About/Bio

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Trinidad Ruiz is a Chicano, avid cyclist, visual artist, community organizer, educator, programmer, and collaborator working at the intersection of creativity, community building and tenant activism. He is currently Director of Sustainability & Storytelling for People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER), a social justice organization that develops future leaders and fights to make housing a human right, a livable wage, and a clean environment, among other issues. He is also Communications Manager at Side Street Project, a completely mobile arts organization that delivers arts resources directly to diverse and underserved communities and schools with programs that weave together problem-solving, creativity and skill sharing. For his third act, he also currently serves as Project Manager for the Love House, a project that brings together artist Alexandra Grant, Architect Jason Robinson of Paars Design & Build, design firm Arktura and homeowner Moneik Johnson to collectively imagine a work of art on the Johnson’s home that will serve both practical needs and expressive element for the family. The Johnson home is located directly across the street from the Watts Towers.  Trinidad was previously Programs Director at Watts House Project where he managed programs and projects that re-interpreted the ecology in Watts to benefit community through partnerships between creative professionals and residents.  Prior to joining Watts House Project, he served as Public Programs Coordinator at Otis College of Art & Design where he collaborated with Department Chairs and Communications to brand and launch Otis Speaks: a series of lectures, readings, performances, screenings, discussions, and exhibitions. He also served as Education Assistant at the UCLA Hammer Museum where he received top-notch programs training under James Bewley, Director of Education and Public Programs.  In total, Trinidad organized over 250 programs.  He has had several exhibitions in Los Angeles and he continues to make work. Trinidad received a BA in Art History and a Minor in Chicano/a Studies from UCLA, as well as an AA in Studio Art.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

People Organized for Westside Renewal (POWER) Los Angeles, CA
July 2015 – Current
Director of Storytelling & Sustainability

Built and managed a robust fundraising apparatus for POWER, including the management of communications, a new website, redesigned print material, and increased social media footprint. I secured an online database to house and grow our donor base, created a matrix for managing donor cultivation, and developed a plan to increase donor giving. By reaching more diverse audiences I increased fundraising by 300% (from $8000 to $28,000) in my first year and 100% (from $28,000 to $60,000) in my second year. As Solidarity Caseworker and Organizer, I worked directly with tenants on issues with public housing in Mar Vista Gardens and was the lead organizer, in partnership with Keep Neighborhoods First, at the Ellison Building in Venice.

Side Street Project
August 2018 –
Current
Communications Manager

Description coming soon…


The grantLOVE Project
February 2015 – Current
Fulcrum Arts (formerly Pasadena Arts Council)
Project Manager, EMERGE Project: Love House

Oversaw a collaboration that brought together architects, artist Alexandra Grant, designers, and a homeowner to realize a public/private art project called the Love House. As manager of the collaboration, I helped reconcile creative input from the collaborators, ensured that the scope of work was within budget, and navigated and codified a complex public/private project that encompassed issues of design, architecture, insurance, and questions regarding trademark and ownership. I worked with Fulcrum Arts, the fiscal sponsor, to ensure that all aspects of the project were compliant with IRS laws and regulations.  Current designs are set for completion in 2018.

Watts House Project, Los Angeles, CA
June 2009 – January 2015
Programs Director

Directed a unique project that focused on community revitalization through a partnership between artists and residents called the Virtual Redevelopment Project.  Project managed the redesign of the new website in 2011.  Developed public and community programming used to leverage nearly $400,000 in grant funding. Cultivated dozens of partnerships, including USC, LACMA, Otis College, Office of Community Beautification for Los Angeles, Markham Middle School, Architecture for Humanity, SWA Architecture, United States Artists, and Imani Energy to name a few. By growing institutional partnerships, I increased capacity and helped bring more resources to the community around the Watts Towers.

Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA
January 2007 – June 2009
Public Programs Coordinator

Developed, managed, and implemented public programs in partnership with Department Chairs.  Worked closely with the Communications Department to create compelling brand and logo design for printed and online media of Otis Speaks series.  Cultivated partnerships with institutions such as the Fellows of Contemporary Art, The Skirball Cultural Center, The Jewish Federation, Hammer Museum, MOCA, KCET, and Santa Monica Museum of Art among others.  Created and maintained a centralized calendar for scheduling and coordinating an intense event schedule.  Managed a 12-week artist residency as part of a yearly gift from the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation, including locating appropriate housing, supplies, work/studio space and transportation.

UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA
September 2004 – December 2006
Education Assistant

Coordinated nearly 200 public programs with a regular attendance of over 300 people, and as many 4,000.  Managed, trained, and supervised dozens of educators and volunteers, and developed a council of UCLA students to increase Museum visibility and presence on the UCLA campus.  Served as liaison to visiting artists, writers, performers, professors, actors and other talent. Supervised and developed art projects for outreach group Angel’s Flight, a place for homeless and runaway teens. Developed and provided tours of exhibitions to diverse audiences.

ADDITIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

LOS ANGELES TENANTS UNION
VyBe Local (Vermont y Beverly), Co-founder
December 2015 – Current
Organizer

The LA Tenants Union is a diverse, tenant-led movement fighting for the human right to housing for all. We demand safe, affordable housing and universal rent control. We organize against landlord harassment, mass evictions, and displacement. We mobilize for the repeal of the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins Act. LATU’s mission is to strengthen tenants’ political power through education, advocacy, and direct action.

As an organizer, I helped co-found a local called VyBe for the areas of Echo Park, Silverlake, Los Feliz, Koreatown, East Hollywood, Historic Filipinotown, and Westlake. I led tenants’ rights workshops, outreach, ran campaigns, drafted press releases, engaged local government to fix housing issues, press spokesman, and helped develop community leaders.

EDUCATION

University of California, Los Angeles
Bachelor of Arts in Art History, Minor in Chicano/a Studies, June 2004

 Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa
Associate of Arts in Studio Art,  June 1999

AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS

AIA Merit Award, Next LA Category, Villegas house (2013)
The winning designs for the Villegas house were submitted by the Bureau for Architecture and Design, one of two partners I selected, hired and collaborated with to development the designs for a new front bench at the Villegas house.

Grantsmanship Center, Grantsmanship Fellow (2012)
The Granstmanship Center was founded in 1972 by Norton J. Kiritz to offer training to nonprofit and government agencies. I participated in a week-long program at the Center to strategize and develop programs, and write cogent and compelling grant proposals.

Rockwood Leadership Institute, Arts & Culture Fellowship (2012)
Founded in 2000, nationally recognized Rockwood Leadership Institute specializes in delivering the best practices and methodologies in leadership development.  I am one of only 4,500 leaders invited from thousands of organizations in the US and around the world over the past 14 years to participate in an intensive two week retreat and training called the Art of Leadership.

PRESENTATIONS, PANEL DISCUSSIONS

Housing Rights and Panel Presentation, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles, CA, October 2, 2018

Homelessness – a conversation determined by you, KPCC, Los Angeles, September 6, 2018

Guidebook to Alternative Nows, panel discussion, The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, June 28, 2012

Artist-driven Development, City Share Lecture Series, Glass House Collective, Chattanooga, Tennessee, May 9, 2012

EXHIBITIONS

Group Exhibitions:

June 2013
Forêt Intérieure/Interior Forest, 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica

June 2011
Debating Through the Arts: Exhibition and Performance 3, 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica

May 2011
A New Day – Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Fundraiser, Bellrock Media, Inc., Santa Monica

December 2010
I Have a Light, Collaborative projectS1F Gallery, Los Angeles