2018 NALAC Leadership Insitute

31 Latinx Arts Leaders Selected for NALAC Leadership Institute in San Antonio

San Antonio, July 2, 2019

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) announces the selection of 31 Latinx artists and cultural workers who will participate in the NALAC Leadership Institute taking place July 15-20, 2019, in San Antonio, TX. In its 19th edition, the annual arts management program focuses on building the capacity of arts professionals through the lens of Latinx arts and cultures.

This year’s cohort includes leaders from 15 states, with Maine and Nevada being represented for the first time. Notably, there are 2 fellows from Puerto Rico, building on the organization’s work supporting artists on the island post-Hurricane Maria through its NALAC Fund for the Arts grant program. The list of participants and their bios are below.

The weeklong institute will culminate with a keynote presented by Gonzalo Casals, Executive Director of the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City. Casals has previously worked at Friends of the High Line and was part of the consultant team that led CreateNYC, New York City’s first comprehensive cultural plan. The keynote will take place Saturday, July 20, 2019 at the University of Texas at San Antonio Downtown Campus and is open to the public. Attendees can RSVP here:  nli19.eventbrite.com

This year at the New York City Pride march, the Leslie-Lohman Museum collaborated with artist Gabriel Garcia Román who presented a procession of 150 banners featuring queer people of color from his series “Queer Icons.” Garcia Román received a NALAC Fund for the Arts grant in 2017 to help support the national expansion of his project.

“The voices and experiences of queer Latinx arts leaders have been at the heart of the NALAC Leadership Institute since its inauguration 19 years ago. We look forward to Gonzalo Casals’ Keynote and learning from his work on cultural equity and progressive public policy issues,” said NALAC President and CEO María López de León.

The NALAC Leadership Institute will be hosted at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Downtown Campus and includes a tour with institute alumni at the creative youth development outfit SAY Sí, a visit to the groundbreaking “Transamerica/n” exhibition at the McNay Art Museum, and a community gathering with Latinx arts leaders at Galería E.V.A. (Ecos y Voces de Arte).

Sessions at the institute will be led by the faculty team composed of Rosalba Rolón from New York’s Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Abel López from D.C.’s Gala Theatre, and Dr. Maribel Alvarez of The University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology and the Southwest Folklife Alliance. Guest faculty include scholar Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, artist Claudio Dicochea, arts consultant Evonne Gallardo, writer Charles Rice-González and development expert Arnaldo López.

“What distinguishes NLI from other professional development programs is that we value each fellow’s contributions and deep knowledge of community, providing a space to exchange resources and expertise within a peer-to-peer network,” said Jenna Gonzales, NALAC Programs Manager.

The 19th NALAC Leadership Institute is made possible thanks to Southwest Airlines, National Endowment for the Arts, Surdna Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, San Antonio Area Foundation, City of San Antonio Department of Arts and Cultures, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Ford Foundation, SAY Sí, Galería E.V.A., and the McNay Art Museum.


Christian Adame

Director of Learning & Interpretation, Portland Museum of Art | Portland, ME

Christian Adame has 15 years of diverse museum experience developing in-gallery interpretation, designing and managing public programs, and mobilizing diverse communities through outreach. He has worked at the California State Archives, The California Museum of Women, History, and the Arts, and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California. From 2011 to 2018, he worked on exhibitions and programs at Phoenix Art Museum in Arizona. In November 2018, he began his new position as Peggy L. Osher Director of Learning and Interpretation at Portland Museum of Art in Maine. He earned his B.A. in Art History from the University of California, Davis.

francisco aviles pino jr.

Research & Outreach Fellow, Brave New Films | Anaheim, CA

francisco aviles pino jr. is an undocumented writer, producer and cultural organizer from acapulco guerrero and lives in los angeles, ca. They’re currently a fellow for Brave New Films engaging community organizations and educators to be a part of developing projects. Before BNF, they worked as a youth organizer for OCCCO for five years. francisco is an alumni of Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Writers Workshop and a fellow with the Poetry Foundation’s and Crescendo Literary’s Emerging Writers Incubator. francisco holds degrees and research training from ucla, csuf and uc irvine. They also currently hold a column for the OC Weekly.

