Marshal Lightman, who served as president of the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) from 2010-2012, and one-time Art League Houston’s Patron of the Year, an honor he shared with his wife Victoria Lightman, died on Sunday afternoon. He was 74. Among Lightman’s many accomplishments, he served as vice president and regional controller of Gilbane Building Company until his retirement in 2014, and was co-founder of Looking At Art, along with Victoria.
“Marshal was an incredible friend and a significant supporter of artists in Houston. I worked with Marshal for 27 years as a member of the patron committee that supports the Core Program, the Glassell School’s residency program for artists, critics and curators. I will miss the frankness of his opinions which were always delivered with good humor as well as a desire to make contemporary art in Houston vital and important. He hosted dinners and events for us which were legendary, doing the cooking himself. His generosity extended broadly to artists in Houston over a number of generations. Personally he brought construction engineers he knew from work to my studio after plying them with lunch in order to help solve a structural problem. We became so close over the years; we were family. I will miss him greatly and there will be an empty space in Houston’s art community. He left one hell of a legacy!”
Lightman served in the Houston art community for more than 30 years, working with various organizations, including Lawndale Art Center, DiverseWorks, Art Table, DIFFA, Child Advocates, Menil Collection, Rice Design Alliance, and Art League Houston (ALH).
When reached for comment, Leigh Smith, Chair of the Board at HAA wrote: “Marshal Lightman was a treasured supporter and valuable past board member of Houston Arts Alliance. His drive and passion for the arts and individual artists is the stuff of legends. Marshal and his wife Victoria gave much to HAA and to the Houston arts community at large. As a civic leader, friend, and family member, he will be missed by many, and certainly by those who served with him at HAA. We offer our sincere condolences to Victoria.”
Karen Broker, professor of printmaking and drawing at Rice University in Houston and friend of the Lightmans, wrote in an email to Glasstire: “Marshal was a modern renaissance guy who was brutally honest (why I loved the guy), opinionated (but based on solid, real facts, numbers and history), and a man who was equally at home on his boat in the bay as he was in a gallery or museum.” She added, “He was such a presence in a crowd yet he never sucked the air from the room. He injected air into a room. He was a complex whirlwind of laughter, sometimes rage and always, always interesting. I grieve for Marshal and I grieve for my friend Victoria.”
This story is developing and will be updated.