We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cynthia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The initial thought that ultimately led to me starting Exalted Arts was a desire to do 3 things: 1) honor the creativity within me, 2) employ the professional training I had received as an actress, and 3) invite my faith to be on display. As the thoughts progressed, I came to better understand the impact that non-profit organizations make in the world. As a result, I knew Exalted Arts absolutely had to be established as a non-profit organization, as I realized there were a number of issues that could be addressed through the power of art + faith. Enter, Exalted Arts!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
There is a principle that sets Exalted Arts apart from other theatre production companies and it is this: we believe the arts are God-breathed, a measure of a civilized society, and a catalyst for the enrichment, growth, and pleasure of all citizens of that society. With this in mind, Exalted Arts was actually created out of an expression of love for God and people, AND a love for the arts. We do not hold these principles to be mutually exclusive. Our philosophy at Exalted Arts is to recognize the creativity within an artist and honor such creativity in the best way that is in our control to do. This very simple, yet powerful action, leads to us ultimately honoring the person, which is our aspiration. Such intentionality yields fulfilled artists. The cherry on top is audiences reap the benefit.
It has not been easy to get to where we are today. The road has been tremendously bumpy. In fact, there is a small segment of Houston artists who suffered along with Exalted Arts during a time when our anticipated funding did not come through. That year, I personally lost relationship with artists I love and admire, as the situation was quite upsetting and understandably so. As a result, the very next year Exalted Arts was dark. When I finally picked myself up and dusted off, I returned to school seeking a Masters in Arts Leadership, which I earned from University of Houston in December of 2020. The wealth of knowledge I gleaned about non-profit leadership and management has been truly enriching. I employ the principles thereof to the best of my ability, as I am determined to be a better business leader for my sake and the sake of all who are invited to partake in Exalted Arts. Although we are small, we are a professional organization, and it is very important to us that the quality of the work we do offstage is regarded just as importantly as the work we do onstage. We have learned from our mistakes to be sure, and we don’t plan to repeat them!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
What a great question for a self-professed nerd who loves to hang at home with her books. All the same, I love eating out and trying different restaurants. With this in mind, an itinerary for all week long with a visiting friend would include a breakfast date at Snooze, Common Bond and The Breakfast Klub–shout out to Marcus Davis! We’d hang out near the Museum District and take in any number of exhibits of interest. We’d go roller skating at Discovery Green just to get some old school vibes going and then head to Blue Fish for lunchtime sushi. We’d have to do a little shopping at the Galleria, since it’s internationally known, and since this particular friend I’m thinking about enjoys music we’d get over to Giorgio’s at Hotel Granduca—I’ve been wanting to check them out. Her last few days here I’d have to take her to my favorite BBQ spot–Ray’s BBQ and my favorite seafood restaurant–Pappas Seafood House. By the end of the week I’d make sure to get by the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center and wind down the night at The Melting Pot–I’ve heard great things about this place!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first person I want to recognize is my husband, Luis. If my husband were not supportive of my dream I would not be as far along as I am. Mr. Garcia has been there since Exalted Arts was just a seed. I am truly blessed to say that he has been there every step of the way, bumpy roads and all; he and my teenaged son, Luke, are the best supporters ever. Other people I must shout out is my BFF, Cordelia Butler. Cordelia is the best friend a girl could ever have. She challenges my perspective when needed, which affords me an opportunity to hear a different take on an idea or thought. She encourages me, prays for me, and overall serves as a safe place for my vulnerabilities to be expressed without judgment. My mother, an artist in her own right, Barbara Sidney-Brown, has always provided the love, encouragement and prayers that any daughter would be blessed to have, and my father, George Brown, a business owner for over 35 years, demonstrated the tenacity required to run a business. Indeed, I am a blessed daughter! Last, but certainly not least, I have to SHOUTOUT Jesus–what a friend I have in Jesus! Through Him I live, move and have my being. Were it not for Jesus, I would have never embarked upon this journey. Instead, I would have complained about the lack of opportunity for the type of art I want to engage, rather than creating the opportunity for myself and others. But, here I am! Thank you, Jesus!
- Kim Davis Photography