Images     Biography

sisavanh phouthavong

Sisavanh Phouthavong-Houghton was born in Vientiane Laos in 1976 and at the age of four her family emigrated from Nong Khai refugee camp in Thailand to Winfield, KS. She earned a B.F.A (Painting) from the University of Kansas and an M.F.A. (Painting/Drawing) from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, IL. She is currently an Associate Professor at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN, where she teaches advanced level painting courses. In 2014, she won an MTSU Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Mrs. Phouthavong-Houghton's source material for research is autobiographical and stems from her personal experience and an observer of the everyday culture. She is a multimedia artist using classical and contemporary techniques and materials. Her work has been seen in national and international solo, juried, and invitational exhibitions throughout the U.S., Surinam, Belgium, France, Canada, and New Zealand. Most recently, Arts at the Embassy has selected her collaborative artwork with Jarrod Houghton for a permanent collection at Paramaribo, Surinam. Her painting has hung on Gwyneth Paltrow's loft and been featured on She has been published in Studio Visit magazine and has been recognized as a New Superstar of Southern Art by Oxford American. Her research has been funded several times by the Tennessee Arts Commission and MTSU grants. She has partnered with the Frist Center for the Visual Arts' Educator for Community Engagement; the Oasis Center; and CRIT, the Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee.

Artist Statement

The paintings and collages capture and embrace architecture and built environment in its state of flux. Teetering between realism and abstraction, I fold space and time to connect with the fleeting world. With ever increasing levels of chaos and complexities of human existence, I find myself drawn more than ever to the space in-between. My passion for photographic documentation and travel inspire me to recreate these moments through the utilization of collage. I want the viewer to experience the longing for a place and conjure moments of ambiguity. This is an elevated visual journal that focuses on my perception and reflection of the landscape. To achieve a kaleidoscopic effect, I employ multiple viewpoints, rhythmic fragmentation, and strong color contrast to fuse both the contemporary and historical landscape elements into one. Photography is a means to remember, reconstruct, and contemplate my past and present experiences of the place. I am putting together a story that weaves visual imagery, sensory experiences, and also personal memories to recreate a moment in flux.


2000-2003 M.F.A Painting, Southern Illinois University of Carbondale,  Carbondale, IL

1995-1999 B.F.A Painting, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

2008 Winter Workshop with Sherrie McGraw, LAAFA Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, CA

2008 Summer Workshop with Ephraim Rubenstein, The Art Student League of New York, NY

2007 Summer Workshop with David Leffel, The Art Student League of New York, NY                                       

Solo Exhibitions

2017  Legacies of War, Tinney Contemporary Gallery, Nashville, TN
Defied Structures, University World College Library, Phuket, Thailand
2011  Back to Back, Collaborative Exhibition, Center for the Arts, Murfreesboro, TN
2010  The Spring Collection #2: Collaboration Exhibition with Jarrod Houghton, Biggin Gallery, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
The Spring Collection, Collaboration Exhibition with Jarrod Houghton, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
2007  Things That Suck, Joan Derryberry Art Gallery, Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, TN
2004  Displacement, Union Groove Gallery, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL
2003  The Working Body, MFA Thesis Show, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale, IL
2002  Smell of Art Through Culture, Vergette Gallery, Carbondale, IL
Dri-Bottoms, Vergette Gallery, Carbondale, IL

Juried / Museum Exhibitions

2018  The Power of Color, Lauren Rogers Museum of Art, Laurel, MS
Flying Solo Exhibit, Arts in the Airport, BNA, Nashville, TN
2017  Red Clay Survey, Huntsville Museum of Art, Juror: Gerry Bergstein, Huntsville, AL
2016  Poetic Logic, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Juror: Shawn Watrous, Won Purchased Award, Sewickley, PA
Intersectionalities: Defining the Lao American Narrative in Visual Arts, Centro Cultural De La Raza, Juror: Sayon
Syprasoeuth San Diego,CA
2011  20"x20"x20", Juried Group Exhibition, LSU Union Art Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
More is More, Group Show, The Xerox Culture LAL @ Loudoun House, Juror: Melissa Vandenberg, Lexington, KY
A Sense of Place, Group Show, Main Gallery, Juror: Tom Hammond, Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art, Augusta, GA
Mountain Vision, Group Show, Reece Museum, Juror: Greg Shelnutt, Mary B. Martin School of the Arts East Tennessee
State University, Johnson City, TN
2010  Fahrenheit 180, Group Exhibition, Ann Street Gallery, Curated by Virginia, Walsh, Newburgh, NY
2009  Texas National 2009, Juror: Mel Chin, The Cole Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX
2006  8th International Collage Exhibition & Exchange, Juror: Dale Copeland, Traveling Exhibition: Hill Country Arts Foundation
in Ingram, TX, Turchin Center at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, Real Tart Gallery at New Plymouth, New
20"x20"x20", Juried Group Exhibition, LSU Union Art Gallery, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA
2005  The 7th Bakers Dozen International Collage Exchange, Juror: Dale Copeland,
Traveling Exhibition: Durango, Colorado; Museo de Collage, Mexico; New Plymouth Gallery, New Zealand
Soft Boundaries, Biggin Gallery, Juror: Liz Martin, Auburn University, Auburn, AL
Diversity, Juried Group Exhibition, Giles Gallery, Juror: Deborah Borrowdale-Cox, Eastern Kentucky University,
Richmond, KY
2004  7th International Open Exhibition, Juried Group Exhibition, Woman Made Gallery, Juror: Claudia DeMonte, Chicago, IL

