Part 2: The Deception of R. Bret Ruiz, President of the
I’ve been scrutinizing R. Bret Ruiz for the last three weeks. In that time, I’ve discovered that he inflated his resume, lying about the date of graduation to presume curatorial experience he doesn’t have.
I’ve also learned that he couldn’t get his own American Express card for
And a former Board President of the Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico in Dallas, his former boss - warned the Guadalupe Board Chairman, Juan Aguilera, that R. Bret Ruiz was the “worst executive director we’ve ever had.”
Wait. While Ruiz was Executive Director of the Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico, he worked evenings at a Mexican restaurant.
And yes, I have the papers and sources to prove all this.
Mauricio Navarro, former Board President of the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico in
I found Navarro from confidential sources I tracked down in
Navarro called the
Navarro is the president of his own public relations firm, RAIZ PR, and he sits on many community boards throughout DFW. He became Board President of the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico, Inc. (Anita Martinez for short) in 2001, when R. Bret Ruiz was being considered for the Executive Director position.
And he resigned from the Anita Martinez board in disgust some time later because of what he saw R. Bret Ruiz accomplish.
“It’s exaggerated.” The first thing he remembers about Ruiz’s resume is the way that the Anita Martinez Board was wowed by the stunning credentials Ruiz brought to the table. Ruiz has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at
And while Ruiz does in fact have those degrees, his resume is inflated and deceptive. I’ve verified that Ruiz actually graduated with a M.A. in Art History – his thesis is in architectural history – campus planning - in 1986-87 instead of the 1982 date indicated on his resume. Based on what I understand that’s important for cultural leadership, I suspect that Ruiz attempted to bolster a history of museum curatorial experience that he does not have. And there is a disturbing discrepancy in the dates of employment.
On his resume, he states that he was at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1983-85. And he also records that he was at the National Gallery of Art in
Artists/curators know that it is unlikely for a person without advanced credentials to do curatorial work, especially in prestigious institutions.
Calls made to the Chicago Institute of Art revealed that Ruiz was a research assistant in the Museum’s library. Punto.
Dolores Zapata Murff (
On his employment application that I obtained from confidential sources, Ruiz lists five references – none of whom are Anita Martinez boardmembers, museum curators, or even the founder herself, Anita Martinez. And, as I’ve mentioned, his references are also Anglo, a curious homogeneity when applying to the nation’s oldest and most prominent latino cultural center.
In today’s nonprofit climate, it is Ruiz’s combination of business schooling and artistic training – however false - that help him stand out. Yet the Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico and the Guadalupe vary widely in their complexity and mission: The ANM’s $200,000 budget is not even one-fourth of the Guadalupe’s annual 1.5 million dollar budget. The Anita Martinez mission is a mainstream one. It exists to supply DFW with folklorico dance, and fee-based dance instruction.
The Guadalupe’s mission is inherently socio-political. Its mission is “preserve, develop, present and promote the arts and culture of the Chicano/Latino/Indigenous peoples.”
I reviewed the two resumes, submitted a year apart by Ruiz to the
On one resume that he presented to the Guadalupe, Ruiz stated that he raised $500,000 in two years while at Anita N. Martinez, eliminating an $80,000 deficit.
Navarro laughed at this description when he saw the resume. Ruiz took credit for the yearly grants that the City of
Since the arrival of Ruiz last August, at least seven staffmembers have left because of contract terminations, firings, or resignations. They include: Irma Mayorga, Ph.D, who was the Art Gallery and Literature Director; Leroy Martinez, the Director of Operations; José Garza, a Development Officer; Mary Jessie Garza, the Interim Executive Director and Arts Education Director; Nicole Enriquez, Education staff; Irma Carolina Rubio, Education staff; and Terry Soliz, Receptionist. Dolores Zapata Murff, Manager of Public Relations and Marketing is currently on administrative leave and has filed a grievance complaint against the
These departures leave the Guadalupe with only two artistic directors: Belinda Menchaca, Dance; and Marisela Barrera, Theatre Arts. There are no directors to manage the visual arts, cinema, literature, and most critically - the nationally-recognized Conjunto Festival.
But then, the Conjunto Festival is attended by many rasquaches like me, and Ruiz doesn't like those people.