The SHG Team

Meet our Dedicated staff


Joel Garcia, Co-director, programs and operations

Joel Garcia is an artist, arts administrator and cultural organizer with over 20 years of experience working transnationally with artists locally and in Latin America, organizing workshops, events and festivals in over 20 Mexican and Latin American cities. Currently, Joel is the Director of Programs & Operations at Self Help Graphics & Art and since 2010 has produced the Día de los Muertos Celebration, helping grow attendance and engagement with the local and international community. Joel has also developed art and organized community engagement activities for organizations such as the Dolores Huerta Foundation, UFW United Farm Workers, Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural, The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, Japanese American National Museum, the Save Ethnics Studies Campaign in Arizona, Alto Arizona Campaign against SB1070, National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and the Cucapa Campaign for Ancestral Fishing Rights among others. As printmaker Joel has assisted with revitalizing the Professional Print Program at Self Help Graphics & Art by helping merge digital and analog techniques and pushing for more experimental processes. He recently presented a body of work at the Vincent Price Art Museum (July 2015) titled Tatewari.


Alexa Kim, Program Coordinator

Alexa B. Kim is the current Program Coordinator at Self Help Graphics & Art. Alexa has assisted in the development and coordination of the ever growing volunteer program that is integral to the success of the many of Self Help’s cultural programs such as Dia de Los Muertos and the Annual Print Fair & Exhibition. Most recently, Alexa played a key role in the completion of a comprehensive appraisal of Self Help Graphics' inventory, composed of 8,000+ individual print editions, with Patrick H. Ela of Comprehensive Art Services. Alexa is an alum of the Getty Leadership Institute NextGen 2017 cohort at Claremont Graduate University and has interned at Self Help Graphics & Art, the Japanese American National Museum (Little Tokyo), Yochim Arts (Venice), and the Muckenthaler Cultural Center (Orange County). During her internship at Self Help Graphics & Art, Alexa helped with the digitization and development of Self Help Graphics & Art digital print archive that includes prints from ’73 to the present. Alexa is a graduate of Kalamazoo College with degrees in Art History and Sociology.


Betty Avila, Co-Director, advancement and administration

Betty Avila is a native of Los Angeles, born and raised in Cypress Park. Her work has centered on the intersection of the arts and social justice, with particular focus on community building, public space, and youth empowerment. She has held positions with the Getty Research Institute, The Music Center and the Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park. She is a board member of the Center for Cultural Innovation and is a founding board member of Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM). MCM supports low-income communities of color that bike, walk and use public transit in Los Angeles County.  In 2017, Betty was named one of C-Suite Quarterly Magazine’s NextGen 10 in Philanthropy, Arts and Culture and an Impact-Maker to Watch by City Impact Labs. She received her B.A. in Literature at Pitzer College, has an M.A. in Arts Management from Claremont Graduate University, and is a 2008 Fulbright Fellow to Korea.

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Stephanie Mercado is a first generation Mexican-American artist from Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. She has worked in arts administration since 2007, while maintaining her arts practice. She has experience working with corporations and private clients on collections and acquisitions, exhibition planning, and art gallery management. She has also worked as an artist assistant and as a costumer and production assistant in the film industry. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from California State University Long Beach in Drawing & Painting and has exhibited internationally including exhibitions in Spain, Canada, Colorado, Texas and Illinois.  Stephanie joined the Self Help Graphics and Art team in September of 2017.