2013-01-30-0001-mariaMARÍA LÓPEZ DE LEÓN

President and CEO

María López De León is the President, CEO and board member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). In January 2013, President Obama appointed Ms. De León to serve on the National Council on the Arts. In 2012 and 2013, Ms. De León was named among the nation’s Fifty Most Powerful and Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts.


Ms. De León has been with NALAC for eighteen years and has served as Executive Director for fourteen years. Ms. De León has been involved in all aspects of development and implementation of the NALAC programs and strategic initiatives. Under her leadership, NALAC developed and launched three grant programs, the NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA), a grant program for Latino artists and organizations; the Transnational Cultural Remittances (TCR), a grant program for artists and organizations in the U.S., Mexico and Central America; the NALAC Diverse Arts Spaces program, a grant program that supports organizations that are part of the Ford Foundation’s Diverse Art Spaces to expand their Latino programming to diverse audiences and outreach to diverse communities. She has directed the continued development of fifteen editions of the renowned annual Leadership Institute and five convenings of the Advocacy Leadership Institute in Washington, DC; directed the convening of eight NALAC National Conferences and twenty-nine Regional Arts Training Workshops across the country. Under Ms. De León’s leadership, NALAC completed production of Visiones, a six part documentary series on Latino art and culture for PBS and development of accompanying education curriculum distributed to over 35,000 schools. She is leading the efforts to renovate a historic site in San Antonio to serve as NALAC’s national offices and home to a national arts leadership training institute.


Ms. De León is a cultural organizer and practitioner dedicated to strengthening communities through the arts and has multiple years of experience working with Latino artists and arts organizations. She serves on multiple arts and culture policy panels and is a noted speaker and advocate for the arts, cultural equity and social and economic justice.   Ms. De León serves on the board of the First People’s Fund and is an advisory council member of San Anto Cultural Arts and Women of Color in the Arts. She studied Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso.