Maiza Hixson

Maiza Hixson headshot
Graduate Student


Maiza Hixson is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator and Doctoral Scholars Fellow in Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Hixson writes about the performative staging of cities and urban space through theater, public art, monuments, and architecture. Investigating cultural placemaking as politically performatic, she interrogates how public art both participates in and often catalyzes resistance against branded narratives and “authorized” histories of cities and place. Her recently published article,  "Still Life with Discontent,” focused on Louisville’s visual culture of protest in the wake of Breonna Taylor’s killing and nationwide Black Lives Matter protests over the police murder of George Floyd.

Hixson received a Master of Fine Arts in Performance at UCSB in 2019 and Master of Arts in Critical and Curatorial Studies at the University of Louisville in 2005. Hixson completed Independent Curators International’s Curatorial Intensive program in New York City in 2012 and 2015. She studied Art History, Theory and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 2001-2002. From 2015-2017, Hixson was Chief Curator of the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission and Co-Director of the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology. She also served as Chief Curator of the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts from 2010-2015 during which time she taught and lectured at Towson University in Baltimore and University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Hixson has exhibited and performed widely at such venues as the Little Tokyo Arts Complex in Los Angeles; the Art, Design and Architecture Museum in Santa Barbara; Highways in Santa Monica; Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York; Baltimore Contemporary; Soap Factory, Minneapolis; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Portland, Oregon; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, NC; Haverford College; and many others. Her curatorial work was featured on the EMMY Award-winning PBS TV show “Articulate” with Jim Cotter and her curatorial projects have been presented at galleries across the U.S. She has published articles and essays on contemporary art and performance in dozens of exhibition catalogues both online and in print.