NALAC Board Statement Regarding María López De León’s Transition

August 29, 2022, San Antonio, TX — María López De León recently announced her intent to retire as president and CEO of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). The Board of Directors is profoundly grateful for María, who for 24 years has steered NALAC into a leading national organization serving the Latinx arts field and our allies.  

“In María our Latinx arts and culture sector found a leader, a broker of collective dreams, and a true friend. A brilliant collaborator, María brought her community organizing skills to the center of our national, collective arts dialogue. In the process, she has led the shaping of new and expanded opportunities for the Latinx and intercultural workforce across the country,” said Rosalba Rolon, NALAC Board Member.  

María’s leadership, vision, and commitment have leveraged millions of dollars of arts funding to Latinx artists, arts organizations, and community-based programs. Through her guidance, NALAC has created a pipeline for direct funding, distributing over 6 million dollars through grants and relief programs supporting Latinx artists and organizations. Additionally, NALAC has transformed the Latinx arts field having graduated over 600 arts leaders through their leadership and professional development programs.  

“María López De León is a national game-changer and shaper. She united Latinx leaders and organizers in the cause of justice and transformation when we had limited game changing and shaping ability. She is one of the greatest leaders of our generation, and we are living in a different world because of what she has built. María is kind; María is tough, and María will get it done,” said Anthony Garcia, NALAC Board Member. 

María’s contributions to the Latinx arts and culture field were recognized by President Obama, who in 2013 appointed Maria to the National Council on the Arts. In addition to her dedication and service to NALAC, María serves on multiple arts and culture policy panels and boards including the First Peoples Fund, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, The Lewis Prize, and the Performing Arts Alliance. 

“For over 20 years, I have been privileged to learn and be led by many inspiring leaders from our national arts and culture sector, but none so impactful as María López de León. María has modeled excellence at the highest levels of our field through her commitment to service, her courageous dedication to equity and justice, and her powerful heart-led work for Latinx artists and arts administrators across the U.S. and beyond,” said Evonne Gallardo, Vice Chairperson of NALAC’s Board of Directors. “For me, María is the poetry of our ancestors — the In Xochitl, In Cuicatl — that informs my work and leadership, and I am forever grateful to her.”   

We have been so fortunate to have had mighty María at the helm of NALAC and the greatest beneficiaries are the thousands of artists, arts organizations, and cultural bearers in the U.S., Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central America.  

“María has helped to deepen the U.S. understanding of the nature of art. For over 24 years, she has led NALAC to engage not only with artists, arts institutions, and funders but also with grassroots community leaders that connected with contemporary economic and social struggles. Through these connections, María showed the beautiful power of art to advance social relations and community,” said Adán M. Medrano, NALAC Board Member. 

The NALAC Board of Directors has engaged Arts Consulting Group to lead a national search for the next president and CEO to succeed María López De León upon her retirement. As a nationwide search unfolds, this fall, when she retires from NALAC, she leaves a solid foundation at the organization for the next leader. The impact of Maria’s leadership and legacy will be felt throughout the world and for generations to come. We love Maria and wish her only the best in the next phase of her life. 


With gratitude, 

Charles Rice-González, Chairperson (Bronx, NY) 

Evonne Gallardo, Vice Chairperson (Los Angeles, CA) 

Ernest Bromley, Treasurer (San Antonio, TX) 

Lucas Rivera, Secretary (Los Angeles, CA) 

Gabriel Abaroa, Board Member (Miami, FL) 

Sandra Aponte, Board Member (Chicago, IL) 

Dr. Ariana A. Curtis, Board Member (Washington, DC) 

Eliud Hernandez, Board Member (Chicago, IL) 

Anthony Garcia, Board Member (Denver, CO)  

Abel López, Board Member (Washington, D.C.)  

Adán M. Medrano, Board Member (Houston, TX)  

Ramón Rivera-Servera, Board Member (Evanston, IL)  

Rosalba Rolón, Board Member (Bronx, NY)  




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  

About Arts Consulting Group
Arts Consulting Group (ACG) is the leading provider of hands-on interim management, executive search, revenue enhancement, strategic planning & community engagement, facilities & program planning, and other capacity-building services for the arts and culture industry. Founded in 1997, ACG is a full-service firm that effectively works with a wide range of nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and for-profit entities that operate in the creative industries. The firm takes a contemporary approach to client challenges and opportunities focused on growing institutions, advancing arts and culture, and enhancing communities. ACG senior team members have leadership experience in every type of artistic and cultural discipline, and they seamlessly adapt to clients’ rapidly changing strategies, business models, and operating environments. 

Learn more about the national search for NALAC’s president and CEO.