NALAC announces 2021 Advocacy Fellows

Meet the twenty-one artists and arts administrators participating in this spring’s NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute

March 12, 2021 – San Antonio, TX — The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures announces this year’s cohort of artists and cultural workers participating in its annual Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI). Since 2009, NALAC has traveled to Washington D.C. each year to advocate on behalf of artists and the nonprofit arts field.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s gathering will take place online in March and April 2021. With the support of faculty and staff, fellows will participate in a series of preparatory webinars laying the groundwork for a virtual advocacy intensive where fellows will meet with congressional leaders and staff from federal agencies working in cultural policy.

“While they work across various approaches and mediums, this year’s fellows share a commitment to building a more equitable arts field and uphold creativity as a powerful tool for social justice,” said Monica A. Sosa, Program Manager of Leadership Institutes at NALAC. Through the course of the program, fellows will sharpen their individual advocacy priorities and plans in preparation for virtual DC meetings.

The twenty-one fellows represent communities in Arizona, California, Connecticut, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute is made possible in part thanks to support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Surdna Foundation, and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute, 2021 Fellows 

Amber Rose Jimenez, Race Forward (Seattle, WA)

Angelica D. GorrioMarinera CT (Stamford, CT)

Arturo MartinezTarrant County College District (Fort Worth, TX) 

Ben Cuevas, Artist (Los Angeles, CA)

Brianna Lynn Hernández, Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN) (Milwaukee, WI)

Diana Ramos Gutiérrez, Vieques Film and Human Rights Festival  (Vieques, PR)

Estefanía FadulTheatre Director & Producer (Brooklyn, NY) 

George Reyes, LAUSD Laurel Cinematic Arts and Creative Technologies Magnet (West Hollywood, CA)

Gregory Youdan Jr.Dance/NYC (New York, NY) 

Héctor Flores Jr.New York Theatre Barn (New York, NY)

Josuè Ramírez / RawmirezTrucha RGV (McAllen, TX)

Kristal Sotomayor, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival (Zelionople, PA)

Mark Steel Wool SalinasPublic Art Consultant (Reno, NV)

Melissa San MiguelIndependent Researcher (San Francisco, CA)

Norma Chairez-Hartell, Murals of Las Cruces / Las Cruces City Museums (Las Cruces, NM) 

Philip Alejo, Fred Fox School of Music, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ) 

Reynaldo Piniella, Actor, Writer and Director (Brooklyn, NY) 

Ruby Morales, CONTRA-TIEMPO (Glendale, AZ) 

Soldanela Rivera / Sol, Communications Executive and Producer (Bronx, NY) 

Tizziana Baldenebro, SPACES (Cleveland, OH) 

Zuly Inirio, Afro-Dominican Soprano & Activist (Pittsburgh, PA)

Fellow Biographies 

Amber Rose Jimenez, Race Forward; Consultant, Government Alliance on Racial Equity (Seattle, WA)  

Amber Rose Jimenez (she/her) is a creative strategist and artist living in Seattle, Washington. Amber Rose recently worked for the City of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture where she advised on racial equity in cultural investments, community engagement, and public art. Previously, she managed community programs at Seattle Foundation and helped to launch the Vibrant Democracy Initiative in partnership with King County Elections. Born and raised in Los Angeles to working class parents, Amber Rose is inspired by the power, leadership and creativity of the Latinx community. She studied philosophy and political science at Seattle Pacific University. 

 

Angelica D. GorrioMarinera CT; Founder (Stamford, CT)  

Angelica Gorrio was born in Lima, Peru. She is a firstgeneration college graduate and received a Bachelor of Arts from Sacred Heart University. Gorrio worked as a producer in one of NY’s top Spanish-language radio stations and owned a digital arts studio before deciding to follow her passion of folk and traditional arts. In 2018 she founded a traditional Peruvian Dance group Marinera CT, the first Hispanic group invited to perform in the 26th Annual Holiday Parade of the city of Stamford. Gorrio’s paintings depicting her Peruvian culture have also been chosen by the city as part of an art exhibition around the city. 