Selected Exhibitions

2017  Lao Writer's Summit: Lao'd and Clear, Highland College, Seattle, WA
Spring Collection, Nelson Mullins Law Firm, Nashville, TN
2016  Tools of the Trade, Faculty Group Show, Todd Gallery, Murfreesboro, TN
Permanent Collection Exhibition, American Embassy, Paramaribo, Suriname
It Takes A Village: Rebirth and Transformation, ART Exchange, Long Beach, CA
18th International Collage Exhibition & Exchange, Traveling Exhibition: The Verbeke Foundation in Belgium, Percy
Thomson Gallery, Startford, New Zealand,
Boro Art Crawl: The Block, Murfreesboro, TN
2015  Paradise, postcard show, Ugly Art Room, Corvallis, Oregon
Exquisite Corpse, Community Engagement Group Invitational Show, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN
2014  Intersections, Group Invitational, Space 204 Gallery, Vanderbilt University, TN, Group Invitational Show
2013  Print Lust, Group/Fundraiser Show, Leg UP Studio, Minneapolis, MN
Quarterly Art Show, Three Person, Beth Haley Design (BHD), Nashville, TN
Student Art Alliance Show, Group Benefit Show, The Greenway, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN  
2012  Refueling, Collaborative Exhibition with Jarrod Houghton, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
National Association of Art Dealers NAAD, Nashville Airport, Nashville, TN
2011  Converging Vision, Faculty Group Show, Todd Gallery, Murfreesboro, TN
80/Square, Fundraising Group Exhibition, Tinney Contemporary Gallery, Nashville, TN  
2009  Winter Walls, Group Exhibition, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
Identity, Two-Person Exhibition, St. Claude Gallery, University of New Orleans, LA
Mixed Emotions, Three Person Show, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
Reflected Ambivalence, Two-Person Exhibition, Salon Gallery, Tinney Contemporary, Nashville, TN
2008  Observation / Interaction, Two Person Exhibition, Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery, Nashville, TN
2007  Ideal, Two-Person Exhibition, Tennessee Arts Commission Gallery, Nashville, TN
Rat Race, Two Person Exhibition, Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Four Person Exhibition, Ruby Green Contemporary Art Center, Nashville, TN
E-Volution 2, Group Exhibition, Dangenart Gallery, Nashville, TN
Undercurrent, Vanderbilt University Law School, Curator: Lain York, Nashville, TN
Group 62901, Group Exhibition, Well Street Art Company, Fairbanks, Alaska
2006  Evolution, Group Exhibition, Dangenart Gallery, Nashville TN
MTSU Faculty, Group Exhibition, Chumley/Orr Gallery Contemporary American Art, Cleveland, TN
2005  Night of 1000 Drawings, Group Exhibition, Artists Space Gallery, NewYork, NY
Works on Paper, Group Exhibition, Fort Worth Community Arts Center, Fort Worth, TX
Eponymous, Group Show, Zeitgeist Gallery, Nashville, TN
2004  Go, Group Invitational Exhibition, Gatov East Gallery, California State University of Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA
7th Visual AIDS Postcards from the Edge, Benefit Show, Brent Sikkema Gallery, New York, NY
Local-Motive, Group Invitational Exhibition, The Barn Gallery, Murfreesboro, TN
2003  6th Visual AIDS Postcards from the Edge, Benefit Show, Galerie Lelong, New York, NY
Mini-Print 8, Group Exhibition, Graduate Association of Painters and Printmakers, Vergette Gallery, Carbondale, IL
From the Margin, Group Exhibition, Des Lee Gallery, St. Louis, MO
The "I" Show, Group Exhibition, Surplus Gallery, Carbondale, IL
MFA Senior Graduate Show, Group Exhibition, University Museum, SIUC, Carbondale, IL


2017  Pinnacle Bank, Nashville, TN
2016  American Embassy, Paramaribo, Suriname  
2016  Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Sewickley, PA
2016  The Verbeke Foundation, Belgium  
2010  Susan Tinney, Nashville, TN
2010  Juel Salon, Franklin, TN
2010  Cleophus Thomas, Alabama (The Cleo and Carla Thomas Collection)
2009  Gary Haber, Nashville, TN
2008  Tennessee State Museum, Nashville, TN
2006  Turchin Center for the Visual Art, New Zealand
2005  Museo de Collage, Mexico
2005  The Learning Connexion, New Zealand

PUBLISHED ITEMS (TV, Radio, Print, On-line)

