Laura Esparza is the Division Manager for the Division of Museums and Cultural Programs for the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department where she oversees eleven arts facilities including museums and cultural centers across Austin.
Ms. Esparza’s training is in theater; she was the recipient of the esteemed San Diego Fellowship at UCSD where she received her M.F.A. in Latino Theater. In 1994, she received the NEA-TCG Director’s Fellowship, an honor given to only four theater directors in the nation, every other year. This fellowship took her to seven different cities across the U.S. where as an artist in residence at regional theaters, she could direct and observe professional practices. She has directed over 75 plays, written three, and has been published in anthologies of Latino Theater and poetry.
Dr. Carlos B. Gil
Carlos B. Gil is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of several history books on Mexico and Mexican Americans. His latest work, We Became Mexican American: How Our Immigrant Family Survived to Pursue the American Dream (2012, 2014), tells the story of his family and their journey through immigration, surviving the Geat Depression and growing up in California in the 1920s. He was born in San Fernando, California, and currently resides in Seattle.
In 1998, Dr. Gil participated as a member of the 1998 Advisory Council for the Northwest Folklife Festival, which centered on Mexicano and Chicano voices in the Pacific Northwest. Now, 20 years after that Festival, we continue to celebrate Mexican American and Chicana/o culture through our 2018 Cultural Focus, Echoes of Aztlán and Beyond. To help us celebrate this 20 year anniversary, we have reconnected with Dr. Gil to hear his retelling of the 1998 Festival and how he continues to live out his culture and heritage.
Dr. Jerry Garcia
Dr. Jerry Garcia was born and raised in Quincy, Washington and is the son of Ruben Garcia de Leon and Gloria Torres. After serving three years in the U.S. Army, he went on to receive his BA and MA at Eastern Washington University and Ph.D. from Washington State University. He currently teaches at Northern Arizona University in the Ethnic Studies Program. Dr. Garcia has had academic appointments with Iowa State University, Michigan State University, and is the former Director of the Chicano Education Program and the College Assistance Migrant Program at Eastern Washington University.
Dr. Garcia’s research focus is on Chicano History, Latin American History, History of Mexico, Asians in the Americas, immigration, empire, masculinity, and race in the Americas. Dr. Garcia has published 5 books and over 15 peer-reviewed articles. His forthcoming publications include, “Mexicans, Race, and Immigration: Historicizing the Postville, Iowa Raid of 2008”; and is working on a manuscript that examines the Chicano Movement in Washington State.
Seattle-based artist Alfredo Arreguín is known for his colorful, ornate paintings that reimagine the perception of humans, nature, and mythology. Born in Morelia, Mexico, Arreguín moved to Seattle in 1957 and began his career in interior design and painting after serving in the army. In 1979 he represented the U.S. at the 11th International Festival of Painting at Cagnes-sur Mer, France, where he won the Palm of People Award. In 1980, he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the arts. In 1988 he was chosen to design the poster for the Centennial Celebration of the State of Washington and was also invited to design the White House Easter Egg.
In 1995, Arreguin received an OHTLI Award, the highest recognition given by the Mexican government to the commitment of distinguished individuals who perform activities that contribute to promoting the Mexican culture abroad. His work can be seen in the permanent collections of two Smithsonian Museums: The National Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery.