San Antonio Arts Organizations Announce New Hires and Promotions

by Jessica Fuentes December 30, 2023

Earlier this month, the McNay Art Museum and the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) in San Antonio announced promotions of current staff, as well as new hires. 

This year, the McNay has appointed three new heads to lead departments across the museum. In April the museum officially appointed Jenelle Esparza as Head of Education and Kathleen (Katy) Silva León as Head of Development, after each had served in interim positions. In September, Yolanda Urrabazo was hired as Head of Communications and Marketing.

In a press release Matthew McLendon, Director and CEO of the McNay, stated, “I am thrilled to welcome Jenelle, Katy, and Yolanda as the newest members of our leadership team. In addition to their shared passion to impact lives through transformational art experiences, they each bring outstanding expertise, energy, and optimism that will take our strategic vision to new heights.”

A photograph of artist and art educator Jenelle Esparza.

Jenelle Esparza. Photo: Josh Huskin, courtesy of the McNay Art Museum

Ms. Esparza, an educator and interdisciplinary artist, joined the McNay in 2016 and has been key to the museum’s engagement with diverse communities and development of innovative programs. She served as the interim Head of Education from January through April of this year, prior to being officially promoted to the leadership role. She holds a BFA in Photography from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

A photograph of cultural worker Katy Silva León.

Katy Silva León. Photo: Josh Huskin, courtesy of the McNay Art Museum

Ms. Silva León joined the McNay in 2021 and has served as interim Head of Development since September 2022. Previously she held development roles at local nonprofits, including the San Antonio Report, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, and the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts. She serves on the board for the American Marketing Association San Antonio Chapter and Artist Foundation San Antonio. 

A photograph of cultural worker Yolanda Urrabazo.

Yolanda Urrabazo. Photo: Josh Huskin, courtesy of the McNay Art Museum

Ms. Urrabazo was hired as Head of Communications and Marketing in September 2023. She brings with her 15 years of experience at an array of organizations, including holding positions at UT’s McCombs School of Business, The New School, and the Fashion Institute of Technology, as well as internships with GQ and Stella McCartney.

Ms. Urrabazo said, “I am honored and excited to join the McNay’s extraordinary community. The Museum’s mission to impact lives through the power of art and to be a place of belonging aligns squarely with my values. As we approach our 70-year anniversary in 2024, I look forward to elevating important voices and stories that underscore the mission of our visionary founder, Marion Koogler McNay. I take great pride in being in a position to expose a new generation of Texans and visitors to the McNay’s world-class collection that ignited my imagination at a young age.”

Since his appointment as NALAC’s Interim CEO and President earlier this fall, Javier Torres-Campos has begun restructuring the organization. This restructuring includes the appointments of Mari Hernandez as Chief Strategy Officer and Luis Garza as Chief Operations Officer among other changes. 

In a press release Mr. Torres-Campos remarked, “María [López De León] and the NALAC staff have established a solid foundation, and I’m honored to continue this legacy of service to the Latinx cultural community. Jennifer [Guel, who joined the organization last year as Chief Financial Officer], Mari and Luis are each a key part of NALAC’s ongoing and future success. They are thoughtful and visionary leaders that will help guide NALAC toward new possibilities.” 

Along with Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Garza’s new appointments, NALAC announced the following staff changes:

Jose Castillo Rocha, Grants Manager. Castillo Rocha previously served as Interim Grants Manager. In his new role, he will oversee the refinement and ongoing operations of NALAC’s grantmaking programs. 

Lucha López, Executive Assistant. Lopez previously served as Operations Manager. In her new role, she will support NALAC’s executive leadership team with planning and administration. 

Armani Martinez, Interim Technology Manager. Martinez previously served as Technology & Digital Media Specialist. In her expanded role, she will manage NALAC’s technology infrastructure and digital programming.  

Alyssa Pineda, Convenings Manager. Pineda previously served as Leadership and Convenings Program Associate. In her expanded role, she will manage the coordination of NALAC’s leadership and advocacy institutes and regional convenings. 

Penny Marie Rodriguez, Director of Communications. Rodriguez previously served as Manager of Communications. In her expanded role, she will manage all strategic communications with media and press relations and guide NALAC’s communications with the field.  

Additionally, the organization has announced that it is currently accepting applications for the positions of Accounting Manager, Technology Manager, and Director of Programs.

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