Ivonne Rosa Batanero

Artistic & Executive Director, Greedy Pumpkin Head Projects |  Miami, FL

Ivonne Batanero, choreographer-dancer, was born in Lima, Peru. She received a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Batanero is a three-time commissioned artist by Miami Light Project for their annual Here and Now Festival. She dances with Rosie Herrera Dance Theater and Adele Myers and Dancers and was awarded a grant by the Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs for the 2016-2017 Dance Miami Choreographers Program. Batanero, also, run the community initiative, Greedy Pumpkin Head Projects, whose mission is to support the professional development of the Miami dance scene.

Patsy Diaz

Cultural Partnerships Coordinator, Chicago Park District | Chicago, IL

Patsy Diaz is a Xicana arts administrator, educator, & designer. Born and raised on the south side of Chicago, she recognizes the urgency and importance of art as a tool for social change and the impact it can have for herself and the communities she belongs to and works alongside. Diaz earned an MA in Art Education from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 2014, she has been working with the Chicago Park District supporting community arts partnerships, cultural stewardship, and civic engagement initiatives across the city’s parks and cultural centers.

William Estrada

Chicago ACT Collective | Cicero, IL

William Estrada grew up assembling memories in California, Mexico, and Chicago. His teaching and art making practice focus on exploring inequity, migration, historical passivity, cultural recognition, self-preservation and media representation in marginalized communities. They document and engage experiences in public spaces to transform, question, and make connections to established and organic systems through discussion, creation, and amplification of stories through creativity already present. His current research is focused on developing community based and culturally relevant art projects that center power structures of race, economy, and cultural access in contested spaces. He is part of the Chicago ACT Collective.

Estefanía Fadul

Stage Director & Producer | Brooklyn, NY

Estefanía Fadul is a Colombian-born, NH-raised, NYC-based stage director and producer. Recent directing includes Scissoring by Christina Quintana (INTAR) and Pranayama by James Anthony Tyler (Juilliard). She has developed work at Playwrights’ Realm, Drama League, Milagro, Artists Rep, and Hi-Arts, among others. Estefanía is a National Directing Fellow at the O’Neill Theatre Center, an alumna of the Drama League Directors Project, the Foeller Fellowship at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, and a member of the New Georges Jam, the Latinx Theatre Commons steering committee, and the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. B.A. Vassar College.

Tracy Fenix

Visual AIDS | Culture Pass | Brooklyn, NY

Tracy Fenix is the Artist+Registry & Archive Associate at Visual AIDS and the Community Programming Coordinator at Culture Pass, Brooklyn Public Library in New York City. Previously, Fenix served as the Curatorial Fellow at Wave Hill in the Bronx, NY, where they were responsible for coordinating exhibitions and programs including Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness. Fenix was a recent 2017 fellow at The Art and Law Program in New York and an 2017 Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellow at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute. Fenix is a graduate from the University of Texas at Austin.

Danny Flores Anguiano

Palmetto Luna Arts | Columbia, SC

Danny Flores is a 20 year-old, trans artist and activist. He was born in Mexico and has lived in Columbia, SC, for 16 years. As a DACA recipient and son of two immigrant parents, he generally focuses his art and activism on Latinx/immigrant and LGBTQ issues. His artistic career began at age 17 when his short film, Freak of Nature, was screened at the Indie Grits Film Festival. In 2016, he designed La Jotería, a spin on la Lotería, which was featured on Remezcla. Most recently, he envisioned and realized the first Queer Latinx float at South Carolina Pride 2019 and had the privilege of serving as Grand Marshal of the Parade.

Galileo Jose Gonzalez

Visual Artist | San Antonio, TX

Galileo Gonzalez is an artist from Southeast Los Angeles and is now based in San Antonio. He earned his BFA in Drawing & Painting from California State University, Long Beach. Much of his recent work deals with the Salvadoran Civil War and his diaspora experience. He has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout Southern California such as PÄS Gallery, AVD Gallery, Cerritos College Art Gallery, and the Museum of Latin American Art, as well as Fathom Space in Montana. His work is also part of the Cerritos College Art Gallery permanent collection and the Enrique Serrato collection.

Annabel Guevara

Manager of Executive Office Programs, Theatre Communications Group | New York City, NY

Annabel Guevara is a New York City-based arts administrator with over eight years of experience in the theatre not-for-profit field. She is currently Manager of Executive Office Programs at Theatre Communications Group (TCG). Annabel supports TCG’s Executive Office in many operational capacities and has been instrumental in moving the organization’s internal Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) work forward. Annabel formerly served as the Community Programming Coordinator at the Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin, TX from 2010-2013. She is from the border city of Laredo, Texas.

