Jenelle Esparza poses for a photo at her "Chili Queens" exhibit in Plaza de Armas. Photo by Iris Gonzalez.
Jenelle Esparza poses for a photo at her "Chili Queens" exhibit in Plaza de Armas. Photo by Iris Gonzalez. Credit: ISF FORUM File Photo

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) will convene a number of Latino/a artists in San Antonio for the 30th Regional Arts Training Workshop, a three-day event centered on bringing effective resources and tools to the local and regional arts community.

The workshop, which is for people of all ages, will be Thursday, April 28 to Saturday, April 30, and costs $20 for NALAC members and $40 for future members. Individuals 18 and under can attend the event for free by entering “FUTURE” upon registration.

To register, click here.

Along with providing professional development and training for multidisciplinary artists, art administrators, activists, educators, and more, the Regional Arts Training Workshops also spark dialogue about the state of Latino art and other diverse art groups in various communities across the country.

“When we produce Regional Arts Training Workshops it’s always at the top of our minds to reach out to the local community first to see what they need and to see what we can offer or how we can build something new together,” said Adriana Gallego, NALAC deputy director. NALAC then works to curate the workshops to address the specific “needs” of the respective community.

The issues of equity, inclusivity, and diversity in the San Antonio arts community, especially in relation to the representation – or lack thereof – of Latino/a artists, has recently lead to heated debates throughout the city.

“The cultural landscape of the city and the inequity of how the resources are distributed has been an ongoing challenge for quite some time, but that’s not the main reason that we decided to convene in San Antonio,” said María López De León, NALAC executive director. The workshop will serve as a platform to help address those issues and more, while also “bringing together artists from San Antonio and Texas (to) learn from each other.”

Throughout the weekend, attendees will learn about things like art funding and best business practices, art and social justice, professional development, intercultural inclusion and diversity in the arts, and how to work together to be effective change agents in their communities.

“We have a series of conceptual workshops, conversational workshops, and we also have hands-on workshops, so (attendees) will be coming away with some real tools they can use with their work,” Gallego said.

The first event on Thursday, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the San Antonio Central Library from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The evening will feature fast-paced, five minute multimedia presentations by a number of multigenerational and multidisciplinary Latino artists and scholars responding to the theme: “Nuestras Historias: Latin@s in the Arts.”

The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) will host their 30th Regional Workshop in San Antonio. Graphic courtesy of NALAC.
The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) will host their 30th Regional Workshop in San Antonio. Graphic courtesy of NALAC.

“The idea behind (the theme) is really to set the tone for the story of Latino arts, the story of who we are as Latinos in this nation, and what our aesthetic is and our artistic expression – it’s all part of our history and our story,” De León said. “We wanted to do it in one broad stroke to really bring attention to … the diverse array of expression within our field.”

Presenters include Mexican-American scholar Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, interdisciplinary artist Daniela Riojas, and Joey Lopez, university professor and advisor of The Convergent Media Collective, among several others.

Along with the presentations, the following winners of the San Antonio NALAC Fund for the Arts grant, which assists U.S.-based Latino artists and arts organizations, will also be recognized on Thursday:

  • Adriana Maria Garcia
  • Anel I. Flores
  • Anna De Luna
  • Federico Chavez-Blanco
  • Jenelle Esparza

Friday and Saturday’s events will both take place at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and will involve a series of presentations by more than 40 professionals from the region and across the country, including a keynote speech with Sheyla Rivera Rios, artist and artistic director of the nonprofit community arts organization AS220 in Providence, R.I.

Friday’s activities will occur from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Guadalupe, and from 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m at the Lone Star Arts District, and will feature roundtable discussions with artists in specific disciplines, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.

Saturday’s programming, which includes a cooking presentation by Houston-based chef Adan Medrano and local chef Kevin Babbit along with informative sessions on topics like art funding strategies and advocacy efforts, will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.

The weekend will also provide the opportunity for attendees to view art and musical performances, and will conclude with Future Forward, a panel of “coming of age” youth artists from local arts organizations like SAY Sí and the Guadalupe.

For the weekend’s schedule at a glance, click here.

While the focus of the Regional Arts Training Workshop is Latino/a art and artists, people from all cultural and artistic backgrounds are welcome, Gallego said.

“We encourage participation by folks who find inspiration in the arts, who work in the arts, people who are interested in movements in social justice, people who are interested in learning about Latino arts and multiple Latinidades, and expressions of contemporary artists – there are entry points for all levels of interests,” she said.

This (workshop) happens to be through the lens of the pan-Latino mission and vision, however we really believe investing in Latino arts and cultures is investing in the national arts.”

For more information on NALAC or the workshop, click here.

Top image: Jenelle Esparza poses for a photo at her “Chili Queens” exhibit in Plaza de Armas. Photo by Iris Gonzalez.

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Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the ISF FORUM as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is