Alexis Ramos returns to campus as an art faculty member

South Texas college art students can expect to step right into the spirit of the border region, according to new assistant professor of art Alexis Ramos. Image courtesy of STC
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Texas Border Business

McALLEN, Texas South Texas college art students can expect to step right into the spirit of the border region, according to new assistant professor of art Alexis Ramos.

Well known in the Valley art community as an acclaimed ceramist and curator, Ramos will now begin teaching art appreciation and art history to students with a local flavor.

Her teaching will not only reflect her own work, which is steeped in folk remedies and traditions important to the Rio Grande Valley, but will also represent Hispanic culture through color, texture, and especially food.

“The beautiful part about the College of South Texas, and what I enjoyed about being a student here, was that I could feel the hand of my professors in their content the same way I can tell the difference between my grandmother’s potato salad and my tia’s salad,” Ramos said. “Every teacher has some freedom to include and engage their students from their ethnocentric perspective, and that’s really important to teaching.”

She added: “Technology is growing. Culture is growing. The language is growing. And I believe our content should be as well.”

A native of Weslaco, Ramos said she began her education as an STC culinary arts student at the Mid-Valley campus in Weslaco in 2009, which set the stage for her future work in the arts, particularly ceramics.

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Ramos said years spent studying culinary arts have allowed her to fuse traditional cake decorating techniques with ceramic sculptures to create realistic-looking treats and food products. However, her focus changed when she took an art appreciation course with current Associate Professor of Art Rachel Brown.

The course “broke her brain,” according to Ramos, and it will be the same course she returns to teach in 2022.

“The one thing about art appreciation is that you have to break their (students’) brains. It’s their first exposure, they’re often not majors, and it’s often their first experience with art,” Ramos said. “You teach them how to look at the world through this alternative lens … and that stayed with me. The teachers I had here became such a great family that I knew I wanted to start teaching. It was never something that wasn’t going to happen.

Ramos would eventually receive her Associates Degree from STC in Art in 2013. She then received her Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in 3D and Materials from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and finally her Master of Fine Arts (MFA) at Studio 3D, 2D and art history certificate also from UTRGV.

Her PhD exhibition “Recetas, Remedios, y Raíces” was highly praised as it sought to explore the connections of local culture with food, religion, folk medicine and cuisine. curanderas who pass on the traditions.

“I have always been attracted to art. It started in the kitchen. Cooking is chemistry. There’s a saying in the culinary world that “you can teach an artist to bake, but you can’t teach a baker to be an artist,” she said. “Art is something innate and it’s all about passion and drive and wanting to create, and it was kind of like that for me from a researcher’s point of view.”

Ramos said her passion for education and art came together during her first job at STC’s Mid-Valley campus, where she assisted the library by organizing the various art exhibits that professors would require for graduate courses. .

She then worked in the college laboratory where she trained students in the proper use of laboratory materials and equipment such as compound saws.

While pursuing her master’s degree from UTRGV, Ramos said she worked as the lead technician at the gallery, organizing the various exhibitions as well as helping art education students in an exhibition capacity by showing them how to show their work.

She previously curated the 2021 City of Edinburg Women’s Art Exhibition, which was held to highlight the work of women artists from the Rio Grande Valley.

“I love the learning process. I can cast metal. I know more about a carpentry shop than the people who work at Home Depot. My experience initially started with the food and the observation and the process, and that continues to this day,” Ramos said. “I think it’s really important to show students that anything is possible, and when they arrive in my class, they’re going to learn a lot of different things from a lot of different perspectives.”

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