Teaching through creativity: Clark welcomes a new art teacher

Ruby Vartan is one of the new additions to the Clark staff, and she currently teaches Art.

Before moving to the US in 2008, Vartan studied at Lebanon’s Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts where she specialized in Fine Arts and received her Master’s Degree. She said that she found refuge in her art while living through regional and civil wars in her birthplace of Lebanon. She first took interest in art at the age of seven. 

“Art is everything,” she said. “I live for art. I live to express myself every day through art. When I look at the future—when I look at tomorrow—I see myself and art.”

Vartan started teaching private art classes eight years ago to provide for her family. She also taught at a private elementary school for five years. Now at Clark, she hopes to teach students about the importance of self-expression through art. 

“No matter what age we are, we have to express our emotions. Whether it’s sadness, joy, pain or pleasure, there’s something that needs to be let out,” Vartan said. “I want to teach my students that it’s not all about technique. It’s about being able to express themselves.”

Students started the year with the “My Name Project,” in which they illustrated the letters of their names to portray the meaning behind them. Vartan always has new projects for her class to work on.

“The name project was really creative,” said Nicole Ordubegian, a senior currently taking Art 1-2. “I never know what to expect when I go to class, but the projects are always fun and different.” Senior Leslie Cruz also enjoys this aspect of art class. “I like that we’re allowed to choose the themes and objects in our projects because it helps us be more creative and expressive,” she said. 

Vartan also makes sure to teach students about the history of art. She says that art is an important part of history and it will also be important in the future.

“It’s interesting to learn about where different art styles come from and how they’re still present in art today,” Ordubegian said. “We had a really cool project about optical illusions, and we learned about Victor Vasarely who began the art movement. It was fun to imitate the style while also adding our own twist to it.”

Vartan said she’s had a good experience at Clark so far, and she looks forward to teaching her students about the universal language of art. 

Outside of teaching, Vartan does her best to stay consistent with her own art projects. Since 1995 she’s participated in several exhibitions to showcase her work. 

“I work on my art as much as I can,” she said. “Besides being a mother to twin teens, art occupies my mind, heart and soul.”