The Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts nonprofit organization, better known as MECA, a Houston-based nonprofit deeply rooted in Latino culture, proudly announces the appointment of Gumaro Armando Silva as its new Executive Director. Silva will succeed Alice Valdez, who announced in October 2023 her intention to retire from MECA after leading the organization for 46 years. MECA Founder Alice Valdez served as Executive Director since 1977 and will continue to serve in an advisory role until her retirement at the end of 2023.
Armando joined MECA in 1991 as an aspiring ballet and modern dance student while attending the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. With unconditional support from Alice Valdez, Armando was accepted into Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he continued his dance studies. Thanks to MECA’s ongoing support, he later received a full-ride scholarship to attend the Ailey Dance School in New York, NY before moving back to Texas, where he spent a decade with the Dallas Black Dance Theater.
Throughout the years, Armando has held a number of positions across the organization, quickly moving into key leadership roles including the assistant to the Executive Director and, most recently, serving as the Acting Executive Director. Some of his responsibilities prior to stepping into the Executive Director role included co-curator of the MECA Presents Performances Series, Festival Chair of MECA’s Annual Día de Muertos Festival and Director of MECA’s Sunburst Summer Arts Camp, an 8-week camp that blends arts education and academic techniques to address the learning loss that often occurs when students are out of school for the summer.
Armando’s extensive personal and professional knowledge of MECA positions him well to continue the long tradition of fostering the healthy development of families through arts and cultural programming, academic excellence and community building.
“I am 100% proof that the work that was done by Alice Valdez, the incredible MECA instructors and staff, and the Board of Directors is powerful and it works. As my part of the legacy, I aim to continue this work and expand on it. I invite you to be a part of the community, whether it’s volunteering, taking or teaching classes with us, we would love for you to join us. There’s always so many great things happening at MECA,” shares Armando.
Armando’s vision for the future of MECA is based on his unique understanding of the value MECA brings to all those whose lives are transformed by its rich cultural programming. His mission is to continue working on the following projects:
- Dow School Rehabilitation
- Fostering relationships with current and future funders
- Encouraging the Houston community to be a part of MECA
Please join us in congratulating Armando in his new role! To hear directly from Armando about his mission and vision for MECA, please watch this video. Official headshots and photographs of Armando’s journey at MECA can be found here.
About MECA: Established in 1977, Multicultural Education and Counseling Through the Arts (MECA) is a nonprofit organization deeply rooted in the community, housed within the historic Dow School building situated in Houston’s Old Sixth Ward. MECA is dedicated to fostering the well-being and growth of underserved youth and adults by offering diverse arts and cultural programs. In 1979, MECA received 501(c)(3) status and was formally incorporated.
In 1993, MECA relocated to its present location in the historic Dow School building, a structure built in 1912 and proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, this school is undergoing a restoration process through MECA’s Dow School Rehabilitation Project. Today, MECA extends its offerings through the Out-of-School Program, encompassing a wide range of courses that include classical and cultural instrumental studies. Additionally, MECA provides essential support services for families in the community.
In 2019, MECA took on the management of the former Talento Bilingue de Houston (TBH Center), a 10,000-square-foot facility adjacent to Guadalupe Plaza Park in Houston’s East End. Presently, MECA’s East End campus (TBH Center) operates seven days a week and serves as a hub for diverse dance companies and theater groups, offering rehearsal spaces and performance venues for various organizations. For further details about MECA, please visit our website at meca-houston.org.