Staff & Board 

Our Staff


Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez
Executive Director

Anjee has institutionalized the organization’s commitment to commission significant new work annually and to run a fiscally sound organization.  She has played an integral role in community development work, which uses art as a vehicle to bring together people of various socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to promote neighborhood-based social change.

Anjee has worked as a curator, writer and cultural worker in the Bay Area for the past eighteen years. She began her involvement with MACLA in 1994 and served as Associate Director and Curator from 2004-2007.  In 2009 Anjee was recognized for her dynamic leadership with the “40 Under 40” award from the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. She has served as a nominator, juror and panelist for Creative Capital, Alliance of Artists Communities’ Visions from New California awards, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.  She has presented at Grantmakers in the Arts (2009, 2011), the Ford Foundation’s 2010 Space for Change, and served as an advisor to the William and Flora Hewett Foundation’s Bay Area Cultural Asset Mapping project. In 2012 she joined the Knight Foundation’s National Arts Advisory Committee.  Anjee earned a B.F.A. in Pictorial Studies from San Jose State University and holds an M.A. in Visual Criticism from California College of the Arts.  


Joey Reyes 
Curator of Engagement & Dialogue

Jose “Joey” Reyes was previously MACLA's Curatorial Coordinator of Literary, Performance and Visual Programs. Joey has over twelve years’ experience in museum and gallery management, working in donor development, museum education, volunteer management, youth mentorship and exhibition coordination. For MACLA, he has organized Unmasked, Breaking Point, Voces del Desierto (Voices of the Desert) featuring Guillermo Galindo and Quinteto Latino; PLACAS: The Most Dangerous Tattoo, by Paul S. Flores and featuring Ric Salinas of Culture Clash; and, City Portraits (Retratos de Ciudad) a solo exhibition by Marcos ERRE Ramirez. He also serves as MACLA’s representative to the National Performance Network and Visual Artist Network.  He holds a B.F.A. from San Jose State University. He also studied at Syracuse University’s School of the Visual Arts, where he taught a course on drawing and painting fundamentals and recruited internationally recognized artists as guest speakers for the visiting artist program. 


Letetia Rodriguez
Business Manager

Letetia Rodriguez is the Business Manager at MACLA, overseeing operations, facility and contract management, grant coordination, human resources and works with our external CPA firm to ensure solid financial management.  She has a twenty-five year career working in non-profit administration supporting organizational development, event management, and compliance. She has worked with several community-based organizations around issues of leadership development, civic participation, and preserving cultural heritage.  She has worked as a staff member, board member and community volunteer with organizations such as the San Jose GI Forum, Mexican Heritage Corporation, the Mexican Consulate and Vida Nueva, Sober Living Environment.  She currently serves as Board President of San Jose GI Forum Scholarship Foundation and Treasurer for the American GI Forum of Santa Clara County Veterans Outreach Program (VOP). She holds an AA Degree from San Jose City College and is completing a BA from San Jose State University with an anticipated graduation of spring 2015. 

Avalon Lucero
Executive Assistant   

Avalon is originally from the Capay Valley, a small rural community of Yolo County in Northern California. She began her relationship with MACLA as an intern with the programs department during the summer of 2014. Energized by MACLA’s dynamic presence and commitment to community, she returned after completing her undergraduate studies to serve as Executive Assistant. Prior to MACLA, Avalon was an intern for Mia Tavonatti Productions, Inc. where she supported a myriad of functions including studio and gallery maintenance, project and material preparation, and social media correspondence. While in college, Avalon’s interest in marketing led her to compete in a national student marketing campaign competition where her team designed a comprehensive plan for a national funder. Her artistic practice, running, and cold brew coffee are regular components of her lifestyle. Avalon graduated from Concordia University Irvine with a BA in Art and a minor in Marketing.                            


