Staff & Board

Our Staff

Executive Director AnjeeAnjee Helstrup-Alvarez

Executive Director

anjee [at] maclaarte [dot] org

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.

Angelica Torres

Marketing and HR Director

angelica [at] maclaarte [dot] org

Angelica Torres moved to San Jose in 2013 to pursue a degree in Communication Studies at San Jose State. During this time, she worked part time at MACLA with the youth program. Her passion for community led her to work for State Senator Jim Beall and she later continued on to community in tech. She now rejoins the MACLA team as our Marketing and HR Director and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration from San Jose State. Angelica has a passion for uplifting youth, art, culture and everything tech. In her free time, she likes to read.

Individual Donor Coordinator LuisLuis Ambriz

Director of Donor Experience

luis [at] maclaarte [dot] org

Luis Ambriz is the Director of Donor Experience at MACLA. Luis was born and raised in Stockton, California and received his Masters in History from San Jose State University. During his time in school, Luis worked for several nonprofits in the fields of politics, sales, and organic farms. Aside from his interests in arts and culture, he is a certified instructor for The Princeton Review and also independently tutors for SAT and GRE courses around the Bay Area. Luis has a passion for education and has curated museum exhibits and history-specific tours for elementary school students in the Los Altos area. In his free time, Luis enjoys playing basketball, going hiking, and traveling.

Youth Development and Production Coordinator Ruben

Ruben Escalante

Studio Manager & Mentor

ruben [at] maclaarte [dot] org

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.

Visual Arts Engagement Coordinator MaryelaMaryela Perez

Curator & Program Manager

maryela [at] maclaarte [dot] org

Maryela Perez, a practicing visual artist, curator and DJ joined MACLA in 2019 as the Visual Arts Engagement Coordinator and serves as the lead for exhibitions and related programming. She earned a bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz and is active in the local arts community. Maryela has five years of experience planning, organizing, and hosting local arts events in San Jose and curating both visual and performing arts shows in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.