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Art curator Miki Garcia lectures at MFAH

Renowned contemporary art curator Miki Garcia is revisiting her Texan roots for a special Artadia Art & Dialogue lecture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Glassell School on Wednesday, Oct 21. Garcia, the Executive Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Santa Barbara, will share the process of establishing a curatorial program as well as discuss new developments in contemporary art.

Before establishing herself in the modern arts scene, Garcia studied art history at Vassar College during her undergraduate years and followed with a stint at University of Texas Austin to receive her master’s degree. Although her work is focused in contemporary art, she initially considered studying 17th-century Spanish and Italian painting and sculpture. Ultimately, Garcia was drawn to the relevancy of modern-day expression.

“I responded to art that was very challenging and questioned my own assumptions about what’s going on in the world,” Garcia says. “I like work that makes me think differently.”

Garcia thrives on the interpersonal connections that she can make with today’s artists. “I find it really interesting to have an active contribution to the artists that are currently working in their studios,” she explains. “I’m really present with the artists that I’m working with and I delve really deeply into the research.”

Although the art scene is always changing, Garcia has no qualms over the future of current talent, especially since it’s now easier than ever to discover new artists from all around the globe given our web-based connectivity to each other. Nevertheless, Garcia has taken to her extensive history in the industry to curate words of advice for aspiring artists.

“Art is like any other job, where you have to put in a lot of hours and be devoted. So get involved in the arts community, whether you go to different art galleries or visit new exhibits.”

The art veteran also suggests that art-school graduates should also break out of their shells and start a longstanding dialogue with fellow artists. “Artists have a particular voice and sometimes they are very isolated—so what I’d say is to work on that isolation and meet others in the field,” Garcia says.

Garcia's stop at Glassell aligns with the museum’s showings of several notable contemporary exhibits this year, including a Mark Rothko restrospective and this summer’s Shadow Monsters interactive installation. But for Garcia, visiting Texas also sparks a nostalgic excitement for the Brownsville native.

“I’m a Texas girl, so I’m definitely looking forward to being back here,” she muses. 

Oct 21. Free. 7. Audrey Jones Beck Building, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 5601 Main St. 713-639-7500. mfah.org