 

Arturo Martinez, Tarrant County College District; District Director of Creative Services (Fort Worth, TX)  

Arturo Martinez (he/his) is a nationally award-winning designer and culturally-connected strategist with a deep understanding of graphic design, marketing, and brand strategy. He brings rich and diverse experience conceptualizing creative ideas. He has been designing professionally since 1998, managing the creation and execution of marketing collateral for a diverse range of organizations, including small business startups, large corporations and non-profits. He holds a B.F.A. degree from Sul Ross State University specializing in Visual Communications with a minor in Mathematics. He currently serves as the Director of Creative Services with Tarrant County College District in the Public Relations and Marketing Department. 

 

Ben Cuevas, Artist (Los Angeles, CA) 

Ben Cuevas (He/him and/or they/them) is a Los Angeles based artist working in textiles, sculpture, installation, photography, video, sound, and performance. His practice underscores queer/feminist ideologies, with a focus on the condition of embodiment. Born in Southern California in 1987, he received a BA in Mixed Media Installation Art from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (2010). He was artist in residence at the Wassaic Project in New York State (2010) and BoxoPROJECTS in Joshua Tree, CA (2019). As a queer, non-binary, HIV-positive, Latinx artist, identity directly influences his work, which he often uses to raise awareness highlighting the personal as political. 

  

Brianna Lynn Hernández, Milwaukee Artist Resource Network (MARN); Director of Cultural Transformation (Milwaukee, WI)  

Brianna Lynn Hernández (she/her/ella) is a Chicana artist, curator, and educator guided by socially-engaged practices. In the studio, Brianna creates installations through several mediums including large-scale charcoal drawings, video art, and performances. Brianna’s current work focuses on the experience of providing end-of-life care and subsequent grieving process which offers workshops and takeaway resources for viewers to self-educate through the safety of the creative process. As a curator, Brianna works with artists to make socially-charged topics publicly accessible in order to create opportunities for education and empathy and collaborates with community health researchers to incorporate the arts into public health projects. 

 

Diana Ramos Gutiérrez, Vieques Film and Human Rights Festival; Director (Vieques, PR)  

Diana Ramos Gutiérrez is a culture and human rights advocate and arts administrator based in Vieques, Puerto Rico. As a cultural journalist, social media specialist, and photographer, Ramos-Gutiérrez collaborates with independent media in Latin America and Radio Vieques, a community radio station. She is also part of the advisory board of the Vieques Historical Archive, a community-based organization that builds participation around historical materials and Viequense cultural heritage. There, she develops educational programs. She is also director of the Vieques Film and Human Rights Festival. 

 

Estefanía Fadul, Theatre Director & Producer (Brooklyn, NY)  

Estefanía Fadul (she/her) is a Colombian-American theater artist. Recent directing: Carla’s Quince with The Voting Project, Zoom Intervention by Noelle Viñas (NYTimes Critics’ Pick), Christina Quintana’s Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR), Agent 355 by Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska (Chautauqua, MTF, NYSAF), and Pranayama by James Anthony Tyler (Julliard). Fellowships/Awards/Alumna: NYSAF Pfaelzer Award, National Directors Fellowship, Drama League Directors Project, Foeller Fellowship (Williamstown Theater Festival), Van Lier Fellowship (Repertorio Español), NALAC Leadership Institute. Member: New Georges Jam, CPCP collaborator cohort, Drama League Directors Council, Latinx Theatre Commons advisory committee, Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab. SDC. BA: Vassar College. 

 

George Reyes, LAUSD Laurel Cinematic Arts and Creative Technologies Magnet; Magnet Coordinator (West Hollywood, CA)  

Born to Colombian immigrants, George Reyes (he/him) graduated from Harvard (BA), NYU (MFA) and Cal State (M.Ed). He was director of the Teen Media Program in Cambridge, MA where he founded a youth film festival and production company. He has directed, shot, produced and edited short films and a documentary feature that have been recognized nationally and internationally. George was director of International Programs at NY Film Academy, professor of film at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City and is currently the founding magnet coordinator and instructor at the Laurel Cinematic Arts and Creative Technologies Magnet in LA (a K-8 public school). 

