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¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

Meet MECA’s Staff

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Alice Valdez | Founder

May this new year bring you and your family great peace, joy and prosperity.

As 2023 begins, I am on medical leave, focusing on my health. In the meantime, under the guidance of the Board of Directors, MECA is in excellent hands with Armando Silva as acting Executive Director supported by MECA’s staff that is committed, competent, experienced and courageous, accepting this unexpected challenge with grace, compassion and agility to manage the many magnificent attributes of MECA.

Thank you for your prayers and well wishes. I will see you soon.

Armando Silva | Acting Executive Director

Friends and family, I am excited to be serving as MECA’s Acting Executive Director in the absence of our beloved founder, Alice Valdez. As a proud MECA alumni, I do not take this assignment lightly. On the contrary, I realize that I “stand on the shoulders of a giant.” I know that I walk in the footsteps of a woman whose relentless drive has brought this organization to the forefront of arts education in our city and who has built a pillar of strength and resilience for our communities of color. I promise to give my all as I continue to implement, and attempt to grow her vision. I ask that you bear with me as I traverse this daunting task before me. Knowing that Alice is in my corner gives me all of the confidence necessary to plow through. As a dancer, this is but a “failli,” a transition step preparing me for another jump. Come, take the leap with me!

Esmeralda Salinas | Associate Director of Programs & Support Services

Welcome to another exciting and creative year! Come by and visit our Support Services office in Room 103 for more important information and exciting opportunities! We look forward to seeing our students and their families! Happy New Year!

Lizeth Gonzalez | Out Of School Director

Welcome back! As MECA’s Out of School Director, I am here to support with any scheduling, registration, billing and any other programming needs you may have. My primary goal is to have a safe, supportive and productive learning experience for everyone in the arts. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Carolina Salazar | Education Coordinator

As MECA’s Education Coordinator I am working to provide academic support in our community through in-house tutorials and homework assistance to students of all ages including lifelong learners. We are continuously working towards providing a safe learning environment that encourages mentorship and personal growth.

Julio Lopez | Ballet Folklorico Director

The MECA Ballet Folklorico now boasts 5 levels of training for students ranging in age from 5 years old to senior citizens. The group is regularly touring throughout Houston Metroplex proudly representing MECA at various events during the year. In 2022 we entered into a partnership with the Amalia Hernandez Arts Academy (Mexico City, Mexico) to offer teaching certification in specialized celebrations in dance such as Xantolo/Dia de Muertos that took place in November and Carnavales en Mexico that will take place in February. I invite you to join us this year at one of the many events as we deliver the beauty of Mexican folk dance to the masses.

Hugo Balino | TBH Facilities Manager

I have the pleasure of acting as the Technical and Production Director for MECA at the TBH Center.  I look forward to another great year of helping you with your production needs, space rentals, and anything else I can to bring your tech ideas into fruition. Keep an eye out for great comedy fun, too. I am working on producing an open mic comedy night starting in February.

Eddie Gonzalez | TBH Registrar & Technical Assistant

I’m Eddie Gonzalez, writer, actor, arts advocate, and community activist. I joined the MECA team in 2022 to lend my talent and support in the implementation of MECA’s mission. Visit me at MECA’s East End Campus at the TBH Center to learn about our arts classes and diverse programming. This year I am placing a special emphasis on creating the perfect communal space by ensuring a hospitable environment, cleanliness, and accessibility. I can be reached via email at eddie@meca-houston.org or by phone at 713-222-1213.

Kathy Hardy | Finance Specialist

I joined MECA in 2021 as MECA’s Finance Specialist bringing with me 35 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping practices. I work closely with MECA’s development staff and Board-led finance committee to ensure accurate financial documentation and reporting. I wish you a happy and prosperous new year.

Ruth Ramos | Project Associate

I am Ruth Ramos, a recent graduate of the University of Houston Downtown Marilyn Davies College of Business. I first joined MECA as a college student, assisting with the Historic Dow School Rehabilitation Project and supporting MECA’s Founder in the development department. I am proud to announce that I now serve as the organization’s Project Associate, a newly created position for me in response to the organization’s need and in recognition of my efforts in support of it’s mission.

John Taylor De La Garza | Graphics Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

As MECA’s Graphics Coordinator, I’m excited to see firsthand how MECA meets new families & people to receive creative and educational opportunities. I look forward to helping MECA nurture and support our Houston community.

MECA’s work to provide year-round, high quality arts education, social services and vigorous academic support is made possible by generous contributions from the following donors:

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