Meet our new Executive Director!
By: Lauren Bays
Press Release / April 21, 2020

Meet our new Executive Director!

The Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona announces new Executive Director, Adriana Gallego!

Photo credit: Luis M. Garza

We are excited to announce that Adriana Gallego has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Gallego’s extensive background in the arts and previous leadership roles in arts organizations nationally makes her a natural fit to lead the organization successfully. Most recently, Gallego served as the Chief Operating Officer of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures in San Antonio, TX, where she instituted systemic changes that accelerated the organization’s unprecedented era of expansion, stability and national impact.

“At the heart of my leadership practice is the core belief that all communities and individuals deserve equitable and accessible resources to thrive,” said Gallego.

“For two decades, I have dedicated my life’s work in pursuit of these goals from the borderlands to town halls, classrooms to board rooms, prison yards to legislative chambers and from the White House to my studio. I look forward to bringing all that I have to serve the arts community here in Tucson and Southern Arizona.” ​

As an artist herself, Gallego seeks to serve other artists. Gallego’s work in arts administration and education is motivated by social justice, where she seeks to connect people with meaningful resources that grow personal and organizational capacity, build community, foster collaboration and bridge cultural understanding. Leading from this perspective, she has developed programs, grants, partnerships and services in support of artists and arts organizations at a state and national level.

She serves on the national board of directors of Grantmakers in the Arts and MAP Fund and is a member of the Projecting All Voices Design Integration Team through Arizona State University. Prior to joining the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (AFTSA), Gallego was the first Chief Operating Officer of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, Director of Strategic Initiatives with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Educational Assistant at the Norton Simon Museum, and arts educator throughout the Southwest, including TPAC’s Rural Arts Program and founding member of Raíces Taller 222 Gallery and Workshop.

Her panel and committee service include the National Endowment for the Arts, Arizona Mexico Commission, Arizona Public Art Network, Transportation Enhancement Review Committee, Community Foundation Southern AZ, Tucson Pima Arts Council, Asset Building for Artists of Color Advisory Board, Flagstaff Cultural Partners Arts Advisory Board, Dance USA Fellowship, Nevada Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship, New Mexico Public Art Program, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Tempe Arts and Culture, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture Public Art Program, Alternate Roots, New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist Program, and Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassadors Program.

“Adriana’s experience at the city, state, national and regional level is outstanding. Her history of commitment to the communities we serve is a wonderful thing for arts and culture in our region,” said Eva Romero, Board President for the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Interim Executive Director, Robert Alpaugh, has led the organization through the applicant process and is excited for the future of the Arts Foundation under Gallego’s leadership. “Adriana’s enthusiasm, passion and experience in the art and cultural communities bodes well for the growth and maturation of the AFTSA. Her commitment to individual artists, large and smaller arts organizations and to community make her an excellent choice for Tucson and its unique arts and cultural community.”

Having grown up on the Ambos Nogales International border, Gallego shared that the mission and vision of AFTSA align with her sense of stewardship for the shared communities in Southern Arizona. “The future will be powered by the scope of our imagination,” said Gallego. ​

“I believe that artists and culture bearers of Tucson, Pima County and Southern Arizona are uniquely suited to help us shape the kind of aspirational and equitable future our communities deserve through the transformative power of the arts. I look forward to working collaboratively with our local, county, regional and national partners to support our creative workforce and overall arts infrastructure. Engagement with and expression through the arts is a core component of a thriving civic society, and our City, County and region are poised for creative growth.”

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