2018 Advocacy Leadership Instute

Meet the Cultural Workers Visiting Capitol Hill to Advocate for Latinx Arts and Cultures

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) announces the 16 Fellows who will travel to Capitol Hill to advocate for cultural equity and increased funding for the arts. Virtual training sessions are underway for the ninth edition of the NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute taking place on April 8-10, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Participants will meet with leaders from Americans for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and various Smithsonian Institutions before meeting with congressional leaders.

On the Hill, Fellows will advocate on behalf of their own communities and tell the stories of the contributions of Latinx arts to the fabric of our nation’s cultural legacy. The ALI Fellows will amplify the leadership role of artists and organizations in promoting policies for cultural equity and social justice; advocating for a range of issues such as research funding for creative arts therapies within health agencies, maintaining and increasing deferred action programs, and increasing access to equitable arts education with culturally-relevant pedagogy.

NALAC President and CEO María De León, expressed, “Latinx arts and culture plays a significant role in the development of a new framework in the equitable support of the arts and the promotion of social justice. The voices of Latinx artists will be heard in the halls of Congress illuminating the power of their work.

The institute will close with the ninth NALAC Latino Arts Leadership Reception taking place at the Library of Congress in Madison Hall on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at 6:00pm. Supporters are invited to RSVP and attend.

Notably, this year’s class is majority Latina and millennial. They represent districts across California, Arkansas, Indiana, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York. The full list of participants and their biographies are below.

“Participating in the Advocacy Leadership Institute is important because it provides practical strategies for creating meaningful change that is motivated by personal agency and relationship-building,” said Jenna Gonzales, NALAC Programs Manager.

Complementing other national arts advocacy efforts, NALAC’s training offers a unique lens through Latinx arts and cultures as well as a vision of cultural equity that is possible through intercultural solidarity. The faculty team composed of Abel López (Teatro GALA), Rosalba Rolón (Pregones/PRTT) and María López de León (NALAC) nurture a deeper understanding of the frameworks involved in shaping cultural policy.

The ninth NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute is made possible thanks to Southwest Airlines, the Ford Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Americans for the Arts, and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.


2019 ALI Fellows

Valeria Alderete, Conjunto Heritage Taller (San Antonio, TX)

Jesus Mario Contreras, Filmmaker (Elgin, IL)

Eva Davis, Curator (Brooklyn, NY)

Avalon Fajardo-Anstine, Su Teatro (Denver, CO)

Leticia Gomez Franco, City of San Diego Commission for Arts & Culture (San Diego, CA)

Erika Guadalupe Núñez, Juntos (Philadelphia, PA)

Laura Guerrero Nieto, Los Angeles County Arts Commission (Los Angeles, CA)

Nadia Guevara (San Diego, CA)

Dalila Huerta, La Casa de Amistad (South Bend, IN)

Roxana Leiva, Novato High School (Rohnert Park, CA)

Marianna Lucero, Educator (Denver, CO)

Laura Molinar, Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas (San Antonio, TX)

Annette Ramos, Rochester Latino Theatre Company (Rochester, NY)

Alejandro Quintanilla, El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil (Flint, MI)

Shayna Schlosberg, The Catastrophic Theatre (Houston, TX)

Lia Uribe, University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR)


2019 ALI Fellows: Biographies

Valeria Alderete

Conjunto Heritage Taller, Program Assistant (San Antonio, TX)

Valeria Alderete is passionate about serving her community through the arts. She utilizes her degree in international business and professional experience with community outreach and arts administration in her role with the Conjunto Heritage Taller where she works to provide conjunto music education and programs to her community and online audience.

Celestina Cardona-Billington

Independent Artist (Westport and New Bedford, MA)

Celestina Cardona Billington is an award-winning artist and producer working in diverse communities to provide accessible arts experiences. She believes that affordable and sustainable housing is an integral issue to cultural planning and artists. Keeping communities intact will preserve cultural heritage and enrich cities undergoing gentrification.

Jesus Mario Contreras

Teacher, Filmmaker (Elgin, IL)

Jesus Mario Contreras is a teacher, filmmaker and advocate for immigrant rights. His documentaries weave questions of identity, politics and faith into deeply personal stories about family and the American Dream.

Eva Davis

Curator (Brooklyn, NY)

Eva Mayhabal Davis is a collaborator. Working with artists and creatives in the production of exhibitions, texts, and events. As a curator and cultural liaison based in New York City, her focus is on supporting multifaceted incubation spaces by mediating conversations, visibility, and production among artists, objects, and audiences.


Avalon Fajardo-Anstine

Su Teatro, Marketing and Outreach Associate (Denver, CO)

Avalon Fajardo-Anstine is a Denver, Colorado native. She currently serves as the Marketing and Outreach Associate at Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center in the Arts District of Denver. Avalon is a passionate advocate for the arts and for including diversity within education. She believes that the representation of underserved communities in the Arts cultivates a rich and inclusive society.

