Fronteras: 30 Years On, NALAC Continues To Elevate And Support Latinx Artists | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: 30 Years On, NALAC Continues To Elevate And Support Latinx Artists

Jul 26, 2019

Latino arts and culture is rich, colorful and varied. The National Association of Latino Arts and Culture is dedicated to promoting, developing and cultivating Latinx artists. Sometimes, however, outside forces can take a toll on their community.

Maria López De León, president and CEO of NALAC, said the organization has not been shy around the country’s immigration debate.

Group photo with NLI fellows and Tomás Ybarra-Frausto (center-left) and Dudley Brooks (center-right).
Credit Luis M. Garza

Immigration law enforcement and subsequent deportation has impacted the artistic community. NALAC, a San Antonio-based nonprofit, has spoken out against family separation and child detention.

NALAC stands with artists and arts organizations using their work to respond to the political environment. For example, artists organized under the immigration advocacy group, RAICES, helped curate the guerilla exhibition #NoKidsInCages in New York City. 

Twenty-four installations were placed around the city, including a chain-link fence surrounding what appears to be a child asleep under an aluminum blanket commonly used in detention facilities. López De León says NALAC encouraged artists to amplify their work on social media after they felt a need to respond to the ongoing controversial migrant detention facilities. 

NALAC marks its 30th year in 2019, and it just concluded its 19th Leadership Institute in San Antonio. The organization awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants each year to individual artists, groups of artists and art organizations.

Norma Martinez can be reached at and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrrazas can be reached at and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.