President Obama Appoints San Antonio Latina Leader to National Council on the Arts

María López De León / LMG Photography and Art

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. 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.” -Rosalba Rolón, NALAC Board Member and Artistic Director Teatro Pregones

“This is a proud and powerful moment for the Latino arts field and for arts in America. 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.” -Charles Rice-Gonzalez, NALAC Board Chair and Artistic Director of Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance

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.

“Maria’s appointment to the National Council on the Arts will allow her to share her tremendous knowledge of Latino arts with the Council. Additionally, her leadership abilities will assist the Council in making recommendations to the National Endowment for the Arts in meeting its mission of promoting arts throughout our entire nation.” -Charles “Charlie” Gonzalez, Former Congressman

Most recently, María López 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.

“As one of our nation’s leading experts on Latino arts and artists in the field, Maria’s appointment acknowledges decades of commitment to the arts community. We are so lucky to have her voice on the NEA to contribute even more to our country’s rich heritage.” -Christine Ortega, NALAC Board Member and Southwest Airlines Community Affairs & Grassroots

“Maria has been instrumental in highlighting the rich history of art in San Antonio for over a decade. 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.” -Congressman Joaquin Castro [TX-20]

“The recent appointment of María De León to the National Council on the Arts is a proud moment in the legacy of Latino arts and culture. Now more than ever, Latino artists reflect the historical, dynamic, and innovative perspectives that shape our nation’s cultural fabric. With Maria de Leon’s knowledge and expertise, the National Council on the Arts will gain a deeper and richer understanding of Latino artists and the contributions they continue to make for the Arts in America,” -Evonne Gallardo, NALAC Board Member and Executive Director, Self Help Graphics & Art.

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures is the nation’s only multidisciplinary Latino arts service organization. For 23
years, NALAC has provided critical advocacy, funding, networking opportunities and professional development training to build the capacity and sustainability of the Latino arts and cultural field to sustain artists and arts organizations in every region of the country.

NALAC’s membership is a multiethnic, multigenerational, and interdisciplinary community that includes thousands of Latino artists and more than 900 large and small not-for-profit Latino arts and cultural organizations in the United States. NALAC artists and arts organizations specialize in a diverse range of disciplines which include visual arts, theater, dance, music, performance art, literature and mixed media.

Since its founding, NALAC has bolstered leadership and training in the Latino arts field, hosting eight National Conferences, 26 Regional Arts Training Workshops, and 12 Leadership Institutes with more than 200 alumni across the country. Additionally, over $1 million dollars have been distributed to the Latino arts community through direct grant programs.

About the National Council on the Arts
The National Council on the Arts advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programs. It reviews and makes recommendations to the Chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives.

The National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965 established the National Endowment for the Arts and provided for 26 citizens to serve as advisors to the agency as members of the National Council on the Arts.

Members are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate for six-year, staggered terms. Congress has since enacted legislation that reduced the membership of the Council. Currently, there are 18 members of the National Council on the Arts and an additional six members of Congress to serve in an ex officio, non-voting capacity for two-year terms.

All information via Information used with permission.