Angelina Gurule

Marketing Coordinator, Su Teatro | Denver, CO

Angelina has been a Singer/Actor/Staff at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center since 2010. Her passion for music and the arts kept her grounded in her community while she simultaneously grew her career in digital marketing. In 2018, Angelina started full-time as the Marketing Coordinator at Su Teatro and is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Communication & Leadership at Gonzaga University, with an emphasis in college teaching. With a diverse set of interests, Angelina hopes to continue promote the values of Su Teatro and set an example for future generations. She is also a certified yoga instructor.

Niurca Marquez

Artist-Researcher | Miami, FL

Niurca Márquez is an artist/researcher whose work is fed by her diverse experiences as a dancer/bailaora, scholar and woman of unending curiosity. She is particularly interested in notions of identity, cultural memory and ritual in flamenco within a contemporary framework, as well as the multiple layers of communication and understanding in the form and how these relate to social discourse and processes of decolonization. Her approach is based on her understanding of the thought-body and of a variety of somatic techniques that is both conceptual and empirical, informed by her hybrid/liminal sense of self. She is one of TCG’s Rising Leaders of Color 2019 cohort #4.

Arlene Mejorado

Teaching Artist, Las Fotos Project | Los Angeles, CA

Arlene Mejorado is an artist based in Los Angeles, California. Currently a Magnum Foundation fellow, she is also a teaching artist at Las Fotos Project and a member of Women Photograph. Mejorado has worked on assignment for The California Sunday Magazine, Buzzfeed and Remezcla. Her photography can be seen in Vice, Los Angeles Times, and NPR. Mejorado co-authored Femme Frontera which was awarded the 2018 Independent Photo Book award by the Lucie Foundation. As the daughter of migrants, she is inspired to build new visual narratives around migration, diaspora, gender, and culture with an emphasis on collaboration and experimentation.

Palén Obesa

Administrator/ Director’s Assistant, Coronado Print Studio | Bronx, NY

Palén Obesa [Paloma Leida Natividad Obergh Santos] is a Dominican visual artist who works and lives in the Bronx, NY. She received her BFA in painting and drawing, and minor in art history at SUNY Purchase College in 2017. Through her practice, Obesa explores multiple themes that can be controversial, ominous or too complex to discuss. By doing so, she hopes to open wider and less biased conversations about them. By addressing patriotism and cultural identity, she also comments on the hybrid society of immigrants who are struggling with cultural assimilation, language acquisition and racism.

Liset Puentes

Development Associate, Milagro | Portland, OR

Liset is from Las Vegas, Nevada and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. She works at Milagro as the Development Associate. She is a University of Nevada, Reno graduate with a BA in Journalism. Liset grew up in Los Angeles where she was exposed to the arts. Her love of storytelling compelled her to study journalism. She was part of UNR’s first cohort of bilingual journalists through Noticiero Móvil. After graduating she managed the Ozmen Center for Entrepreneurship at UNR and organized the college’s first bilingual event. Liset enjoys community building, event planning, and fundraising to support a diverse arts community.

Elisa Lucía García Radcliffe

Arts Learning Manager, Arizona Commission on the Arts | Phoenix, AZ

Elisa Radcliffe is an arts administrator, educator and movement artist who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Elisa is currently the Arts Learning Manager at the Arizona Commission on the Arts, overseeing the Arts Commission’s comprehensive slate of Arts Learning grantmaking, programs, partnerships, and strategic initiatives. Prior to working at the Arts Commission, Elisa worked as a dance educator for twelve years in the Phoenix Union High School District. Elisa serves as a board member for RE:FRAME Youth Arts Center, a place for and by young folx to artistically resist the decentering of their power, rights, and identities.

Cenorina Ramirez

Teacher’s Assistant, Children After School Arts (CASA) | Oakland, CA

Cenorina was born in Sinaloa and grew up in Arizona. She now resides in Oakland California and received a BFA from California College of the Arts. Cenorina identifies as undocumented and is passionate about social activism. Her visual work grabs from her personal experiences using her traumas to examine social issues of marginalization and inspire education and change. Through her work she illustrates the complexities of identity, mental health, and oppression brought on by colonization. She is and arts educator and runs Mi Casita Press, an artist collective publishing press created to empower and promote qtpoc individuals through print.

