2022 Top 20 Impact Makers Honorees
Geraldina Interiano Wise
2022 Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker Award
Saturday, February 5, 2022
The St. Regis Houston
Geraldina Interiano Wise is a Latinx artist who considers her abstract art a platform to advocate for coexistence and connectivity with our planet and each other. She works in painting, collage, installation, sculpture, printmaking, and new medium art.
Originally from El Salvador, Geraldina arrived in this country to attend Vassar College in NY. She later transferred to Rice University, where she majored in architecture/art/art history. As a student, Geraldina designed her first American Institute of Architects (AIA) award-winning house in Ojai, CA. She taught at the Rice School of Continuing Studies, was president of Rice School of Architecture Alumni, is a board member of the Association of Rice Alumni, and does printmaking at Rice.
An accidental immigrant, Geraldina planned to return to her country to design affordable housing, but the Civil War changed her path. After working in the architecture world of NYC, San Francisco, and San Antonio, she returned to Houston and went on to be founding principal of several design firms. An indefatigable advocate for sustainability, she designed green homes, including her own family’s modern hacienda-Casa Wise. Eventually, her love of art resurfaced as a platform for change with the freedom to have her own authentic voice.
Her art education started at age ten, on the San Salvador volcano where she became a student of artist Violeta Bonilla, a protégé of Diego Rivera. She painted al-fresco every Saturday morning, under the gaze of the children of the ravine, who left an indelible mark on her. A recorder of time, Geraldina may use Mayan symbols or numerical writing and deposits indigo pigment ancient-plant sourced from El Salvador as her signature DNA. She builds her paintings and collages like archeological sites, layering them with intentional materials: from house paints to Hurricane Harvey rainwater; from raw sisal, to light baffles decommissioned from the Rothko Chapel. Geraldina is co-owner of Sawyer Gallery & Studios in the Washington Arts District, her laboratory of creativity.
She has participated in many juried exhibits, including The Big Show 2021 at Lawndale, and Withstand: Latinx Art in Times of Conflict, Holocaust Museum Houston. Her work has been featured in numerous online art sites, such as Zoom Art Paris, and the Environmental Defense Fund.
Geraldina values connecting with young people, having been Artist-in-Residence at Baker-Ripley and presenting at MECA. She is also a dynamic speaker and panelist, having participated in the 2019 Smithsonian’s Latino Art Now! Conference, International Conference on the Brain on Art, and the 2021 International Migrant Woman Conference by the Mexican Consulate.
Geraldina is the Artist-in-Residence at the Cullen College of Engineering, UH, working on The Nahual Project- a longitudinal study to decode the brain on art using AI and brain-machine interface, capturing her creative brain while painting live. Working in a closed loop of the brain, her brain waves trigger the AI model trained in her body of work that becomes the digital art output (the Nahual) projected over her art. They also trigger a grammar of sound by Emmy nominated composer Amos Cochran that seeks to sonify the invisible, informing her auditorily of the brain processes that constitute her unique art. A collaboration with Dr. Jose Contreras-Vidal, The Nahual has been presented live at the Moody Center for the Arts, The Glassell School of Art, and Blaffer Gallery, among other venues and international conferences. She is a past recipient of HAA’s Let Creativity Happen grant for her painting live to music with Musiqa.
Geraldina is just as active in the community as she is with her art. She is co-founder and board chair of ALMAAHH- for Latino Museum of Cultural Arts Complex; cochair of the Public Art committee-Buffalo Bayou Partnership; board member, DePelchin Children’s Center; member, Advisory Board of the Glassell School of Art, MFAH, and of HGOco, Houston Grand Opera.
Having lived in this country for over 40 years, Geraldina and her husband, Scott, chose Houston to raise their three children and have cultivated deep roots. She is an integral part of its cultural tapestry.
It is for all the reasons mentioned above, and many more, that Geraldina Interiano Wise has been named a Top 20 Inspiring Woman Impact Maker for 2022.