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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Gonzalez

Meet the Artist

In El Salvador, basic education consists of 1st -9th grade. After completing the mandatory basic education, students must find schools that offer the bachillerato program (high school). Students must pass an entry exam and wait to be admitted to one of the few spots available.

That's how Alfredo Ruiz arrived at Complejo Educativo Dr. Alberto Luna (CEDAL), the school we have partnered with. He came in 2016 and graduated from the program. Alfredo is one of many students who remain connected to the school after graduation. At CEDAL, they find support and encouragement to pursue their goals. Learn about Alfredo from his own words.

Who is Alfredo Ruiz?

I am passionate about art and culture. Since I was very young, I started to draw when I picked up a pencil for the first time. But I never was taught to draw or paint, but that didn't stop me, and I just started learning little by little. I would watch programs on TV and draw what I saw. At school, I was always someone private, I was quiet, and they told me I was absentminded because I spent my time in my own world, with my paper and pencil drawing whatever came to my mind, and it was difficult for me to focus my attention to class.

I am originally from Santa Ana. But I identify myself with San Sebastián Salitrillo. Because it is the little town where its people have opened their doors to me and have given me confidence. It is where I most enjoy being.

I also can't overlook the fact that I am a Christian. Since I was a child, I have been a Christian, and I am part of ELIM church. Thanks to God, I oversee the group of leaders at the church and serve in other areas of the church.

How did you arrive at CEDAL?

I came to CEDAL in 2016 to study high school. Because a friend told me that there was a high school in that institution. I had never been to San Sebastian Salitrillo or to the school, but I have been received with open arms from the moment I arrived.

How has your love for art changed over your time at CEDAL?

During my time at CEDAL, the teachers discovered that I could draw, and they believed in me; they asked me to do a mural, which is the first mural I had ever done. It felt like a challenge for me, but the teachers believed in me and gave me confidence. I was able to do my first mural in that school, and now the school is my art portfolio.

After graduating high school, we know you went to university but did not continue your pursuit of the arts. Why?

The reason why I studied another career is that my aspiration was to study plastic arts, but it is a career that is only available at the National University of San Salvador. It is difficult for me to complete that degree because it is an expensive career, and at the same time, it is in another region far from my city. Therefore, traveling there is very complicated. I also lacked knowledge about the possibility of a professional art career here in the country.

So I studied to become a language and literature major, but it is not what I like, so I never felt comfortable with it. I studied it because it is a reasonably inexpensive career close to my city. However, it is not what I wanted to dedicate myself to. That's why I only did 2 years, and then I decided not to continue and started painting, which is what I love.

My aspiration for the future is to study an art career.

What are you doing at this moment?

In the meantime, I am creating art and selling it on the weekends at the park. I am perfecting my craft and looking to take workshops on national culture to express it through art.

I also have a project with the art workshop at the school. I would like to create a dignified place for the children, where each child has their workspace and continue to promote art and culture. In the project, I want children to have access to materials to receive a good art class. My vision is to form new artists and painters to make this country shine more brightly.

What do you aspire to do in the future?

My aspiration for the future is to have a career in the arts and to be an artist. To continue teaching what I know so that more children like me, art lovers, can and have the opportunity to enter this beautiful profession.

Part of my aspiration is to become a teacher in art at CEDAL. I want to teach and train the children to be artists and express themselves through art. I want to provide them with a foundation that I did not receive.

Part of our mission is to provide opportunities to students past and present. As a foundation, we will support Alfredo by exposing his work and making it accessible to all for purchase. Therefore, he can look to continue his education in the area he is passionate about. We have many projects with Alfredo that we will share with you over the next couple of months. Alfredo's story is one of many that stop higher education for various reasons, with distance and cost being the most prominent obstacles for students to continue their educational development. Thank you for taking the time to get to know Alfredo, and stay tuned for projects to come. Remember that your generosity allows us to impact lives.

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