Fátima Ramirez

Cultural Arts Manager, Accion Latina | San Francisco, CA

Fátima Ramirez became Cultural Arts Manager for Acción Latina in February 2019, having previously sat on the Curatorial Advisory Council for the Juan R. Fuentes Gallery. She studied Journalism and Latin American Studies at the University of San Francisco and earned a Master’s in Family and Community Education in Museums from Columbia University. Her passion for community storytelling has led her to work in public programming at the Museum of the City of New York; exhibition development at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan; visitor experience at SFMoMA; and most recently development and event planning at Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Isha Mary Renta López

Executive Director, Semilla Cultural | Fredericksburg, VA

Isha Renta was born and raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico but her first experience with Afro-Puerto Rican bomba was in Washington, DC. She began her training in 2007 with ‘Raíces de Borinquen’, as her passion for this genre increased. Isha founded and directs ‘Semilla Cultural’, a non-profit organization shaped by a team of volunteers that educates about bomba through workshops, classes and performances. Isha is also a member of the all-female bomba and plena ensemble, Madre Tierra. Isha is fully committed to preserve and disseminate her culture to empower the communities while she continues her growth in this field.

Adriana Rios

Grants Program Manager, National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC) | San Antonio, TX

Adriana Rios is the Grants Program Manager at NALAC. Prior to her joining NALAC, Adriana worked in the programming departments for various organizations, including the Princess Grace Foundation, and the Tribeca Film Institute. Adriana is a graduate of New York University where she had the opportunity to study Film & Television Production. She has served on panels for the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fusion Film Festival. As an advocate for the arts and great stories, Adriana works to develop resources and visibility for underrepresented artists.

Ismanuel Rodriguez Soto

Artistic Director & Co-producer, Tantai Teatro PR | San Juan, PR

Ismanuel was born in Bayamón, PR, on November 6, 1980. He has a BA in theatre from the University of Kent at Canterbury (UK). He completed a Masters in Performing Arts at the Rey Juan Carlos University, Madrid. Ismanuel taught at the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla and at Colegio Marista. Ismanuel is also a founding partner of Tantai Teatro Puerto Rico where he serves as Artistic Director and Co-producer. In addition, Ismanuel works as a freelance scenic director and lighting designer for many companies on the island.

Josue Esau

Woodshop Technician, SAY Sí | San Antonio, TX

Current generalizations of identity depend on rigid boundaries of culture, nationality, and locationality. As an immigrant, Josué Esau personally understands the repercussions of these borders. In retaliation, he practices the erosion of monolithic narratives in favor of fluid identities based on lived experience.

Nelda Liliana Ruiz Calles

Program Coordinator, Southwest Folklife Alliance | Tucson, AZ

Nelda Ruiz is a community organizer/cultural worker from the Sonoran borderlands. Nelda is passionate about environmental/social justice, making sustainability accessible, and building community capacity throughout the south side of Tucson. Since 2010, she’s been an organizer with Tierra Y Libertad, working to build bridges to connect residents of marginalized communities to the resources they need to foster health, personal growth, and well-being of their families. In 2017, Nelda joined the team at the Southwest Folklife Alliance, where she serves as an arts administrator and educator managing community-based ethnographic documentation projects that highlight the diverse cultures and traditional knowledge in southern Arizona’s indigenous, Mexicano/Chicano communities.

Annie Y. Saldaña Matías

Founder, PRISMA Art Projects | Carolina, PR

Born in Puerto Rico, 1987. Graduated 2009 from a BA in Graphics Arts/Printmaking from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR). Graduated from Miami Art Institute in 2012 from an MFA in Photography. Worked as curator and gallery coordinator in Vargas Gallery and taught photography at Vargas University. In Puerto Rico, teaches photography, works as studio manager of Foto Atelier, while running PRISMA Art Projects where she organizes art exhibitions and cultural events. She has introduced the global movement Free Art Fridays to Puerto Rico and has participated in many solo and group exhibitions in Puerto Rico, USA, UK and Mexico.