Leticia Gomez Franco

City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, Civic Art Project Manager (San Diego, CA)

Leticia Gomez Franco is an arts administrator, advocate and cultural producer living and working in the San Diego/Tijuana border region. With a B.A in Chicana/o Studies, an M.A. in Curatorial Theory, and 15 years of arts advocacy, her work is rooted in the intersection of culture, representation, and social justice.

Laura Guerrero Nieto

Los Angeles County Arts Commission Grants and Professional Development Associate (Los Angeles, CA)

Laura Guerrero Nieto is a cultural worker, activist, administrator and artist exploring ancestral practices as medicine. The medicine of movement, theoretical visioning, community organizing and grantmaking are avenues to reimagine a more equitable, healthy, healing, safe environment for all members and existences. Her work at the Arts Commission and managing the Community Impact Arts Grant honors arts and culture practices existing outside of traditional arts spaces.

Nadia Guevara

Artist (San Diego, CA)

Nadia Guevara is an actor, director, producer and teaching artist based in San Diego. She most recently served as Associate Artistic Director at New Village Arts, where she founded Teatro Pueblo Nuevo and Relaxed Performances. Guevara is a proud recipient of the 2018 Actor of the Year Craig Noel Award.

Dalila Huerta

La Casa de Amistad, Education and Community Programs Coordinator (South Bend, IN)

Dalila Huerta is a youth arts educator dedicated to cultural equity, decolonization, and critical multicultural pedagogy. In addition to working for La Casa de Amistad, she also organizes the Racial Justice Institute for local students and serves on the National Art Education Association’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force.

Roxana Leiva

Novato High School, Visual Arts Educator (Rohnert Park, CA)

Roxana Leiva is a visual arts educator and advocate for equity and arts education for minorities. Her professional background includes research and coordinating of exhibitions with the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California and the Art Museum of El Salvador. Roxana holds a BFA in Illustration and a Master of Arts in Education. Her upcoming artistic project is a picture book inspired on culturally relevant curriculum for our most recent Central American immigrant children.

Marianna Lucero

Educator (Denver, CO)

Marianna Lucero is a dance and drama teacher for Denver Public Schools and a company actor for Su Teatro. She holds degrees in both Theatre, Film and Television and Urban Community Teaching from the University of Colorado Denver, and an M.A in Theatre Education from the University of Northern Colorado.

Laura Molinar

Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas, Founder/Executive Director (San Antonio, TX)

A native Tejana, Laura Molinar is the founder of Sueños Sin Fronteras de Tejas, a humanitarian collective that provides relief, support, and resources to asylum seekers at the Texas-Mexico border and in South Texas. Laura’s goal is to become a physician that serves immigrants and marginalized communities in Tejas. She is a singer-songwriter in her past time with hints of blues, tejano, soul, and country in her music.

Erika Guadalupe Núñez

Juntos, Resident Artist (Philadelphia, PA)

Erika is a community-based artist and organizer for immigrant rights in Philadelphia. After emigrating from Mexico as a child, Erika remained undocumented until 2013. Erika’s artistic practice seeks to honor her culture while also highlighting issues of marginalization, oppression, and representation as they relate to the immigrant community today.

Alejandro Quintanilla

El Ballet Folklorico Estudiantil, Dance Director (Flint, MI)

Alejandro Quintanilla, from Flint, Michigan, studied abroad for a year at La Universidad de Colima and received a BFA in Dance from the University of Michigan in 2014. Alejandro works for El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil where he teaches and performs Mexican folklórico and mariachi music to students of all ages.

Annette Ramos

Rochester Latino Theatre Company, Executive Director (Rochester, NY)

As a dual-language arts educator and administrator with over 3 decades of professional experience, Annette Ramos has devoted her career to ensuring equitable educational and artistic opportunities via educational theatre programs, residencies and performances. Annette expands these opportunities through her work as the Community Connector at Geva Theatre Center and as the Executive Director of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company (RLTC).

Shayna Schlosberg

The Catastrophic Theatre, Managing Director (Houston, TX)

Shayna Schlosberg is the Managing Director of The Catastrophic Theatre. Prior to joining Catastrophic in 2017, Shayna worked as the Associate General Manager at the Alley Theatre for three years. She is a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons and the Houston Alliance of Latinx Arts. Schlosberg served in the Peace Corps in Armenia, has a BFA in Drama from NYU and an MM in International Arts Management from Southern Methodist University and HEC Montreal.

Lia Uribe

University of Arkansas, Assistant Professor of Music (Fayetteville, AR)

Lia Uribe is the Assistant Professor of Bassoon at the University of Arkansas, and Principal Bassoonist of SoNA (Symphony Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas) and APO (Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra). Dr. Uribe maintains an active career as a chamber musician, orchestral player, and artist-teacher. Dr. Uribe performs and tours on regular basis with the Lyrique Quintette, woodwind quintet in residence at the University of Arkansas. Her research interest is centered on Latin-American and Latinx music and composers, in addition to inclusiveness and diversity in the arts


The ninth NALAC Advocacy Leadership Institute is made possible thanks to Southwest Airlines, the Ford Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Americans for the Arts, and the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.