Bert Acoma Portal 3 Image3 webpageNFA Grantee, Guillermo Bert
Houston Latino Arts Research Initiative - A Call to Collaborate: Continued Inequity in Funding of Houston Latinx Arts Organizations

In 2016, upon the request of several Houston arts and community leaders, the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), launched a research initiative to survey and assess the state of the ecosystem of Latino arts and cultural communities in Houston to inform possible next steps by stakeholders in the areas of professional artistic development, collaborative arts advocacy, and policies of arts funding. The intent is to provide information that is useful in advancing collaborative efforts aimed at strengthening the capacity, economic growth, and impact of the Latino arts field in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city.

The scope of the study included Houston Hotel Occupancy Tax funds, four prominent Houston foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Texas Commission on the Arts. The findings are shared with all stakeholders in order to promote the building of collaborative next steps, new initiatives that will lead to equity in funding policies and practices.  The finding of the study were presented to the public at a press conference held at the Houston City Hall in the Legacy Room on September 14, 2018.

Access the report here: "A Call to Collaborate: Continued Inequity in Funding Houston Latinx Arts Organizations (2010 - 2015)"

Michigan Latino Arts Initiative – Building Equal Voice for the Growing Latino Population in Michigan through Arts and Culture

The development and implementation of the 21-month Michigan Latino Arts Initiative generated great momentum. To date, NALAC has hosted 2 statewide conferences in Michigan, including the 2015 Regional Arts Training Workshop in Detroit, (90 attendees), 2016 Michigan Latinx Summit (150 attendees). We co-hosted a Detroit Performance Exchange for youth and a Pre-Concert Community Reception with Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán in Ann Arbor. During statewide tours, we conducted 18 site visits, workshops, and networking events in 8 cities. Seven grants were awarded to Michigan based arts organizations ($36,500), we developed 13 new partnerships, sponsored nine individual leadership development opportunities for Michigan artists, and added over 324 new contacts from throughout the state. Two arts professionals from Michigan were selected from among 325+ applicants to participate in the inaugural year of the Intercultural Leadership Institute 3-part program. Four artists and alumni from Michigan presented their work at the 30th and 31st Regional Arts Training Workshops in Texas and North Carolina; and one artist served on the advisory committee for a NALAC National Stakeholders Meeting.

NALAC’s statewide outreac set the groundwork for the Research phase of our multi-platform strategy for investing in Latinx arts communities. With hundreds of new contacts and new relationships, NALAC and Michigan artist communities are well positioned to engage in a mutually beneficial asset mapping study to discover what resources are benefiting Michigan arts practitioners, as well as what areas can benefit from further support.  Learn more here: NALAC Michigan Initiative

National Conversations: Building Latino Leadership, Cultural Equity and Creative Innovation

Between 2010 and 2012 NALAC conducted six National Conversations to examine innovations, promote national dialogue and gather information on how demographic shifts and economic conditions are affecting the leadership structures, artistic production, organizational capacity and cultural equity in Latino communities. The first three conversations were convened in January 2010 in New York, San Antonio and Philadelphia. These historic conversations resulted in the publication of three white papers (now christened by NALAC as brown papers) that were presented to a national audience at NALAC's 7th National Conference in San Jose, California. NALAC convened the second iteration of National Conversations in 2011-2012 in San Francisco, Chicago and Miami to gather additional perspectives from the diverse national Latino arts sector. Each conversation was followed by a Town Hall meeting to gather feedback from the arts community in each city. NALAC invited accomplished Latino artists, leaders, legends, scholars and others from around the country to participate in its groundbreaking National Conversations Project in order to identify solutions to issues of capitalization, next generation leadership development and capacity building. After the 2010 sessions, acclaimed journalist Elizabeth Mendez Berry, whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Vibe, the Village Voice, Smithsonian, The Nation, Time, among many others, prepared a series of three brown papers edited by Dr. Maribel Alvarez. The three papers are “Aesthetics”, “Leadership”, and “Organizations.”

2009-2010 Organization and Artists Economic Survey Analysis

In response to the economic downturn in 2008, NALAC conducted a series of surveys in 2009 and 2010 to assess the economic condition of Latino artists and arts and culture organizations. The data collected shows that the Latino arts field experienced significant decreases and delays in funding, diminished revenue and reductions in staff and programs. Additionally, the results indicate that a significant number of Latino artists surveyed experienced an increase in requests to donate performances, to absorb production expenses and to provide their own equipment and labor in order to present their work. Both artists and organizations explored different strategies to maintain artistic production and provide much-needed programs and services despite harsh economic conditions.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Survey Analysis

In order to measure the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding on Latino arts and culture organizations, NALAC conducted a survey focused on the distribution of National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) ARRA grants to Latino organizations. A total of 96 Latino organizations participated in this survey.

Nebraska Arts Council Latino Arts Initiative: Composite Report Listening Sessions August 22-25, 2005

The Nebraska Arts Council initiated the Latino Arts Initiative in 2005 in an effort to help develop a comprehensive strategy for providing services to the Latino arts field in Nebraska.  A ten member Steering Committee representing organizations from across the state was formed to facilitate local connections, and NALAC supported outreach efforts to identify Latino artists and organizations and assess their needs. A series of listening sessions were held.  NALAC prepared a synopsis of the sessions based on observations and our conversations with artists and community representatives from across the state.  The report made suggestions for the Nebraska Arts Council to promote an environment of meaningful support to the Latino arts community and promote diversity.

Latino Arts and Cultural Organizations in the United States: A Historical Survey and Current Assessment

Beginning in 1995, NALAC undertook the necessary task of collecting data on constituent Latino arts organizations throughout the nation. As the first ever national study of its kind, the survey and assessment was a response to the lack of factual data and general information that existed on Latino arts and cultural organizations. Through this research NALAC fulfilled the need to know its constituency better, and fostered mutual understanding among Latino arts and culture organizations and gave others the opportunity to gain insight into this often unrecognized community. During the first phase, two field researchers conducted in-person interviews with 43 organizations throughout the nation. A survey instrument was designed and distributed to each of these organizations. Whereas this first phase consisted of data collection and documentation, the second phase involved some data analysis so as to identify significant conditions and trends that have possible implications for policy. The summary report is based on this research, which focused on the history, development, current conditions and future prospects of these organizations with the goal of documenting this information for further analysis and synthesis. Interviews were divided into two geographic areas- the Southwest/West Coast Region and East Coast/Chicago Region, and the report compiled and synthesized information on key areas such as history, mission, current status, funding, governance, programs, audiences and issues which provided a thorough collective profile of the organizations in that region. The research showed certain unmistakable trends and conditions that have confronted and challenged Latino arts organizations.