Zena Ruiz

Community Pollinator // Teaching Artist // Council Member

Zena is a mother, artist, and community pollinator living in the Pittsburgh area with roots in Houston, Texas. Zena’s craft is drawing, printmaking, and sculptural installation as a means to process their life. Place is very important in Zena’s works. Their Mexican-American experience of culture, family traditions, and rituals vibrantly appear in Zena’s works as rememberings and prayers woven together with Pittsburgh environments and people. Their process includes deep listening, earth tending, asking for guidance, and just practicing life, because Life is a Practice.  

Outside of Zena’s studio practice is where the magical drive of BEING and LONGING TO BE manifests, as a mother, mentor and council person, in community. Through program design and implementation, Zena loves creating experiences for and with others. Among Zena’s gifts is being a community pollinator, a practice Zena has learned through joy and sorrow and is ever so gentle. This cross pollination practice is essential to their community practice which combines deep listening, curious questioning, generating collectively inspired visions, and doing the cha-cha slide while working together with bubbles in the background.