Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Latina appointed to National Council on the Arts

Maria Lopez de Leon
President Obama Appoints María López De León as Member of the National Council on the Arts

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC), is proud to announce the Presidential appointment of NALAC Executive Director and Board member, María López De León as a Member of National Council on the Arts.

María López De León will join the 18-member National Council that advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts on agency policy and programs.

Ms. De León was nominated by President Obama in May 2012 and was confirmed by the Senate on January 1, 2013. She will be taking the oath of office on February 6, 2013.

“This appointment marks María López De León’s next phase in a brilliant career serving Latino arts and artists throughout the country," said NALAC Board Member Rosalba Rolon, who also serves as Artistic Director for Teatro Pregones.  "Her organizing experience and her passion for serving others have contributed to her path as an extraordinary leader. The arts field in general, and our Latino arts field in particular, just took another step forward with this appointment. I am proud to call her a friend, a colleague and an inspiration.”

"This is a proud and powerful moment for the Latino arts field and for arts in America," says Charles Rice-Gonzalez, NALAC Board Chair and Artistic Director of Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. "María López De León has been a leader and change agent in her community. She has taken those skills to lead NALAC for the last 10 years and has transformed our organization’s grass roots beginning to make it a sound national voice for artists and arts organizations. She has had her ear and heart to the ground and she brings her wealth of talent and experience to serve on the National Council on the Arts.”

Ms. De León is the longtime national Executive Director of NALAC, headquartered in the West Side of San Antonio. With over twenty years of multifaceted experience in grass roots community efforts, Ms. De León continues to work with community based organizations, while serving on multiple arts and culture policy panels across the country.

Ms. De León is a fellow of the Rockwood Leadership Institute and the Wallace Foundation Leadership in Excellence and Arts Participation (LEAP) program. She is a board member of the First People's Fund, an advisory council member of San Anto Cultural Arts, and an advisory council member of the Women of Color in the Arts. She studied Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. María López De León was born and raised in Hondo, Texas, and has been a resident of San Antonio, Texas, for almost twenty years.

Most recently, Ms. De León was named among the nation's 2012 Fifty Most Powerful and Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts by the Fifth annual Barry’s Blog listing of the Western States Arts Federation and was selected to serve in an 11-member national artist advisory panel to help review the Kennedy Center Honors selection process.

“Maria has been instrumental in highlighting the rich history of art in San Antonio for over a decade," says Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tx.  "I am proud to know that she will take her experience and insight to the national stage and continue to promote the great contributions of Latino artists to the United States.”

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) is a legacy organization investing in the Latino heritage of this nation.  For over 23 years, NALAC has built a strong foundation for the promotion of Latino arts and culture and its advocacy efforts have advanced issues of cultural equity and raised the visibility and understanding of Latino artistic and cultural expression.  NALAC serves the Latino arts field with programs that provide leadership training, foster innovation and creativity and sustainability. 

Since October 2012, NALAC has been engaged in dialogue with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to pursue positive changes in the Kennedy Center Honors program and discuss expansion of its other programs to be more inclusive of our nation’s diverse heritage. We realize that in the case of the Kennedy Center Honors program, such inclusivity is not reflected and NALAC shares in the collective concern for change in this program.  

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