Ella Fontanals-Cisneros is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and art collector with passion along with a selective eye for contemporary art and design.
Born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, her vision has made a significant impact in the Miami art community and art organizations around the globe.
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros began collecting works by artists from Latin America in the 1970’s. The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection has since grown to include important, historic, and cutting-edge pieces from around the world, with strong representations of geometric abstract art from Latin America international video, art, photography, and installations.
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros has loaned pieces from her collection to a number of global institutions including the Tate Modern (London), the Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid), Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo (Brazil), Museu do arte de São Paulo (Brazil), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), and The Perez Art Museum (Miami) just to name a few. Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros Collection comprise of more than 2,700 artworks and some prominent artist include: Marina Abramovic, Lygia Clark, Los Carpinteros, Ai WeiWei, Carmen Herrera, Leon Ferrari, Gego, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Donald Judd, Anish Kapoor, Barabara Kruger, Julio Le Parc, Sol Lewitt, Ana Mendieta, Helio Oiticica, Fischli & Weiss, Bill Viola, among others.
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros brings international perspective to her patronage both as an art collector and as a humanitarian
She established in Miami—the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in 2002.
The mission of this foundation, CIFO, fosters the understanding and appreciation of contemporary art and artists from
Latin America through grants, commissions, exhibitions, and bilingual publications. CIFO´s three primary initiatives: Grants
and Commissions Programs for visual artists from Latin America, an exhibitions program internationally showcasing works
from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection and foundation-initiated support for other arts and culture projects.
During the foundation’s 18-year history, CIFO has produced a number of U.S. exhibitions in Miami, Los Angeles, New York,
and Boston as well as internationally in Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Bonn, Germany; Zurich, Switzerland; Cuenca and Quito
Ecuador; Havana, Cuba; Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; and Lima, Peru.
Under the Grants and Commissions program, CIFO has assisted artists from Latin America to fulfill their aspirations in
attaining recognition in the global community.
The foundation has collaborated with multiple institutions around the world including the Coleccion Mercantil in
Venezuela, the Wallach Gallery of Columbia University, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston amongst others, in Miami,
has worked with the New World School of the Arts and the art-in-residence program, Cannonball, the Fox Museum,
University of Miami. In addition, the foundation has published a number of collection catalogues stemming from these
collaborations. In 2011, CIFO expanded it´s presence in the global art community by opening CIFO Europa in Madrid. Ms.
Fontanals-Cisneros further expanded her efforts.
In 2003 Ms. Fontanals Cisneros founded Miami Art Central (MAC), a Kunstallen, which brought important international art
exhibits to Miami which included video art from the Centre Pompidou, Reina Sofia, and a solo show of South African artist
In 2012, Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros presented her first book of a selection of works of her personal collection, Pulses of
Abstraction in Latin America, an analysis of one of the most dynamic and vital movements of Latin America.
During the last twenty years Ms. Cisneros has published several books on exhibitions and her collection.
In 2017, CIFO published two important books focusing on what the foundation has accomplished within their first 15
years of continuous work and a special publication on the exhibition, Adios Utopia (Goodbye Utopia), an exhibition on
Cuban Art from 1950’s to 2014 which has traveled from the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston to The Walker Art Center.
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros is also a humanitarian and environmentalist. As an early advocate for the use of information
technologies, in 1989 she founded the Together Foundation in the U.S. with the objective of uniting the world focusing on
environmental problems, which led the effort to connect the United Nations with mission and NGO offices worldwide in
New York. The Together Foundation worked with different organizations within the U.N. system they founded the best
practices database for the U.N.-Habitat. This program remains a fundamental tool for many of the U.N. organizations.
The Together Foundation worked with NGO around the world and the University of Vermont on connecting
environmental organizations on fundamental best practices.
In the mid-1990s, she also founded the Together Foundation in Venezuela to improve the lives of children by providing
education, health, and nutrition.
In addition to serving as Chair of CIFO and MAC, Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros has served on these board of trustees:
The New Museum New York, Tate Americas Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in North Miami, The
Institute of Contemporary Art of Miami, the Cintas Foundation, the Miami Art Museum, the International Women's
Forum, Spanish Institute New York, United State Artists, Institute of International Education in New York, and Fulbright
program of New York.
Still serves in Fundacion ARCO, El Museo del Barrio, Art Basel Foundation.
Ms. Cisneros has been an entreupener involved in telecommunications and different industries in Venezuela which
includes Central Azucarero Portuguesa, Venezuela, Digitel, Venezuela, Produvisa, Venezuela, President of EFC Holdings,
Ivy: Social University, Freedom.Technology, El Callao.com.Ar, Blindlove.com, Ella Fontanals Cisneros Media, Kala Real
Estate Development, she has been part of board of trustees of Pepsi Venezuela, Chief Executive Officer of TGF
Technologies, President of Su Red-Telcel, OneMain.com. US.
Ms. Cisneros has written different small essays for the foundation over the years. She just finished writing her first novel
which will be published by 2021
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros has been honored with the Spectrum Philanthropy Award from the American Red Cross in 2003,
the Visionary Award from The Museum of Arts & Design in 2007, the United Nations’ Women Together Award in May
2008, and in 2013 was named among Miami Today’s 30 Legends.
World of Dreamers Award 2006 IFB Group
Art Lima 2018 Reconocimiento Trayectoria
Premio Pond´s Arte y Cultura
2017 Latin American Experience Honoree, MFA The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Asociacion Civil Hogar Santa Maria de la Caridad por Together Foundation
2007 Miami Art Museum, Honors CIFO, Sponsor of The Killing Machine and other stories
2018, The New Museum
2007, Junior League of Miami
The Bronx Museum, 2016
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros has also collaborated with architects and designers in the creation of luxury residential, and
Ms. Fontanals-Cisneros divides her time between Miami, Madrid, Mexico, Cuba, and Gstaad. She has three daughters
with her former husband Oswaldo Cisneros––Marisa, Mariela, and Claudia––with whom she actively shares her passion
for the arts.