change. The space includes an art gallery that hosts a range of exhibits and installations, a community art studio, and a small coffee shop. Ruby's creative force and her commitment to communities of color continue to inspire me.