Wednesday, 05 July 2017 23:12


Building Collective and Individual Capacities through the NALAC Leadership Institute


San Antonio, TX – At the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), we believe in striving towards a cultural horizon that truly values and includes the varied contributions of Latinx arts and cultures. This requires both a political and social context where Latinx artists, culture bearers, and diverse communities can deepen their interaction, feel secure in their advancement, and continue to uplift their place within the arts and within our nation itself.


One of the most important ways to shape this context is through the development of not just our own individual capacities, but through the evolvement of our shared competencies also. As in years past, this is our goal at 17th edition of the NALAC Leadership Institute (NLI). Through sessions ranging from hands-on practical workshops to macro discussions of key issues like systematized power, NLI Fellows emerge with a better understanding of the spheres in which they operate, and the many ways they can engender change. Fellows tackle questions of identification, belonging, aesthetics and social justice, while engaging an array of skills necessary for a strong administrative and artistic practice.


Previous Fellows have come away from the NLI with a deep appreciation for this balanced approach  and for the ways in which it prepares them for the work ahead. One alum described  her experience by saying, “We were challenged to ask ourselves: What is worth winning? What would be lost if we are not doing it? How is more possible?”


This year, NALAC is excited to welcome 28 Fellows from 14 states to San Antonio. For the first time, the Leadership Institute will be hosted at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, which is led by alumna Cristina Ballí (NLI ’04) and located on the vibrant West Side of San Antonio. Similarly, Fellows will visit strong cultural institutions that are also led by NALAC alumni at San Anto Cultural Arts and SAY Sí. The 2017 Graduation Keynote Address will be held at the McNay Art Museum, which recently welcomed the Museum’s first director with Latin American heritage, Dr. Richard Aste. By weaving these amazing Latinx led, San Antonio institutions together into the work and experiences of our new 28 Fellows, we believe all participants will come away with new knowledge and deeper appreciation  of how to thrive in the space of arts and cultures. To seal this week of shared learning, NALAC is excited to welcome Dr. Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Senior Curator at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, who will deliver the 2017 NLI Keynote Address . Dr. Aranda-Alvarado is currently working on A Brief History of (Some) Things, an exhibition exploring the persistence of Mesoamerican and Indigenous Caribbean imagery in contemporary art. The keynote is open to the public and anyone can RSVP here:


Through valuable programming like the signature Leadership Institute, NALAC advocates for improved access to resources, provides opportunities for transformational leadership, helps build a national network that supports an ongoing creative process, and contributes toward a national dialogue to affect and transform policies impacting the Latino arts and culture field and the larger communities they serve. The effects of the NLI go beyond the week itself. As part of our holistic approach to capacity building, our 2017 Fellows will join an already strong network of alumni. The NALAC alumni network is made up of over 350 artists, advocates, and arts administrators who represent over 200 organizations and 100 cities in 35 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.


The 2017 NALAC Leadership Institute is made possible thanks to generous support by Southwest Airlines, National Endowment for the Arts, Surdna Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, McNay Art Museum, SAY Sí, Magdalena McCall, individual donors, NALAC members and volunteers.

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