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.

Natalia Medina Nuñez

Executive Assistant

Natalia Medina joined MACLA in 2018. 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, Director of Operations is part of the senior management team at MACLA. In this capacity, she oversees day-to-day operations, contract management, human resources, and financial management. She has a thirty-year career working in non-profit administration supporting organizational development, event management, and compliance. She holds an AA Degree from San Jose City College. She has worked with organizations around issues of leadership development, civic participation, and preserving cultural heritage such as the San Jose GI Forum, Mexican Heritage Corporation, the Mexican Consulate and Vida Nueva, Sober Living Environment. She currently serves as Board Member of San Jose GI Forum Scholarship Foundation and the American GI Forum of Santa Clara County Veterans Outreach Program.

Luis Ambriz

Individual Donor Coordinator

Luis Ambriz is the Individual Donor Coordinator 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.

Ruben Escalante

Youth Development and Production 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.

Maryela Perez

Visual Arts Engagement Coordinator

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.

Our Board