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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Janet Cruz

Janet CruzJanet Cruz grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended The University of Pittsburgh where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Fine Art History.  She made the move across the country to earn her MFA at New Mexico State University.  She has been a part of the Nashville and Franklin, TN art community since moving here in 1997. Her teaching and studio experience includes maintaining her own portfolio of work, developing and chairing the fine arts program for O’More College of Design from 1998-2012, teaching  2 and 3 dimensional foundation fine art courses, teaching community education classes in Franklin and at Cheekwood in Nashville,  gallery exhibition curating and installation oversight,  jurying local and regional exhibits,  guest speakerships for local groups, and teaching art history abroad in Eastern Europe.   Her artwork has always been firmly rooted in painting and drawing, however she has had extensive experience in printmaking (etching, monotype, and lithography) and sculpture including a studio assistantship with Nashville sculptor Alan LeQuire.  Given this experience with multiple media, her painted work often employs collage and sculptural elements.   Her interest in and love of art history drives much of her teaching philosophy.  She is passionate about engaging her students and her family in the rich and interesting history of human creativity.

“I believe that one of the most valuable things that an instructor should do is continually research their field and investigate new ways of thinking about things and then use those new discoveries to evolve their teaching methods.  For me this comes from continual in depth study of art and connections from one art period to another.  For example we become much more knowledgeable about Cezanne when we research the artists like Pissarro who influenced him.  In that way all of art becomes connected, we consider possibilities we never would have otherwise,  and we can connect the art we love to our own work.  Welcoming relationships with people from different backgrounds and learning about their interests is also very important for me as an instructor.  Discovering who people are is a vital step toward providing them with new ways to think about art or to advance their own studio skills.  I find it incredibly rewarding and exciting as a teacher  to see  a studio art student make new discoveries about their skills,   or a non-art major find out that they actually are quite able to understand art,  and even possess artistic talent of their own .”