New Leadership, Same Mission #WeAreSHG
By Jennifer Cuevas
Self Help Graphics & Art is about to embark on a new chapter of leadership. Our former co-Director of Administration and Advancement, Betty Avila, was recently appointed to the role of Executive Director. We look forward to Betty's continued stewardship of SHG, especially as we commence our capital campaign in the new year, and continue to move forward with our strategic plan and advance toward our 50th anniversary in 2023. “It’s an honor to be named Executive Director of Self Help Graphics & Art, the organization that reflected me and my culture and gave me the affirmation I needed to pursue a career in the arts during my college years. I look forward to continuing to amplify our mission, the Chicana/o and Latinx narrative through printmaking and the arts, and promoting culture through practice and policy with our dedicated staff and community of artists,” said Avila.
At this time, we also want to express our gratitude to former Co-Director of Programs and Operations, Joel Garcia, for his seven years of service, leadership and contributions to the growth of Self Help Graphics & Art and wish him the best in his future endeavors. Joel was one of the individuals who helped the organization resume operations in 2011, after SHG was displaced from our original iconic mosaic building on Cesar E. Chavez in East LA.
Under Joel’s leadership, SHG’s programs garnered national recognition, and twice we were recognized by President Obama’s administration. Projects he launched such as the Know Your Rights Poster Making Pop Ups and JornARTleros led to supporting advocacy for vulnerable communities, Eastside artists, and low-wage workers such as street vendors, among other accomplishments. His advocacy and work with youth for a holistic approach to youth development have led to systemic changes in support of Boyle Heights residents. Joel began his journey with SHG in 2011, and during that time developed various print projects, including key programs such as the Printmaking Summit (and related print portfolio) and most recently, the 45th Anniversary Exhibition and artist panel series, “Entre Tinta y Lucha: 45 Years of Self Help Graphics & Art,” at Cal State LA, opening August 21st at the university’s Fine Arts Gallery. Joel has decided to focus on advocacy issues impacting youth, artist development, and indigenous communities and is part of a long legacy of artists and cultural workers who have been of service to the mission of Self Help Graphics & Art since our inception. We honor the work that he and all of the leaders before him have done as we embark on a new chapter for the organization.
Jennifer Cuevas is Self Help Graphics & Art’s Communications Consultant and a cultural arts producer, with a passion for the arts, social justice and policy.