Social activist artist, civil rights, the Civil War, Gettysburg, mass incarceration, justice, equality

Cynthia Groya

New York, NY and Princeton, NJ



Growing up in Indiana, the one Black family in town stayed quiety out of sight and cultural diversity was not part of the scenery. Studying painting and printmaking abroad at Studio Arts College International (SACI) in Florence, Italy, I embraced the wealth of cultures and ancient architecture I was thrust among, and received a BFA from Drake University. After graduation I founded a graphic design studio in Kansas City, MO. It was there I first experienced the failing of our democracy to include everyone. After moving to St. Louis few years later to become Creative Director of Lang & Smith Advertising in St. Louis, Mo in 1986, I readjusted my focus onto arts education, then  worked with the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM) as a Museum Educator for three years. At SLAM, the analogous relationship of historical narrative in Anselm Kiefer's work to the role of denial and myth of the American slave narrative and that influence on US culture, strongly influenced my view that art serves a social purpose. 


Directing a symposium "Art For Our Time: A Multicultural Perspective," I moderated a panel discussion of cultural leaders in St. Louis to discuss the role the arts play in bridging culture and diversity. Moving east in 1993, I founded a multi-disciplinary art school, Cultural Arts in Progress! (CAPS!), in Yardley, PA, based on the methodology of the Art in the Basic Curriculum (ABC) Program at SLAM. Teaching a a fine art curriculum in the context of Cultural Diversity and Art History, CAPS! served almost 5,000 students between 1996 and 2006. Three floods and 18 months later, CAPS! became The Artists of Yardley and I moved on to pursue my professional art practice.


I continue to develop experimental art techniques while researching U.S. history as it relates to contemporary Social Injustice and Racial Inequality. Continuing Ed. includes graduate courses at Harvard University, extensive printmaking courses at Parsons (The New School), art residencies at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) Assets for Artists in North Adams, MA, and most recently, a Residency in Contemporary Practices at the School of Visual Arts in New York, exploring America's tangled historical narrative through art.


I have participated in over 50 group/juried exhibitions and 5 solo exhibitions,

and maintain studios in New York, NY, and Princeton, NJ.


Partial List of Exhibitions and Video Productions


NRG Headquarters Princeton, Princeton, NJ

Interwoven Stories, Universidad de los Andes and Centro de Memoria Paz y ReconciliaciónBogotá, Colombia

SVA Open Studio, NY, NY

Princeton Arts Council 50th Anniversary Invitational, Princeton, NJ


No Exit Video concept, camera, sound mixing, editing, production 


Taking Back Trenton, Video concept, camera, sound mixing, editing, production 


150 Years After the Civil War, Nassau Club Solo Exhibition, Princeton, NJ

What About Gettysburg? Educational script development, video design and direction


Generation Next, Invitational, West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction, NJ

Tangled Roots, Muse GallerySolo Exhibition , Philadelphia, PA 


Bombay Sapphire Artisan Series, Semi-Finalist Exhibition, Rush Gallery, NYC

Mass MoCA Assets for Artists Residency, North Adams, MA

Out Of Line, MUSE Gallery Solo Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA

The Red Show, Cheryl Hazan Contemporary, New York City, NY

Mill One Open Studio, Hamilton, NJ

Princeton Arts Council, Princeton, NJ

HomeFront, Princeton, NJ


Snowflake Salon Invitational, Philadelphia, PA

Pinot to Picasso, Princeton, New Jersey

Indigo Gallery, Princeton, New Jersey

Bucks Beautiful, Invitational Art Exhibit, Bucks County, PA

ArtSpace, Princeton, New Jersey

MUSE Gallery Members' Exhibition, Philadelphia, PA



Indigo Gallery, Princeton, New Jersey

Pinot to Picasso, Princeton, New Jersey

ArtJam, Princeton, New Jersey



Princeton Arts Council: Members Exhibition, Pinot to Picasso Exhibition 

ArtJam, Princeton, New Jersey

Best of Bucks Juried Exhibition: Doylestown, PA 



Spheres & Foundations, Cynthia Groya & Cindy Besselaar, Pennington, NJ 

Absolutely Abstract, Philadelphia, PA 

Best of Bucks, Doylestown, PA 

Make a Wish (Juror), Washington Crossing, PA 

Snowflake Salon, Church Street, Philadelphia, PA 



Pulling Paint Solo Exhibition, MUSE Gallery Philadelphia, PA 

Absolutely Abstract Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia 

New Members Show MUSE Gallery Philadelphia, PA 

New Dimensions, Rafael Novoa Gallery, New Hope, PA 

Ellarslie Open Annual Juried Exhibition , Trenton, NJ 

Salon at Artworks, Trenton, NJ 

Bucks County Community College, Hicks Art Center, Newtown PA 

Elm Lowne Invitational, Annual Women's Night Out, Yardley, PA 



Anniversary Show MUSE Gallery Philadelphia, PA 

Picasso Gallery Juried Exhibition, Washington, D.C. 