 

Gregory Youdan Jr., Dance/NYC; Research and Advocacy Coordinator (New York, NY)  

Gregory Youdan Jr. (he/him) works at the intersection of dance, science and advocacy. He identifies as a gay, latinx, non-disabled, cisgender Dominican American. As a dancer, he toured domestically and internationally for over 13 years. Greg is a graduate of the dance program at Hofstra University and holds Masters degrees in motor learning/motor control and applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Greg is the research and advocacy coordinator for Dance/NYC. He capitalizes on his dance and research experience to advocate for dance at the City and State levels with Dance/NYC while promoting the organizational values of justice, equity and inclusion. 

 

Héctor Flores Jr., New York Theatre Barn; President of Theatre Barn Records (New York City, NY) 

Héctor Flores Jr. (he/him) is a multi-hyphenate Latino theatre professional whose work meets at the intersection of art and advocacy.  Héctor was born in New Jersey and raised by his Puerto Rican grandmother and his single mom. Luckily his mother believes in cultural enrichment & education which instilled a hunger for knowledge, art and change within him. The artform that chose him, however, wasn’t made in his image. After being a first-generation college graduate Flores embarked on a career in musical theatre that continues to inspire him to find new ways to break barriers for Latinx people. 

 

Josuè Ramírez / RawmirezTrucha RGV; Cultural Organizer (McAllen, TX)  

Josuè Ramírez (Rawmirez) (he/him) is a multidisciplinary artist practicing in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas Mexico border. Originally from Ciudad Mante Tamaulipas, Mexico, Josué migrated to the US with his family. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Mexican American Studies. Josué is the program director at come dream. come build, where he advocates for fair housing in rural communities. He is a founder and the Director of Raw Creativity for Trucha, an online platform and cultural collective. Rawmire’z work investigates relationships between identity, meaning, and the borderlands through piñateria. 

 

Kristal Sotomayor, Philadelphia Latino Film Festival; Programming Director (Zelienople, PA) 

Kristal Sotomayor (they/she) is a bilingual Latinx filmmaker, programmer, and journalist based in Philadelphia. Currently, they are in post-production on Expanding Sanctuary, a documentary about the historic end to police surveillance organized by nonprofit Juntos and the Latinx immigrant community in South Philadelphia. Kristal is a DCTV Docu Work-In-Progress Lab Fellow, IF/Then North Shorts Resident, Justice For My Sister Sci-Fi Screenwriting Lab Fellow, Good Pitch Local: Philadelphia Fellow, and 2017 NeXtDoc Fellow. They serve as the Programming Director of the Philadelphia Latino Film Festival and Co-Founder of ¡Presente! Media. Formerly, Kristal was the Communications and Outreach Coordinator at Scribe Video Center. 

 

Mark Steel Wool Salinas, Public Art Consultant (Reno, NV) 

Mark Steel Wool Salinas (he/him) resides in Reno, Nevada providing public art consulting and program management for clients such as Smart Growth America, Forecast Public Art, the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the Nevada State Museum, and First Lady Kathy Sisolak. Mark is the former founding Director of the Carson City Department of Arts & Culture. He serves on the boards of Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Advisory Council, the Nevada Arts Council, the City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission, and the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts. Mark is the 2019 recipient of the Nevada Humanities Rising Star Award. 

 

Melissa San Miguel, Independent Researcher (San Francisco, CA)  

Melissa San Miguel (she/her) is a Latina cultural worker born and raised in the Mission district of San Francisco to Peruvian, working-class immigrants. A strong advocate for cultural equity, Melissa served as a Grant Panelist for the San Francisco Arts Commission and a Teaching Artist. As a researcher, Melissa has worked on Latinx art exhibits and history projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Previously, she served as a legislative advocate for children in foster care and low-income youth. Melissa graduated as Class Valedictorian in Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. 

 

Norma Chairez-Hartell, Murals of Las Cruces / Las Cruces City Museums; Founder / Exhibit Coordinator (Las Cruces, NM)  

Born in Mexico, Norma Hartell (she/her) and her family moved to the United States when she was only seven. While being raised in the US/Mexico border she gained an interest in learning about her roots. In 2010, Norma graduated from NMSU with BFA and graduated with an MA in Anthropology in 2016 where she focused on highlighting the visual arts of Southern NM. On May 26, 2015, she listed Chope’s Town Café and Bar on the National Register of Historic Places. Norma is the founder of Murals of Las Cruces project and also works as a City of Las Cruces Museum Curator. 

