About

Staff & Board

Our Staff

Anjee Helstrup-Alvarez
Executive Director

A hybrid urban arts space located in downtown San Jose and rooted in the Chicano/Latino experience, MACLA intersects many communities, cultures, and aesthetic approaches. The participation of Latino and non-Latino audiences has been a distinctive feature of MACLA since its inception. Our patrons, audiences, and participants are 70% Latino and 30% non-Latino.

From this genesis in advocacy and activism, MACLA has evolved into a community-based arts organization identified in 2003 by Cultural Initiatives Silicon Valley as Santa Clara County’s “most practiced and mature site of cultural-citizenship-building through participatory arts.” More than 30,000 children, youth, young adults, families and community residents participate in the 50 programs MACLA produces each year in four core program tracts: visual arts; performance and literary arts; youth arts education; and community development through the arts.

MACLA is committed to emerging Latino artists and audiences. Further, MACLA has an exemplary record of collaboration with other nonprofit organizations and community partners. Many of these collaborations go beyond arts programming to promote the well-being of the Latino community as a vital force in society. The most significant example was MACLA’s participation in incubating and organizing the first charter school in San Jose, Downtown College Prep, which serves primarily Latino youth without a family history of college attendance. In 2010, MACLA was honored to be the only San Jose organization to be named by Philanthropedia as one of the 21 most effective arts and culture organizations in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. 

Natalia Medina Nuñez
Executive Assistant

Originally from Costa Rica, Natalia and her husband moved to San Jose in 2017. She holds a degree in International Affairs with an emphasis in International Cooperation from Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica and has experience working with public and private organizations. Her work is inspired by the opportunity of advancing and promoting art and using it as a way to support and raise awareness about human rights and social justice.

Letetia Rodriguez
Director of Operations

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.  

Ruben Escalante DMC Studio Coordinator

Ruben Escalante is a Filmmaker, Photographer, and Youth Advocate at MACLA’s DMC Studio. Ruben was born in Madera, California, and grew-up in Dos Palos, CA. Once Ruben graduated from High School he moved to San Jose to pursue an education in Cinema. Since graduating Ruben has worked at numerous elementary schools focusing on art therapy. He recently started a collective titled Emo Kids of Color, E.K.O.C for short. E.K.O.C is a collective of artists who specialize in photography, zine making, film, music, and poetry.

Nicholas Jimenez
DMC Studio Program Assistant

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