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Young Artist Leaves Mark with Mural


When senior Kibsaim “Kibsy” Ruiz Salva paints, she relaxes. That’s an important outlet for someone who is already working toward becoming a doctor.

Kibsy is beginning her studies to become a neurosurgeon by attending the Kent Career Tech Center’s Health Early College Academy, but the talented student is leaving her mark at school through art.

Kibsy painted a mural titled “Time and History” in the school hallway — which showcases how literature can help people step back in time — by depicting a woman reading to a child on a park bench on one side and a gathering of people in dress from bygone eras on the other.

Kibsaim “Kibsy” Ruiz Salva’s painting won second place in the Hope Restored Empowerment Center 2016 Soul Food Eat and Greet Excellent Art Award contest
Kibsaim “Kibsy” Ruiz Salva’s painting won second place in the Hope Restored Empowerment Center 2016 Soul Food Eat and Greet Excellent Art Award contest

She also created a painting of a boy and his mother reading about civil rights activist, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., which received second place in the Hope Restored Empowerment Center 2016 Soul Food Eat and Greet Excellent Art contest. The center is a non-profit located in Wyoming.

“Martin Luther King is an icon. He had a dream and he wanted to see people together,” she said of the inspiration for her piece.

Kibsy began studying art as a 9-year-old at a specialty school in Durango, Mexico, after her parents, Daniel Ruiz and Juanita Salva, realized she had the ability to draw what she saw. She said her artistic ability is a gift from God that gives her peace.

“My inspirations come from my past and family, as they define my culture, my daily life, and my passion for art,” she said.

After immigrating to the United States at age 11, Kibsy continued her art, impressing those like Wyoming High School art teacher Robyn Gransow Higley.

“Kibsy’s artwork is powerful, from inception to product,” Higley said. “Full of emotion, her artwork invites viewers to engage and reflect upon meaningful figures, eras and experiences. Kibsy’s passion for learning is inspirational and exciting.”

Kibsy had to choose between art and attending the Tech Center this year, but Higley encouraged her to continue art outside of class to continue creating.

While painting is a stress reliever and outlet, Kibsy finds it an important means of expression too.

“I want to influence people and make an impact in their lives,” she said. “Art is the most convenient form of message. In an image, people can think of many things.”

Kibsy plans attend Grand Rapids Community College and then a four-year university to major in biomedical engineering before attending medical school.

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Kibsy painted “Time and History,” a mural for Wyoming High School

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

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