NALAC Announces F. Javier Torres-Campos as Interim CEO and President and Mari Hernandez as Deputy Director

August 31, 2023, SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) announces the appointment of F. Javier Torres-Campos as NALAC interim CEO and president. Additionally, the organization wishes to announce the promotion of Mari Hernandez to NALAC deputy director. Hernandez, who joined the organization in 2022, previously served as the NALAC program manager of leadership institutes and convenings. The announcements come as current CEO and President María López De León, who has led the organization for over twenty-five years, prepares for retirement at the end of this year.  

“I feel deeply honored to have served the Latinx arts and culture community alongside the NALAC board and staff.  The creativity and impact being made throughout the field serve as the cornerstone of NALAC’s endeavors,” stated López De León. “The moment has come for me to gracefully exit, and I am excited about the organization’s forthcoming new era. With their wealth of experience, unwavering passion, and steadfast dedication, Javier and Mari are well-equipped to take our mission into the future.” 

The NALAC board of directors engaged Arts Consulting Group last fall to lead a national search for the next president and CEO to succeed De León upon retirement. The search will continue with the new interim president and CEO fulfilling the organizational leadership duties at this time. De León, in alignment with the NALAC board of directors, will maintain an advisory role to help guide the transition of leadership until her official retirement at the end of the year. 

“The NALAC board wishes María López De León the best and is indebted to her leadership that has transformed NALAC into a powerful advocate for the Latinx arts field and has directly contributed to the advancement of our artists and organizations. Her legacy is undeniable, and she has laid a solid foundation for the future of NALAC,” said Charles Rice-González, NALAC board chairperson. “We are excited and fortunate to have F. Javier Torres-Campos take the reins for this pivotal transition. Not only does he bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of the arts and funding field, but he is also a NALAC-borne leader who came through our NALAC Leadership Institute and was a former board member. His expertise will continue to strengthen our dedication to the Latinx arts and culture field. Additionally, Mari Hernandez is a strong leader and arts administrator with demonstrated proficiency. Javier and Mari have our full confidence, and we look forward to the new opportunities for growth and possibilities at NALAC as we transition into the next phase of the organization.”

Javier Torres-Campos most recently served as the director of Thriving Cultures at the Surdna Foundation, where he designed and implemented a national world-building portfolio of investments. Before his position at Surdna, he served as the director of national grantmaking at ArtPlace America, a ten-year partnership of more than thirteen foundations committed to integrating arts and culture as a core sector for all community development across the United States. Through this partnership, he helped distribute more than $60M to cultural leaders using their skills to strengthen their communities.

Torres-Campos brings over twelve years of philanthropic experience to NALAC with a solid commitment to futures for BIPOC, LGBTQI+, and disabled communities. He is a co-founder of 2043 Ventures (a.k.a. The BIPOC Storytelling Fund) and the Constellations Narrative and Culture Fund. Additionally, he served as a funding and evaluation partner for the Mosaic Network and Fund at the New York Community Trust, as an advisory board member for the Design Studio for Social Intervention, and as chair of the Boston Cultural Council. He is an alum of the NALAC Leadership Institute program and served as a NALAC board member from 2012 to 2015.  

“It’s my honor to step in as interim president & CEO at NALAC alongside Mari Hernandez as deputy director. In the coming year, I look forward to working closely with NALAC’s brilliant staff and board to build on the strong position and legacy that María López De León is leaving for us,” said Torres-Campos. “Together, we will engage stakeholders in co-designing the next evolution of our work, and we will continue to cultivate a cultural landscape that fully values and integrates the essential contributions of our ever-expanding communities of Latinx cultural leaders.” 

Mari Hernandez has over twenty-three years of arts administration experience. She joined the organization in 2022 as the NALAC program manager of leadership institutes and convenings, overseeing the planning and production of NALAC’s professional development programs, including the NALAC Leadership Institute (NLI), NALAC Advocacy Institute (ALI), and facilitated NALAC’s participation in the Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI). As Deputy Director, she will provide expanded leadership support, administration, and organizational development. 

Prior to joining NALAC, Hernandez served as the education manager for the Contemporary at Blue Star, where she developed and provided strategic oversight for the education department. As the program manager at San Anto Cultural Arts, she directed programs to promote human and community growth through the arts. As a practicing artist, Hernandez was a finalist in the 2023 National Portrait Gallery’s Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition and has shown her work locally, nationally, and internationally. She is an alum of NALAC’s Leadership Institute (NLI) and Advocacy Leadership Institute (ALI) programs. 

I am honored to be a part of NALAC’s growth and serve the organization and our community in a new, meaningful role. Words cannot express my gratitude towards Maria for her years of unwavering leadership and advocacy. She has blazed a trail that has led NALAC to evolve into a cornerstone of the Latinx Arts field,” stated Hernandez. “I look forward to working alongside Javier and the entire NALAC team, dedicating our efforts to further nurture and amplify opportunities and resources for Latinx artists and organizations that are making invaluable contributions to the field.” 

The NALAC board will continue to assess the process for fulfilling the president and CEO position during this transition period. More information will be shared throughout the next year.

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 

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