Melany S Funes
Development Associate


Mario Alcantar
Digital Media Youth Education Coordinator

Mario born and raised in Gilroy, CA desires to see the underprivileged youth of the Bay Area empower themselves.  He comes from a Mexican immigrant household and has a deep compassion for the difficult economic and social circumstances that youngsters are living in the Bay Area.  Mario was fortunate enough to have a strong support system at home with two parents and eight older siblings.  This support system would lead Mario to excel academically, graduate from Gilroy High School, and eventually earn an English Degree from Princeton University. 

Mario has worked in the non-profit sector at First5 and Rebekah’s Children’s Services.  He has also worked at Gilroy Unified and Gavilan Community College.  Creatively, Mario has written movie scripts for Latino projects in Hollywood and has published a poetry book.  Mario currently produces and DJ’s electronic dance music throughout the Bay Area.

Mario understands that not everyone can feel fully supported at home and now he is honored to offer some of that support to youngsters that participate in the Digital Media and Culture Studio at MACLA’s youth programming.


Damian Kelly
Exhibition Designer & Engagement Associate

Damian was previously a preparator at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art and is very familiar with the San Jose downtown art scene. He was most recently a program assistant, preparator, and graphic designer for MACLA's 5th Chicano Biennial, 17th Latino Art Now! and Breaking Point. He received his BS in Industrial and Project Design from San Jose State University.


Sharon Benítez
Performing Arts Engagement Coordinator

Sharon Benítez is a Mexican Folk Dancer and Musician who has taught and performed in the Bay Area, México, Nicaragua, and London. Native to the South Bay, she graduated from Santa Clara University with dual degrees in English and Ethnomusicology. She has worked in San Francisco as an arts administrator with Dancers' Group, in San José teaching music and dance at Luther Burbank School, and as a teaching artist at various Bay Area theaters and public schools. Her interests revolve around arts education, music, dance, theatre and the culture and context they thrive in. Currently she performs with a Mexican Folk music and dance collaboration called Los Panaderos and leads a children's Mexican folklorico dance group called Grupo Folklorico Los Quetzales.


William Ramirez
Visual Arts Engagement Coordinator


Nicholas Jimenez
DMC Program Assitant

Nicholas Jimenez is an artist in several mediums including video, design, walls, photography, and drawings. From 2012 to 2013 Nicholas Jimenez worked under the direction of Charlie Lapson at his start-up, RedCarpetTips.com, located in the heart of LA’s Fashion District. After finishing his internship with Mr. Lapson, he set out to create a platform with a similar mission – to create and promote creative content that is current and local to a specific region. In October of 2013 Nicholas Jimenez founded Seldom Industries, a small business that promotes and creates multidisciplinary content for the City of San José.

More recently the DMC studio at MACLA has used his work. Nicholas Jimenez has been a self-taught artist and has been for a number of years. He is a current student at San Jose State University where he seeks to obtain a Bachelors of Science in Industrial Design. He has a strong interest in typography, graphic art, videography and photography that is inspired by nature, architecture, music theory and the City of San José, CA.

Our Board


Chair, Nicolas Holguin, Owner, The Patio Kitchen Catering

Vice Chair, Victor Espino, Business Development Director, Year Up

Treasurer and Chair of Finance Committee, Bob Brownstein, Director of Policy and Research, Working Partnerships USA

Secretary, Barbara Goldstein, Public Arts Consultant, Barbara Goldstein & Associates


Consuelo Cervantes, Business HR Manager, Intel Corporation

Veronica Juarez, Head of Enterprise Initiatives, Lyft

Linda Mendez-Ortiz, Retired Manager, La Biblioteca Latinoamericana

Jonathan Noble, Director, US Government Affairs, Microsoft

Alexander Ramon, Associate Attorney, Greenfield Law

Norma Garcia, Attorney

Margaret Tamisiea, Program Manager, Brocade

Lisa Vollendorf, PhD, Dean, College of Humanities and the Arts, San José State University