Friday, May 11, 2012

Latina tapped to direct National Council on the Arts

President Obama taps Maria López De León for National Council on the Arts

SAN ANTONIO, TX - President Barack Obama has nominated Maria López De Leon, Executive Director for the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), to become a member of the National Council on the Arts.    

Maria López De Leon
The National Council on the Arts advises the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the council, on agency policies and programs. 

The 14-member council reviews and makes recommendations to the chair on applications for grants, funding guidelines and leadership initiatives. Presidential appointments to the council, by law, are selected for their widely recognized knowledge of the arts or their expertise or profound interest in the arts. They have records of distinguished service or achieved eminence in the arts and are appointed so as to represent equitably all geographical areas of the country.

Pending confirmation by the Senate, De León will serve a six-year term on the council.

NALAC Board Chairperson, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, said of the nomination, "We are overjoyed at this announcement which is a testament to the powerful trailblazing that Maria López De León has done for the Latino arts field and for NALAC. This proud moment for our community is an achievement we can all celebrate and signals a significant shift forward for Latino art and cultures."  
Ms. De León has been affiliated with NALAC for thirteen years and has served as Executive Director for ten years. Under Ms. De Leon's leadership, NALAC launched the Fund for the Arts, a grant program for Latino artists and organizations, completed production of a documentary series on Latino art and culture for PBS, and developed a grant program for cultural exchanges between the US, Mexico, and Central America.   Ms. De León is an advisory council member of San Anto Cultural Arts, Women of Color in the Arts, and is a fellow of the Rockwood Leadership Institute.

She has directed the continued development of eleven editions of the renowned annual Leadership Institute and the Latino Arts Advocacy Institute in Washington, DC; directed the convening of five national arts and cultural conferences and dozens of regional arts training workshops across the country. Under Ms. De Leon's leadership, NALAC completed production of Visiones, a six part documentary series on Latino art and culture for PBS and development of accompanying education curriculum distributed to over 35,000 schools. She is leading the efforts to renovate a historic site in San Antonio to serve as NALAC's national offices and home to a national arts leadership training institute.

Ms. De León has over twenty years of multifaceted experience in grass roots community and working with community based organizations across the country. She has served on multiple arts and culture policy panels across the country. Ms. De León is currently a fellow of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and completed the Wallace Foundation Leadership in Excellence and Arts Participation (LEAP) program. She studied Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

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