Creativity and talent is everywhere you look in Shelby County. The Shelby County Arts Council is happy to introduce artist Chris Cruz, who has made it her mission to show students the joy that art has brought to her life. Cruz’s passion for painting is something that cannot be contained, and this spring, the SCAC welcomes her talents for two brand new painting workshops.

Cruz discovered she had a knack for painting over 30 years ago when she decided to take a painting class from a local studio. It was a way to flex her creative muscles after being a stay-at-home mom all day. Since that first class she has been hooked on the art form.

“I had a really good teacher who allowed me to experiment with my style,” she says. “Not being too critical, but encouraging helped me loosen up.”

These days, Cruz works to teach those same fundamentals to her own students and help them feel empowered to find their own style. “My students tell me the best gift I give them is creating confidence and truly have them believe that if they have just a little faith they can also get lost in the world of art and grow as a person.”

It’s not always about creating a beautiful work of art for Cruz; it’s about the human connection as well.

“I find art goes beyond the image on the canvas or paper,” she says. “When people create any kind of art together, it creates a bond. You can have total strangers in a painting room and they become friends for life.”

Cruz constantly works to encourage her students to loosen up and let their creativity flow.

Cruz’s own work consists mostly of acrylics and watercolors while incorporating found objects and mixed media into each piece. Her pieces spring to life with vivid color and lots of textures.

“I feel I have been given a gift to be creative and it is my duty and pleasure to ‘pay it forward’ and introduce the world to a medium that can put a smile on people’s faces,” Cruz says. “It is great to know you can make the world a better and more positive place.”

Join us at the Shelby County Arts Council for one of Cruz’s fun and creative upcoming workshops. Abstract Mixed Media will be Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Watercolor Mixed Media will be Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost for these workshops is $125 each, and all supplies are provided. To register for these workshops or for information on other SCAC happenings, visit or call (205) 669-0044.