Newman Gallery, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia, PA 

Philadelphia Sketch Club Juried Exhibition of Small Paintings, Philadelphia, PA

Ellarslie Open Annual Juried Exhibition Trenton, NJ 



Synergy of Interior Design & Fine Art Rafael Novoa Gallery, New Hope, PA 

Points of Reference ARTWORKS Gallery, Trenton, NJ 

Absolutely Abstract Juried Exhibition, Philadelphia Sketch Club, Philadelphia 

AOY Juried Exhibition , Laceworks Gallery, Lambertville, NJ 

79th Annual Phillips Mill Juried Exhibition , Phillips Mill, New Jersey 



Sizable & Significant Jason Craighead, Cynthia Groya, Luis Bujalance Bucks Gallery of Fine Art, Newtown, PA 

Messages: Spoken & Unspoken Silva Gallery of Fine Art, Pennington, NJ 

Seasons, Delaware River Gallery, Yardley, PA 

2006 and Earlier 

Group Show, Gallery of Fine Art, Newtown, PA 2006 

CAPS! Faculty Exhibition Yardley, PA 1996 - 2006 annually 

Abstract Realities Crittenden Gallery, St. Louis, MO 1993 

Art St. Louis, St. Louis, MO 1992, 1991, 1990 

Prints, Drawings & Pastels, St. Louis Artists Guild, Webster Groves, MO 1991 



2010 Best of Show, Printmaking Ellarslie Open Juried Exhibition Trenton, NJ 

2009 Honorable Mention: Philadelphia Sketch Club Small Paintings Exhibition, 

Philadelphia, PA 

2008 First Place, AOY Annual Exhibition, Laceworks Gallery, Lambertville, NJ 


Education & Residencies:

Mass MoCA Assets for Artists Residency 2017

SVA Residency in Contemporary Practices 2017

Harvard University Graduate Certification, (current student) Visual Arts 2016-2018

     (Digital Media, History of Slavery in Film, Civil War poetry, Writing, Printmaking)

Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art Assets for Artists Residency 2015

Experimental Acrylic Workshops with Csilla Sadloch 2010

Printmaking, Parsons The New School, NYC 2006 - 2010

BFA Drake University, Des Moines, IA 

SACI, Studio Art Center International, Florence, Italy


Teaching/Curriculum Development/Project Management:

Creator/Producer Educational Videos addressing social justice, inner city renewal and mass incarceration (See Video and Residency Links) 2016 - Current

Project Manager, Mural Arts Project, Gregory Elementary School, Trenton, NJ        Development of Mural arts program involving students in creation of civil rights history  mural with Trenton graffiti artists. Current/ongoing

Mentor/Arts Instructor ArtSpace, Trenton, NJ  Division of HomeFront NJ, Jasna Polana Adult Watercolor Workshop, Princeton NJ   2013

Panel Discussion Speaker: The Creative Spirit Harry I. Naar, Cynthia Groya, John Suler, Anne Sears Rider University, September 2013

Gallery/Workshop Director The Pennington School, Pennington, NJ, Contracted and Developed Gallery Schedule, created liaisons with artists & educators, coordinated student exhibitions, directed gallery talks, designed and implemented all publicity, exhibitions, gallery openings, workshops and presentations. 2011-2012

Mentor SHARE, Trenton, NJ, Soup Kitchen, to marginalized spoken word clients. Performance and script development to create national Hunger video award winner (RED)   2010

Experimental Acrylic Adult Workshop Instructor Artists of Yardley, 2010 - 2012

Curriculum Development/Interdisciplinary Arts Instructor Bucks Country Homeschool Network, Yardley, PA  meeting Pennsylvania CORE Curriculum Standards for ages K-12 2006-2010

Founder CAPS! (Cultural Arts in Progress, Inc.) Interdisciplinary arts school, Yardley PA, 501(c)3 art academy. Fine art, performance and art history curriculums, educator hiring and training, providing instruction in art forms, art history and techniques of diverse, traditional and experimental methods and to approx. 5,000 students ages K-Adult over 10-year period. Developed and implemented all publicity, fund-raising, community liaisons and marketing materials 1996-2006

Fine Arts Instructor Newtown Friends School, Newton, PA, Middle School Art Education and Curriculum Development 1995 -1997

Educator St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, Art Education and Curriculum                Development, Workshop and Classroom Educator, Art in the Basic Curriculum (ABC) Program 1989-93

Symposium Director "Art for Our Time: A Multicultural Perspective," panel discussion director with regional and national artists and administrators  St. Louis, MO 1992


"Through Plexiglass, Darkly" Artist Cynthia Groya's New Work in Princeton Views Civil War Through Abstract Art" Jan. 29, 2016

The Sly Fox Film Reviews: Tangled Roots -

"Reflecting on War Through Art" by Anthony Stoeckert, Princeton Packet ( 

Gallery Gameplan: It’s First Friday, people

SEPTEMBER 02, 2016


Shrift, Gwen "Spirit of the Age" March 28, 2010 "A Morrisville artist interprets contemporary culture... " 

Valerie Reed “Celebrating creativity, culture” Philadelphia Inquirer, 2002