Madalena Salazar, Executive Director, is a creative focused on issues of cultural equity with extensive experience as a nonprofit administrator, DEI consultant, educator/facilitator, organizer, and cultural producer. Prior to Working Classroom, Madalena was the Social Responsibility and Inclusion Programs Manager for WESTAF (the Western States Arts Federation) and also spent three years as the manager of the IMTour and TourWest programs. In that role, she supported a move toward greater funding equity in WESTAF’s grant programs, the continued growth of the Emerging Leaders of Color program, and the active engagement of its alumni network. Madalena is also the founder and principal of the creative consulting business 3rd Space Vision LLC., where she has supported local, regional, and national organizations; including, Explora Science Center, Solutions Journalism Network, GallupArts, Su Teatro, the Anchutz Museum of Western American Art, and the Denver Botanic Gardens in collaboration with Denver’s Mexican Cultural Center. She is also a community lead for the Albuquerque-based Coffee + Creatives group, the newest faculty member for WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color program, and was recently appointed to the City of Albuquerque’s Urban Enhancement Trust Fund. Madalena also served as the first Latino cultural programs coordinator for the Denver Art Museum and was an educator, administrator, and advocate for the Brooklyn Museum, the Community College of Denver, and the University of New Mexico. She was an alumna of WESTAF’s Emerging Leaders of Color, and was a member of Denver’s Commission on Cultural Affairs, a founding member of Denver’s LatinasGive! philanthropic group, and a member of the Denver Art Museum’s Latino Alliance.
Madalena brings to her work the values of engaging creatively as one’s whole self, sharing power, and working collaboratively, relationally, and intersectionally across generations. These values align closely with those long articulated by Working Classroom. Her beliefs are shaped by her experience as a Chicana New Mexican, born, and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with ancestral roots in the Rio Abajo and Rio Arriba. Her creativity is expressed in music and dance, artesanía, cooking (and eating), gardening and yerbería, and traditional healing arts like tarot, Reiki, and curanderismo. Madalena received a B.A. in Anthropology, and an M.A. in Art History from the University of New Mexico. Madalena is most proud of being a mother, daughter, and partner and spends her remaining time with her children, husband, and her extended and chosen family. “I am grateful to have the opportunity to help our organzation move into its new phase with intention, rooted in our history, and attentive to how we must adapt to envision a more equitable future. In the midst of a pandemic and the scaling back and adaptation of our programs, I believe that thinking creatively and centering justice is more urgent for us than ever,” says Madalena.