Mark Salinas

Director, Department of Arts & Culture | Carson City, NV

Salinas is a governor-appointed Board Member of the Nevada Arts Council and a 2019 recipient of the Nevada Humanities Rising Star Award.  Prior to relocating to Nevada in 2016, Mark Salinas lived in New York City for 19 years working at PaceWildenstein Gallery, Brooklyn Art Museum, and the World Trade Center Site Memorial Design Competition. Salinas holds degrees from Washington University in St. Louis (Sculpture), Parsons School of Design in New York City (Fashion Design), and Central St. Martins in London (Tailoring). He has been awarded public art commissions in Times Square and artist residencies in Scotland and France.


Jenea Sanchez

Founder & Board Member, Border Arts Corridor (BAC) | Douglas, AZ
M. Jenea Sanchez was born and raised in Douglas, AZ / Agua Prieta, SON. After receiving her MFA from Arizona State University in 2011, she returned to Douglas to pursue her career as an artist and educator. She is currently a faculty member at Cochise College in the Digital Media Arts Program and is the founder of Border Arts Corridor (BAC), a 501 (c) 3 non-profit arts organization providing the borderlands community an immersive arts district through bi-national artwalks, workshops, performances, public dialogues and artist residencies.


Paula Sanchez-Kucukozer

Lead Organizer, SonJarocho.Mx | Bayside, NY

Paula Sánchez-Kucukozer is a Mexican-born educator based in New York City. She holds a Master’s degree in Foreign Language Education from NYU and has taught Spanish in a variety of educational settings for 15 years. Both a Mexican folk musician and dancer, Paula is a founding member of Son Pecadores, a collective dedicated to promoting the musical tradition of son jarocho. Paula has organized the annual “Encuentro de Soneros en NY” for the past five years, and a dozen workshops and special events featuring visiting artists from Mexico. She is actively involved in different community events and organizations.


Rene Soto Villagran

Owner & Director, Rene Sot Gallery | Stamford, CT

Born in 1986 in Guatemala, graduated as a Physical Education teacher, Rene Soto came to Connecticut , U.S. in 2011. He trained with Greenwich Arts Society, and his work was exhibited in many galleries and museums. He founded Latincolors, a bi-lingual Magazine to promote arts/culture and education. He was named Latino of the Year in 2017 by Mayor David Martin in Stamford, CT. In 2018 he opened a Gallery, a platform for immigrant artists. He is a benefactor of Caring with Grace, fighting against childhood cancer; Stepping Stones Museum for children, helping to becoming bilingual, and Senior Center with art classes.flict


Bernardo Vallarino

Coordinator & Director, Fort Worth Art Collective | Fort Worth, TX

I am a Colombian-American mix media sculptor and installation artist interested in geopolitical issues of violence and human suffering. My inspiration comes from observations of the hypocrisy that exists between the rhetoric of human life value and the violent behavior of humanity striving to engage the audience visually but also morally and philosophically. I have a solid record of solo, juried and group exhibitions as well as local and international recognition. I graduated with a BFA in sculpture from TCU, an MFA from TWU. Currently, I am the coordinator of Fort Worth Art Collective and board member of Art Room.


Mav Vasquez

Executive Director, Motor City Street Dance Academy | Detroit, MI

Native to Southwest Detroit, Benito “Mav One” Vasquez came up at a time when hip-hop was a cultural norm in the late ‘90s. By 2004 all of the spaces had closed off hip-hop programming. Reverting back to garages Mav continued practicing his craft. Wishing to build the scene in later years he began teaching in 2008 around his community. By 2016 Mav created Motor City Street Dance Academy and Fresh Classics. Mav has earned a space nationally as an ambassador for Detroit hip hop. Carrying the legacy and traditions of a strong and resilient city with him wherever he travels.


Miranda Ynez Rivera

Project Manager, Self Help Graphics & Art | Los Angeles, CA

Born and Raised in East Los Angeles, Miranda Ynez is an Arts Management professional committed to social equity and increasing participation in arts, culture, and education within communities of color. Her passion for the arts and culture have encouraged her to advocate the values of communities and maintain the identity and voice of the neighborhood. Her experience working in the creative economy has shaped her into an arts leader trained in art history, arts education, exhibition programming, nonprofit organizational structure, and artist management. She was nominated to be in the 2018 Activate Arts Leadership Program through Arts for LA.


The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field. In this capacity, NALAC stimulates and facilitates intergenerational dialogues among disciplines, languages, and traditional and contemporary expressions.

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Jenna Gonzales, jgonzalez@nalac.org, 210.432.3982

Gabriel Magraner, gmagraner@nalac.org