Reuben Carranza and Jim Hoffbauer both grew up with the arts.
Carranza taught himself to play the guitar, played in a mariachi group, before coming to the University of Arizona, where he became student body president. Out in the real world, he created a successful career in the beauty business. He spent 23 years at Procter & Gamble before leading various beauty brands, including Kate Somerville. He recently accepted a new position as Group CEO for amika/Eva NYC.
Carranza’s husband, Jim Hoffbauer is an investment trader. He grew up with a love for both opera and visual arts. Both are first generation college students and know the meaningfulness of music and the arts in their lives. They believe in the value of supporting not only the arts, but underrepresented, marginalized students.
“We believe that art and music are universal languages – an education isn’t complete without access to the arts. It opens minds.”
They want to make an impact with their philanthropy.
That’s why they made a gift to the Dean’s Fund for Excellence and that gift was used to support the newly launched Arizona Arts student-driven equity initiative, the JustArtsFellows, as well as the Medici Scholars program that directly impact students, allowing them to explore educational opportunities in the summer.
“Reuben and Jim’s generous gift helps to increase student engagement in meaningful arts experiences, and it honors student artists as leaders in helping make the arts more accessible and inclusive,” said Amy Kraehe, associate vice president for equity in the arts.
“The reality is that there is great disparity in the opportunities available for arts education before students get to college. Once in college, the pathways and resources available to support arts participation are often limited. With Reuben and Jim’s support, the JustArts Fellowship takes steps to right that injustice. The fellowship empowers students to use the art forms they love to educate, inspire, and connect.”
Donor Impact Stories
Q&A with Reuben Carranza and Jim Hoffbauer
Reuben, what drew you to mariachi music?
I grew up watching my dad play guitar and listening to Mariachi music along with a multitude of other genres.
How did you teach yourself to play? What did you play?
I learned the guitar and violin by ear but learned to read music in band playing the trumpet.
What benefits did you derived from your musical experience/education?
I learned how to carry myself in front of an audience, how to speak publicly, how to read a room and hold attention – all skills that have helped me professionally.
Jim, how did you get into opera?
My fifth-grade teacher, Sister Maura, took us to the opera – La Traviata. I was mesmerized.
What type of art do you two collect?
We have collected pieces over the last two decades where we have met the artist, been inspired by their vision and felt a connection. We are drawn to mixed media, photography and sculpture.
Why do you support Arizona Arts / College of Fine Arts and the Arts Master Plan?
We believe that art and music are universal languages – an education isn’t complete without access to the arts. It opens minds.
What do you think of the Arizona Arts efforts around equity?
Equity enables access and learning. These are guiding principles for us, so we love it.
Carranza and Hoffbauer had an opportunity to meet the JustArts Fellows via zoom and now this inaugural cohort will present their projects at the JustArts Fellows Public Presentation and Celebration on March 23, 6-8p, at the Stevie Eller Dance Theatre.
“The future of arts is bright with leadership, vision, passion and opportunities,” they said after meeting the students. “The University community is fortunate to have these amazing leaders.”
Fellow Carlos Garcia Ramirez shared what he learned from Reuben and Jim’s story: “Never give up. If the first door does not open, continue knocking on more.”
The inaugural cohort includes:
- Dylan Crites, School of Theatre, Film & Television
- Carlos Garcia Ramirez, Fred Fox School of Music
- Dorthea Stephenson, Fred Fox School of Music
- Arianna Aquino, School of Dance
- Joshua Barbre, Fred Fox School of Music
“Often times, the voices that have the most interesting stories are the ones that are actively or passively silenced. Support for this work allows for people to be heard but also allows for systemic structures to see changes that need to occur in order to support inclusivity.” – Joshua Barbre
“People should consider funding the arts and artists/scholars of the global majority because of the wealth of experiences and unique perspectives they have to share in innovative ways. Art has the power to touch souls, move people, and cause change. By supporting artists, people can be a part of the work that can cause positive social change worldwide.
“For the Celebration, I am excited for people to hear what we have been doing in our School of Dance Gatherings to create a supportive and inclusive community. In addition, a few of the dancers who attended them, aided in planning and leading them, will share their experiences, their impact on them and their experience here at Arizona as dancers and leaders. – Arianna Aquino
“I think this program is an example of how effective trusting a community to take care of itself can be. That resources, time, and trust can go a long way in improving people’s experiences.” – Dylan Crites
“Their support is important because they are people that understand the issues of our community, they know how to create more impact in the society, therefore have more people to support our initiatives. Behind the financial support, they pass our social philosophy to more people to get involved in our initiatives. Art is the medicine to repair our social tissue, it is the best way to give humans the time to express themselves, build community and improve our society.” – Carlos Garcia Ramirez
“I was on the call with them! It was such a privilege to be on the call with them, and I was so excited to be able to present my journey thus far. They were so friendly and amicable, and so excited to hear about all the work we have been putting into the JustArts Fellowship. Their generosity has left me feeling incredibly inspired and grateful to be a part of CFA.” — Dorthea Stephenson