Jury Spotlight: An Interview with Cindy Lisica


stARTup Art Fair brings a unique contemporary art experience in a boutique hotel setting to Houston for the first time. Our six member Selection Committee has ensured that this inaugural fair is fresh and unique, with exciting emerging and mid-career artists from Houston, San Francisco, New York, and across the Midwest. Advance tickets are available now.

As October 11 draws ever closer, we talked to one of our jurors Cindy Lisica, Owner and Director of Cindy Lisica Gallery in Houston, about what currently inspires her, favorite past shows, and what the future brings for her gallery.

We know you have a Ph.D in art history, how did you come to open an art gallery?

Even before I went to grad school, I knew I wanted to open an art gallery. My first gallery was in Pittsburgh, PA, my (and Andy Warhol's) hometown. But, to answer your question in the larger sense, it is all about curating. One of the reasons to open an art gallery was to work more directly with living artists. I also worked in museums for several years, but operating a gallery is a whole new (fast) pace. Rather than seeing a show happen 2-3 years after conception, I was able to make things happen more quickly. Galleries have historically been the first place to host an artist's solo show, and the artist-gallerists relationship is paramount. A gallerist understands and values the artist's work. That is very important for an artist's career. A good gallery prepares the artists for bigger and better things and continued growth and success in the future through knowledge, networking and support. Contemporary artists of today are the future of art history tomorrow.

Dream Voyagers  (2018)   with artists Javier Valle Perez (Nicaragua) and Angel Oloshove (Houston)

Dream Voyagers (2018) with artists Javier Valle Perez (Nicaragua) and Angel Oloshove (Houston)

What type of artists do you show?

I have shown a range of artists from different places, and I tend to switch it up between mediums, too. Because of my connections from places I've lived, I've carried those relationships over into the gallery, too. The gallery has exhibited artists from Pittsburgh to Prague, New York to LA, and Tokyo to Texas.

Touchstones  (2018) with Jae Ko, Atticus Adams, and Rachel Fischer

Touchstones (2018) with Jae Ko, Atticus Adams, and Rachel Fischer

Is there a favorite or particularly memorable exhibition you've shown in your space?

I love all of the artists and shows for different reasons, but some of the group shows have been particularly fulfilling as a curator, also because they put artists who have never met alongside one another in the same show. This creates new relationships and dialogues between the artwork and the artists themselves. Notable thematic group shows are "Touchstones" (2018) with Jae Ko, Atticus Adams, and Rachel Fischer, "Dream Voyagers" (2018) with Javier Valle Perez and Angel Oloshove, and "Natural Flexibility" (2017) with Felipe Lopez, Sarika Goulatia, Shang-Yi Hua, and Anthony Suber. I suppose that it's probably not coincidental that these were sculpture shows, and I do have a special place in my heart for sculpture (that was my major in undergrad, when I was myself a practicing visual artist).

Natural Flexibility  (2017) with Felipe Lopez, Sarika Goulatia, Shang-Yi Hua, and Anthony Suber

Natural Flexibility (2017) with Felipe Lopez, Sarika Goulatia, Shang-Yi Hua, and Anthony Suber

What does the future hold for Cindy Lisica Gallery?

This is a very exciting question at the moment, as I've just made a big announcement about that. I have recently accepted a new position as Professor of Art History at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), starting this fall. I am delighted to open a new chapter in my professional and academic career at a world-class art school with international connections in the historic and inspiring city of Savannah, GA. In addition to the main hub of the 40-year-old institution in Savannah, SCAD has campuses in Atlanta, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France. Although the physical gallery space in Houston will close, the network and momentum it created will live on through the artists, guest-curated exhibitions, art fairs, consulting, and a robust online presence. People can still follow the gallery website and mailing list to see what's in store for this new iteration.

From  Diane Burko (solo exhibition)

From Diane Burko (solo exhibition)

And finally, what inspires you currently?

My students inspire me! Young creatives are showing us the way. My job is to fill them with knowledge of the past, to connect them with current and future opportunities, and to share my passion every day.


All stARTup artists are vetted by an independent jury for each fair to ensure that art collectors, enthusiasts, and professionals are discovering and purchasing works from today's top independent artists in the market.

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Q&A by Fair Director Ray Beldner and Content Curator Mica England

InterviewMica EnglandHouston