 

Philip Alejo, Fred Fox School of Music, University of Arizona; Associate Professor of Music (Tucson, AZ)  

Philip Alejo (he/him) is an Associate Professor of Music (Double Bass) at the University of Arizona and Artist Faculty at the Bay View Music Festival. Philip collaborates regularly with harpist Claire Happel in River Town Duo, which released a recording of new commissions in January 2021, sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Philip additionally teaches at the Arizona ASTA Bass Jams and the Richard Davis Bass Conference at the University of Wisconsin. He was recently named MusAid Teaching Artist at El Sistema, El Salvador. Philip holds degrees from Oberlin College (BA/BM), Yale University (MM), and University of Michigan (DMA). 

 

Reynaldo Piniella, Actor, Writer and Director (Brooklyn, NY) 

Reynaldo Piniella (he/him) is an actor, writer and director from East New York, Brooklyn. He is a recipient of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship from TCG, the Thomas Barbour award for Playwriting, the All Star Project’s Fellowship for Young Artists of Color, a HB Studio Rehearsal Space Residency and a “Play at Home” commission from Baltimore Center Stage. He is also a member of this year’s cohort of the Civilians R&D Group. As an actor, he’s been previously seen Off-Broadway at Signature Theatre Company, TFANA, the Public, Rattlestick, Working Theater and NYTW Next Door. Follow him @ReynaldoRey. www.reynaldopiniella.com 

 

Ruby Morales, Company Dancer and Social Media Manager for CONTRA-TIEMPODancer for Liz Lerman’s Wicked Bodies; Dancer for Yvonne Montoya (Glendale, AZ)  

Ruby Morales (she/her) is a dance artivist investigating culturally informed teaching methods and her relationship with movement as a bgirl and Mexican influenced cumbia Sonidera. After receiving a BFA from Arizona State University she completed Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute, PISAB’s Undoing Racism Training, and trained in breaking with b-boy House, Ervin Arana, and b-boy Stuntman as well as hip-hop philosophy/theory with YNOT. She’s currently working with Liz Lerman, CONTRA-TIEMPO Activist Dance Theater, and Tucson based artist Yvonne Montoya. She recently premiered her solo work “Café con Leche” and her grant funded evening length show, “Breakin’ Pachanga”. 

 

Soldanela Rivera / Sol, Communications Executive and Producer (Bronx, NY)  

Soldanela Rivera López is a communications executive and producer spanning the fields of dance, film, television, music, theater, and education, and has worked with emerging, established, and world-renowned figures. Soldanela produces Notes From A Native Daughter, an audio blog about arts, culture, and society with figures from the Pan-American experience. She self-published “View For Death” in 2018, and is currently Director of Presidential Strategic Initiatives at Hostos Community College of The City University of New York. Soldanela earned a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in dance and an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University in Arts Administration. 

 

Tizziana Baldenebro, SPACES;  Executive Director (Cleveland, OH)  

Tizziana Baldenebro (she/her) is the Executive Director at SPACES in Cleveland. An arts administrator, curator, writer, and critic, her practice emphasizes critical research and documentation, privileging historically undervalued and underrepresented artists and designers. She served as the 2019-2020 Ford Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, where she became an organizer and activist in the effort to produce more equitable cultural centers that engage diverse audiences. Tizziana received a Master of Architecture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. 

 

Zuly Inirio, Afro-Dominican Soprano & Activist (Pittsburgh, PA)  

Afro-Dominican soprano Zuly Inirio (she/her) is an acclaimed soloist throughout the US and Europe. She brings awareness to Afro-Latinidad in classical music and through her artistry and activism, works toward equity and liberation for BIPOC. She performed Jake Heggie’s Natural Selection where she worked with the composer directly and was the soprano soloist Verdi’s Requiem in Munich under the baton of Massimiliano Murrali. Most recently, she has sung the role of the High Priestess and covered the title role in Verdi’s Aida in Sicily, Italy. Ms. Inirio holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts and a minor in 19th-Century French Literature.

 

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About NALAC

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. For more information about NALAC and its programs please visit www.nalac.org.

 

Program Contact

NALAC, Monica A. Sosa, [email protected]