AfroRazones (Luna Olivarria Gallegos)2018 NALAC Fund for the Arts Grantee

New NALAC Pod Grants Awarded in Five Regions

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) announces the five awardees of the inaugural NALAC Pod grants – a new engagement prototype of the NALAC Fund for the Arts program to mobilize broadly and organize deeply. Deployment of the NALAC Pods will take place in geographically and culturally diverse communities with various Latinx population densities.

The following projects were vetted and selected to receive $2,500 NALAC award: Cultural Worker Workshop (IN), Dance in the Desert 2019 (AZ), MantecaHTX:Latinx Art Registry/Directory (TX), AfroRazones Presents: El Puente ErreD (DR) and Poch@ House: Transnational Art (CDMX).

Each NALAC Pod employs a distinct strategy to meet the needs of their community. For example, in Gary, Indiana, NALAC alumni will host the Cultural Worker Workshopfocused on professional development to cultivate a pipeline of black and brown stakeholders working in arts and culture sectors. Coming off the heels of a 2018 NALAC report that investigates the funding climate for Latinx arts organizations in Houston, the MantecaHTX artist directory is an artist-led effort that will amplify the visibility of Latinx artists working in the city.

“The launch of NALAC Pods reflects our commitment to evolve and develop alongside our community. Throughout the years, we have observed growing networks of NALAC alumni, grantees and members self-organizing around activities that foster community building, refine leadership skills, polish aesthetics, sharpen critical thinking, amplify exposure, encourage advocacy, and promote messaging in support of Latinx arts, culture and equity,” said Adriana Gallego, Chief Operating Officer of NALAC. “This complementary funding hybrid engages NALAC’s fellowship in a different and more significant way, from being recipients of programs to being the driving force behind policy change and advocacy efforts.”

The advent of many of these movement building efforts are in response to inequities affecting Latinx arts and culture workers and their families. Otros Dreamers in Acción (ODA) are NALAC members based in Mexico City where they build networks and opportunities for the mutual support and empowerment of deported youth in Mexico. The organizers – many of whom grew up in the United States and were forced to return to Mexico – have created a community space called Poch@ House where deportees in Mexico can gather, find services and create. Through transnational arts and culture organizing, the Poch@ House: Transnational Art project will work with deported artists in Mexico and Mexican-American artists in the United States to advocate for rights and protections for those living on both sides of the U. S.-Mexico border.

Right alongside the border, Dance in the Desert’s origin story began many years back as a dreamwork of NALAC alumni Yvonne Montoya to uplift and examine a codification of Latinx Southwest aesthetics. Today, as a NALAC Pod, Dance in the Desert 2019 returns as a week-long choreography retreat in Tucson, that will provide a critical space to nurture a network of Latinx choreographers and dancers in Arizona, while centering local expertise. Another project that is similarly taking place a short distance from an international border is the transnational Caribbean solidarity project AfroRazones’ El Puente ErreD. This project will explore the relationship between digital technology and inequality as the starting point of a week-long workshop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, for independent artists seeking artistic autonomy and financial security in the global music industry.

In 2016, two prototypes for testing the Pod strategy were launched in Arizona and New York, led by past NALAC alumni and grantees. The pilots were led by Casandra Hernandez (CALA Alliance/ASU Art Museum) and Gabriela Muñoz in Arizona; and Arnaldo J. López (Pregones/PRTT) and Lisandra María Ramos (Hemispheric Institute) in New York.

The Pod Grants are part of the NALAC Fund for the Arts, the nonprofit’s national grant-making program for artists and nonprofit arts organizations. NALAC shared news earlier this year regarding 43 grants awarded to artists and organizations across the United States and 10 additional grants in Puerto Rico.

The 13th edition of the NALAC Fund for the Arts is possible thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Surdna Foundation, and Nathan Cummings Foundation.

NALAC Pod Grantees

AfroRazones Presents: El Puente ErreD

Site: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Liasion: Luna Olavarría Gallegos (based in Albuquerque, NM)

Project Summary: To support the creation of a week-long workshop series that will educate Caribbean, Black, and Latino artists in Santo Domingo about the global music industry. Building on past initiatives in Cuba and a framework of inter-Caribbean exchange, the AfroRazones workshops also stem from the concept of “broadband-based social classes,” the idea that the current wave of resource inequality is determined by access to the use and creation of digital technology. Even when artists do have access to these tools and systems, they don’t always use them to their fullest capacity.


Cultural Worker Workshop

Site: Gary, IN

Liaision: Lauren M. Pacheco

Project Summary: To support a one-day arts administration and management focused workshop led by NALAC alumnus working as cultural laborers across interdisciplinary and cross-institutional partnerships. Launching a call for participation in Indiana and Illinois, ten sector curious and emerging art managers, gallerists, curators, and creative producers will convene for a rigorous day of learning, sharing, reflecting, and career planning. A primary objective, to cultivate a pipeline of black and brown stakeholders working in arts and culture sectors.


Poch@ House: Transnational Art

Site: Mexico City, Mexico

Liaision: Magdalena Loredo Ventura

Project Summary: To support the deported and returned Mexican communities that grew up in the United States, the Poch@ House: Transnational project will explore the possibilities of transnational organizing between the Latinx deported and returned community in Mexico and Mexican-American Artists. The project will give visibility to the transnational artistic talent representing the migration journey through different artistic disciplines, amplify the realities of the aftermath of deportation and forced return and explore pathways to political action on both sides of the border.


Dance in the Desert 2019

Site: Tucson, AZ

Liaision: Yvonne Montoya

Project Summary: To support Dance in the Desert (DITD) 2019, a week-long choreography retreat and professional development series for Arizona-based Latinx dancers and choreographers. This project will occur the week of May 13, 2019, in Tucson, AZ. A professional development series will include: copyrights for choreographers; lighting design and tech skills; peer-to-peer culturally competent choreography feedback sessions, master classes, and choreography workshops and mentorship.


MantecaHTX: Latinx Art Registry/Directory

Site: Houston, TX

Liasion: Julia Barbosa Landois

Project Summary: To support the creation of MantecaHTX, an easily navigable and free to use online registry/directory of Latinx visual, literary, and performing artists in the Greater Houston area. The registry will showcase the high caliber of Latinx cultural production in our region and provide a resource for curators, institutions, scholars, collectors, the general public, and the artists themselves, in order to facilitate greater opportunity, build networks, and highlight an underrepresented wealth of talent.


NALAC | Grants:

Adriana Rios,

NALAC | Communications:

Gabriel Magraner,

National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures

1208 Buena Vista Street

San Antonio, TX 78207



Instagram/Twitter: @nalac_arts

Facebook: @nalac.arts


The 13th edition of the NALAC Fund for the Arts is possible thanks to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Surdna Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture and Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.