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Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Rueben Gonzales

09.12.2022 | By: Texas Wesleyan University
A photo of Rueben Gonzales in his art studio

A unique treasure on campus, the Bernice Coulter Templeton Gallery is a place where not only students, staff and faculty can explore artwork from various local artists, but also the neighboring community.

It's a space that sparks critical thinking and looking beyond what's in front of you. And that's exactly what Visiting Professor of Art and Coordinator of the Bernice Coulter Templeton Art Studio Rueben Gonzales hopes to paint into the life of our TXWES community.

Gonzales has been working to bring the studio to life since he took over in 2019. He's invited local artists like Laura Hunt, Aimee Cardoso and Jeremy Biggers, among many others, to share their artwork with the Texas Wesleyan and Fort Worth community. And for the next few months, Gonzales' own photography will line the walls of the studio.

"When artists and visitors come in for the first time, they are surprised at what they see," Gonzales said. "The gallery has a very urban feel and is really a hidden gem here at the university, which I am trying to change."

He hopes to make the gallery one of the top spaces on campus. He believes that the studio gives students a place to learn more about themselves, increase their self-confidence and challenge their thinking.

"finding solutions for yourself and others through a community of peers through art is a great skillset that can help a student of any major, not just the artists," he said. "Art is the great mirror that allows us to reflect on how we go about our daily lives and all of the decisions we make."

In the art classes that he teaches, he encourages students to not be afraid to start making an impact while they are in school.

"I make sure to remind my students as often as possible to make their voices heard now," he said. "Something they say could change the life of the person next to them or possibly the world."

He also works to bring art from minority communities into his teaching and gallery.

"Being Mexican American myself, I think it's really important to bring all of that culture in my teaching and also in the visiting artists that come to the gallery," he said. "What I bring to the spaces and my teaching is the idea and background of diversity."

Touting the diversity of Texas Wesleyan, Gonzales also feels that Texas Wesleyan's Smaller. Smarter. campus allows him to work with students more closely and show them the art and history of various diverse groups.

"That increased visibility [of culture] is very important to me," he said. "And I have the ability to. give students the time and details to be successful."

Gonzales has also drawn inspiration from his culture into his own artwork. He reflects on the strong, independent personalities of the women in his family and even created a character called "Romana" in his photography that reflects their journeys. He also enjoys bringing in the vibrancy of the clothing and drawing inspiration from the Greek goddess Persephone and Frida Khlo.

The studio is lit up with not only the works that shine on the works of talented artists but also by Gonzales' dedication to helping it become an inspiration to others. His enthusiasm in helping students and our greater community look beyond their everyday lives is a glowing example of how professors like him make Texas Wesleyan Smaller. Smarter.

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At Texas Wesleyan, we have a rich history and a Texas-sized reputation. As stewards of the University, it is our responsibility to build a future as bright as our past.