Soledad Gutiérrez began her career with SYA Spain in 1998, when the campus opened in Zaragoza. Sole began as the administrative assistant and in 2002 began teaching art history and contemporary art. She also serves as the host family coordinator and student support coordinator. She has a master’s in art history and post-grad in cultural management from the University of Barcelona. Her experience in the professional art world includes organizing exhibits for contemporary artists.
Zaragoza is the perfect place to delve into art history and contemporary art, and Sole brings her passion and experience to the classroom and beyond. Being able to explore locally as well as traveling to other Spanish cities like Barcelona and Madrid, or to Paris, provides an opportunity to discover new aspects and nuances, helping to understand the complexity of human nature.
SYA Spain Art History faculty and
Host Family and Student Support Coordinator
How did you learn of SYA and what made you want to work at an American high school?
I was working in museums, but they were not very stable jobs. Then, I found out, through a friend from Barcelona, that SYA was moving from Barcelona to Zaragoza and I decided to apply. Despite having studied art history, I first worked as a secretary at SYA Spain and became the art history teacher after Inés Trías finished her tenure at SYA.
I have always been passionate about traveling and learning about different cultures. Being able to share and show my culture to others is something very gratifying, as well as an opportunity to teach and also never stop learning.
What has been most rewarding about teaching at SYA?
More than sharing knowledge, which is also undoubtedly important, the most significant thing is to teach values and attitudes. To be able to contribute to shaping our students minds in ways that are different and diverse, without stigma, is a wealth of opportunity. Teach everyone in the world to coexist. All of this is essential in an experience like SYA.
What attracts you to art and how do you share this passion with students?
Art is a reflection of human aspects that go far beyond the plastic or aesthetic. It tells us a lot about a historical moment or a certain vital state or attitude. It has provided me with tools to better understand the world and to understand myself better as a person. In addition, it has opened the doors to a passion for me and, I think, having a passion in life is a privilege.
It is very gratifying to see the astonished and fascinated faces of the students when they enter the Sagrada Familia after having studied Gaudí in class. It is also a joy to receive the photos of the students when, after many years, they still remember what you have taught them in the museums and take a photo next to the work.
What do you hope for this generation of students?
I would like them never to forget that what is different and diverse is a wealth and a right and not a stigma. I would like them to never stop empathizing and respecting the other and never lose the illusion of improving their lives and that of others.
If you could ask any historical figure anything, who and what would you ask?
I would like to know what Goya felt every morning when he got up in his house, the Quinta del Sordo, and had breakfast surrounded by his famous Black Paintings.
Where's your favorite place you've traveled to, and why?
London. I was studying there for a few months. I was young, energetic. It was demanding physically, but was much more personal. It opened my mind to the different and made me get out of my comfort zone. I learned that difficulties are part of growth and taught me that sharing and being interested in the other is an attitude and authentic learning much more than books.