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The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio-- Cory Ruiz

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This article features mature content, which can be potential trigger warnings.

Meet Heartside artist Cory Ruiz as he tells us about his struggles and new directions.
Cory next to his new works in the studio

Cory next to his new works in the studio /Heartside Gallery and Studio

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About this profile


The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio is a monthly feature to highlight some of the wonderful people of the Heartside neighborhood.  Visit and Facebook to keep up with us, to learn about volunteering and other ways to get involved.

Sarah Scott is Arts Coordinator for Heartside Gallery and Studio at Heartside Ministry, and can be reached at [email protected]

Flower blocks made from reclaimed wood.

Flower blocks made from reclaimed wood. /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Spring flowers by Cory Ruiz

Spring flowers by Cory Ruiz /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Our featured artist for May is Cory Ruiz.  Here is the artist’s story in his own words. 


"When I was a baby, my mom left me at the hospital. Growing up my life was so hard, going from foster home to foster home—I was in a total of 32 of them. I have been adopted twice, and rejected both times. I was so confused that nobody really cared for me. My school years were so tough, and I went through Special Ed. I had severe depression and was suicidal for a while because of all of the pain inside of me from being mocked all of those years. People always called me retarded and stupid, and I am still dealing with all of this hurt today. 

Over time I turned to drugs and booze to try and kill the pain that I was going through. But that did not work at all and I was really lost in my life with nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide. I decided to go to a men’s recovery program in 2009, and I graduated a year later. After some time I even got my own place! But a year later I started hanging out with the wrong crowd again, and started drinking and smoking crack pretty much every day. I stopped going to church because I had let other things control my life. 

A friend of mine told me about the art studio at Heartside, and so I started to draw and paint. I hadn’t drawn since I was 9 years old, and it felt great to make things again! When I came in the studio, it made me feel really warm, like a big happy family. People would say ‘nice work!’ and it made me feel so good! My self-esteem improved and I started to look at the rest of my life. Now I am 5 ½ months sober and I am going to AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings once a week. 

I’m getting to where I need to go, but there are still so many struggles in my life. It’s pretty sad that sometimes I feel like I can’t trust myself and I sure as hell feel like I can’t trust other people either. Right now I am dealing with depression and trust issues. But I am going to church every Sunday and started reading the Bible again. The major holidays are really hard for me to deal with, because I still wish I knew my real parents. I always picture my life as me coming home and telling them that I love them and telling them about the day that I had. It’s hard for me to sleep at night because of all of these things going on. I have so many questions for my family—about why they left me, why they didn’t care about me. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have confidence in myself, and at times I haven’t cared if I lived or if I died.

But right now I finally have God in my life again. I have art on the wall at the studio now, and have sold four pieces already. It feels so good to sell my work, and makes me feel like I have talent and gives me the confidence I have been needing. I feel like I can actually call myself an artist now! I am also just started going to college at GRCC to be a Substance Abuse counselor. For the future I’d like to find a girlfriend and get married, and be a counselor so that I can help others who struggled with the stuff I went through."


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