Tuesday, 06 June 2017 11:15

Meet NALAC's Newest Board Members:

Gabriel Abaroa and Ramón Rivera-Servera


This month, NALAC sat down with our newest board members, Gabriel Abaroa and Ramón Rivera-Servera, to hear their perspectives on the field of arts and cultures. We are proud to have the guidance of a dedicated Board of Directors, and are excited to share their perspectives with our communities. As artists, art administrators, scholars, organizers, and more, our board members shape the work we do so that we can best serve Latinx communities around the country. Ramón Rivera-Servera serves as the Chair of Performance Studies Department and Director of Graduate Studies at Northwestern University, and Gabriel Abaroa is the President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy. Read some of their thoughts below! (Ed. note: Email exchange lightly edited for clarity.)


Rivera Servera Ramon croppedRamón Rivera-Servera
Northwestern University

What are you most excited about or looking forward to as a NALAC Board member?

Ramón Rivera-Servera: I am most excited for the opportunity to work along an impressive group of leaders in our field to make the important work being done by Latinx arts and culture organizations and artists be better recognized and resourced nationally.

GabrielAbaroa headshot cropped webGabriel Abaroa
Latin Recording Academy

Gabriel Abaroa: I felt truly honored when I was invited as a candidate to become a NALAC Board member. My organization, The Latin Recording Academy, and NALAC happen to share similar objectives: seeking to empower the growing U.S. Latino community through the arts. I look forward to working with my peers and am excited to see the impact we will have on the communities we serve.


What do you see as NALAC’s top priority in support of the arts and culture field?

RRS: I see NALAC's approach to require three key strategies: the allocation of recognition and seed funds in support of outstanding Latinx arts and culture practice; advocacy at the local, regional, and national level for Latinx arts and culture; and the training of Latina/o artists and cultural workers to become leaders in developing, resourcing, and advocating for the important work that they and their colleagues do. Of course, these three key functions of NALAC work through the critically important networking platform that the organization has become, as part of a larger community of practitioners and advocates committed to Latinx arts and culture.


GA: The timing could not be more critical. Under the current political circumstances, inclusion and empowerment are two key drivers that will continue to contribute to NALAC’s success and, at the same time, they will be the product of strengthening our efforts to assist and care for a community that presents opportunities for professional growth and allows the arts and culture fields to flourish to unparalleled heights.


How do you describe the value and impact of arts and culture– especially for Latinx communities?

RRS: I am an academic whose research focuses on the ways in which the arts and culture function as the defining core of who we are as communities but also as key rehearsal spaces for what we might become. I see the arts and culture as a vital resource and right; like food, shelter, and water. I see the work of our artists and culture makers to be as much about maintaining a link to our long traditions as communities with complex histories in the United States as about breaking and innovating on those traditions to reimagine Latinx in ways that fuel our most creative and pleasurable trajectories. 


GA: Art and culture in the Latino communities clearly portray our idiosyncrasy from a beautiful, intense and creative perspective. The arts have always gone hand in hand, almost synergistically, as seen with the various distinct Latin roots in music, art and dance. Our culture’s rich and diverse history has played  a huge role in shaping the culture of the U.S., and that role will continue to grow as we continue to provide resources to contribute to its growth.


In what area(s) would you like to see NALAC strengthen its capacity?

RRS: Of course, I am committed to the continued expansion and distribution of resources to artists, especially the availability of funds to ensure the brilliance of our artists is rewarded with the possibility of a livelihood. We ought to make sure we honor the labor of our artists and cultural workers and continue to recognize outstanding work in our field. And lastly, we ought to continue training a new generation of leaders in the field and empower them to take over, to teach us how to do things differently, in an arts and culture landscape that is fast changing. NALAC could be a key resource in ensuring this generational transition and mining the creative potential of a generation committed to what have come before them but also ready to imagine and build forward.


GA: I would like to see NALAC focusing on the youth, the promise of the future, who will face challenges that, unless we help, the government will push to one side. Having a unified voice to protect the arts as an essential part of our society is needed in order to ensure their longevity for generations to come, and NALAC is one of the few voices with the authority to lead the efforts in this regard.


Gabriel Abaroa

Latin Recording Academy
President and CEO
Miami, FL

Gabriel Abaroa is President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy, Inc. since 2002. He has over 35 years’ international business experience with focus on the entertainment arena, with expertise in Latin America, US, and Europe. Previously, he worked for Mexico’s President Press Office and started his own firm, representing clients such as Warner Music, EMI, Sony, Polygram, BMG, Apple Records, and many other entities and association.


Ramón Rivera-Servera

Northwestern University School of Communication
Chair of Performance Studies Department and Director of Graduate Studies
Evanston, IL

Ramón H. Rivera-Servera's research focuses on contemporary performance in North America and the Caribbean with special emphasis on the ways categories of race, gender, and sexuality are negotiated in the process of (im)migration. His work documents a wide array of performance practices ranging from theatre and concert dance to social dance, fashion, and speech.



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