- Honorary Degree (2021)
- Doctor of Fine Arts
- IU Southeast Commencement
- New Albany, Indiana
- Presenter: Ray Wallace
- Bicentennial Medal (2020)
- IU Southeast Distinguished Alumni Award (2015)
Cynthia Torp is a native of Clarksville, Indiana. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from Indiana University Southeast in 1984.
After brief educational experiences at Purdue University and the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI, Torp returned to Southern Indiana to complete her education, raise her family, and open her successful businesses. Torp owned Cynthia Torp Studios, a commercial design and illustration agency with clients from the East to the West Coast, for 15 years. Looking for a new creative outlet, Torp began Solid Light in 1999. One of her early clients was Owsley Frazier, whom she helped with the foundational creation work of the Frazier History Museum. Throughout its 22-year history, Solid Light has created award-winning museum exhibitions and visitor experiences across the nation and in Mexico, including the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, Virginia; the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi; and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland.
“In Louisville, we need more business leaders like Cynthia,” says Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Kentucky. “She possesses a creativity and vision that ask those she works for and works with to dream big and to engage others through storytelling and innovation. Her influence and her business make a great impact in our city.”
Torp has provided pro bono consultation and work for Indiana museums and cultural centers, including the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center in Clarksville and the Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany. In addition, Torp has continued to be actively involved with her alma mater, IU Southeast, mentoring and hiring graduates for her business. Torp and her husband, IU Southeast Professor Emeritus Brian Jones, reside in Corydon, Indiana.
In 2010, Torp received the Epic Award from the regional chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), recognizing her as Woman Business Owner of the Year. She was named the Distinguished Contributor by the Southeastern Museums Conference (SEMC) in recognition of her outstanding service, leadership, and innovation in shaping the world of museums, as well as the IU Southeast Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for her career achievements, community service, and engagement with her alma mater. In 2019, Solid Light received the Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI) award for best small business, as well as Business First’s real estate award for adaptive reuse for the renovation of a warehouse into Solid Light’s new offices. She was recently honored by Business First with its Enterprising Woman Award.
“Cynthia is known and appreciated for cultivating a culture of altruism and for fostering deep connections within the community through a dedication to giving back whenever the opportunity arises,” says Ray Wallace, chancellor of IU Southeast. “In regard to Indiana University and IU Southeast, she and her husband Brian have been ardent supporters through three scholarships for gifted and talented students, and a recent $1.5 million bequest to establish the Brian and Cynthia Jones Artist in Excellence Fund.”
Throughout the years, Torp has generously volunteered countless hours of her time and talent for organizations such as the AASLH, Southeast Museum Conference, Louisville Visual Arts, Carnegie Center for Art & History, Falls of the Ohio State Park, and Women 4 Women. She served on the Board of the Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana for many years and is now an officer on the boards of the National Association for Museum Exhibition (NAME) and the Kentucky Historical Society, and is a founding member of Bourbon Women, an association of professional women in the bourbon industry.
Torp has a daughter, Heather Weaver, a veterinarian and major in the U.S. Army, and a grandchild, Haiden. She and Jones also established the Kate Torp Fine Arts Scholarship at IU Southeast in honor of their deceased daughter.