María López De León

San Antonio, TX

María López De León is the president, CEO and board member of the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC). In 2012 and 2013, De León was named among the nation’s Fifty Most Powerful and Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts.

De León has been with NALAC for 22 years and has served as president and CEO for four years and executive director for 19 years. She has been involved in all aspects of development and implementation of the NALAC programs and strategic initiatives. Under her leadership, NALAC developed and launched four grant programs including the NALAC Fund for the Arts (NFA), a grant program for Latino artists and organizations; the Catalyst for Change, a grant program for artists whose work focuses on radical solutions to achieve racial justice; the Actos de Confianza, a pandemic emergency relief grant for artists and organizations; and the Transnational Cultural Remittances (TCR), a grant program for artists and organizations in the U.S., Mexico and Central America. She has directed the continued development of 20 editions of the renowned annual Leadership Institute and ten convenings of the Advocacy Leadership Institute in Washington, DC; co-founded the Intercultural Leadership Institute; directed the convening of eight NALAC National Conferences and 29 Regional Arts Training Workshops across the country.

De León is an arts administrator and cultural practitioner dedicated to strengthening communities through the arts and has multiple years of experience working with Latino artists and arts organizations. She serves on multiple arts and culture policy panels and is a noted speaker and advocate for the arts, cultural equity, and social and economic justice. De León serves on the boards of the First People’s Fund, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the Performing Arts Alliance, the Lewis Prize for Music, and the United States Department of Arts and Culture. She is an advisory council member of Women of Color in the Arts.