2017  NAA Magazine, June-Sept, International Magazine, Print, Phuket, Thailand
MTSU on the Record, 30 minute Public Affair Interview, WMOT-FM, by Gina Logue
College of Liberal Arts Magazine interview print, by Darby Campbell
Create Magazine: Issue III, Spring 2017, Juried by Bridgette Mayer (Print), Page 168,
Wall Street International (WSI) online review on Legacies of War show at Tinney Contemporary Gallery, April 4, 2017
The Tennessean, Print, Review by Melinda Baker, "Tinney Contemporary Exhibiton delves into ‘Legacies of War,
March 12, 2017,
Voices of America, Online Interview by Kingsavanh Pathammavong on Legacies of War Show, March 16, 2017
Legacies of War (on-line)Lao-American Artist Sisavanh Houghton:
War---A-Message-From-The-Lao-American-Artist-Sisavanh-Houghton.html?soid= 1101814490173&aid=YjqWfUeBdas
Asians Doing Everything: Sisavanh Phouthavong-Houghton, by Bryan Thao Worra, (on-line)
2012  Oxford America: The Southern Magazine of Good Writing, 100 under 100 The New Superstars of Southern Art February 29, 2012 On-Line Magazine
2012  Pierce and Company, a Design Firm in Nashville, is currently displaying in their show room and has taken shots of the
Bronze Dress Sculpture Titled "Insectophobia #6"; They have used it for some Interior Design show on HGTV.
2012  Winging It, Posted by Danielle, Write-up about the Hummingbird Painting, "Cacophony"
2011  Printed catalog for the show More is More by Shane Aday, 80 pages, ISBN # 9781105198632, Publisher: Lexington Art
League, Full Color, Paper Bound
2011-2010  Name is in the international Art in America 2010/2011 Guide to Galleries and Museums and Artist, page 264,
represented by Tinney Contemporary Gallery #3804
2010  Artwork in a video for singer Sara Evans "A Little Bit Stronger"
2010  Michelle Jones, Show Write-up, The Tennessean, "Spring Collection more lion than lamb", June 6, 2010  Arts &
2010  Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop Website, "Race to Renovate",
2010  Nashville Arts Magazine, Full Color Ad for the Show at Tinney Contemporary Gallery, June 2010 Issue.
2010  Website Name: Auburn Family, Auburn Social Network, Date: October 15, 2010
Website: Video: Jarrod Houghton is
being interviewed by Betsy Ann Rogers during our Spring Collection #2 at Biggin Gallery, Auburn Unverisity, AL
2010  Barb Bondy, Auburn Villager, "Spring Collection" Opens at Biggin Gallery (has a write-up about the show, artist
statement and our biography), October 7, 2010, Auburn Community
2008  Studio Visit Magazine, Volume One, The Open Studios Press, April 2008, juried by Michael Lash, former director of
Public Arts for the Cityof Chicago, A Juried Selection of International Visual Artists
2007  David Maddox, Nashville Scene, "Culture Clash", Art Review, May 17th
2005  New Zealand National Radio on the Wayne Mouat Current Affairs Program, International, The 7th Bakers Dozen
International Collage Exchange, Traveling Exhibition
New Zealand "Front Seat" TVNZ Station and on "Living Room" Arts Television Program Show TV3 Station, International,
The 7th Bakers Dozen International Collage Exchange, Traveling Exhibition
2004  Local Motive, Review, Published in Bell Buckle Echo Newspaper, Bell Buckle
Publication, Vol. 13/Issue 9
Chicago Public Radio's "Eight Forty-Eight", 7th International Open Exhibition
2003  Jerry Bradley, The Southern Illinoisan Flipside, "Two Artists, One Show", June 12th, News Feature
Gary Gangi, Daily Egyptian, Pulse, "Masters Duo", June 12th, News Feature


May 2017 T N Arts Individual Artist Fellowship for 2D, $5000
Spring 2017  Non-Instructional Development Grant (Spring Sabbatical), MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN
February 2016  Faculty Development Grant, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN
May 2012  Summer Faculty Research and Creative Activity Grant, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN
March 2011 Faculty Research and Creative Activity Grant, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN
February 2011  Faculty Development Grant, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN
August 2010  Professional Development Support Grant, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, TN
October 2009  Faculty Research and Creative Activity, MTSU, TN
August 2009  Professional Development Support Grant, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, TN
December 2008 Professional Development Support Grant, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, TN
December 2008 Faculty Development Grant, MTSU, TN
May 2008  Instructional Development Grant, MTSU, TN
July 2007  Professional Development Support Grant, Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville, TN
May 2007  Faculty Development Grant, MTSU, TN
May 2006  Faculty Curriculum Development Grant, MTSU, TN
June 2004  Faculty Research and Creative Activity Grant, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN
Fall 2000-Spring 2003 Full Tuition Waiver, Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, IL
Fall 1998-Spring 1999 Beatrice L. Bonine Scholarship,University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Fall 1998-Spring 1999 Hollander Family Foundation, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Fall 1997-Spring 1998 University of Kansas Art Dept. Scholarship, Lawrence, KS