This month we announce two staff transitions, as Quetzal Flores and Suzanne Hildebrand leave their positions at ACTA. Both Quetzal and Suzanne have been a part of our long-term core staff and have played significant roles in ACTA’s long-term success. We are sad to see them go, but are equally excited for the new developments in their lives. We know they will both continue to be a part of the ACTA family in different roles.
Quetzal Flores, Southern California Program Manager, came on board in ACTA in 2012 to launch dedicated programs in a new Southern California office based in Los Angeles. Drawing on his long-term experience as a professional musician and his extensive network working at the intersection of traditional arts and social justice, Quetzal jumped in and quickly developed new programs, integrating his network and experience into ACTA’s program development. As someone who was raised in East Los Angeles, Quetzal was instrumental in shaping and furthering ACTA’s work with The California Endowment’s Building Healthy Communities initiative in Boyle Heights. He introduced new methodologies to ACTA’s work, such as collective songwriting, and deepened our practice in creating spaces of conviviality as necessary to any work involving community change. He conducted parallel work in the Eastern Coachella Valley, developing relationships with the Purépecha community of indigenous farmworkers from Michoacán, resulting in an on-going traditional embroidery workshop and collective that is now expanding.
During his tenure, ACTA launched its Arts-in-Corrections work in 2014, and deployed Quetzal as an artist working with maximum security, level 4 inmates at California State Prison, Corcoran. Quetzal’s insight and vision as an artist working in this program has provided a guiding force in solidifying this work as part of ACTA’s ongoing programs. Additionally, he employed his experience as a producer in advancing ACTA’s storytelling; the videos he produced to document ACTA’s work stand as a very important contribution to the organization and are a model for the use of video storytelling throughout our programs.
Quetzal’s last day of work at ACTA will be June 30, 2016. He is leaving to take a newly-created position as Director of Arts and Culture at the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC). ELACC has been one of our partners in the Building Healthy Communities-Boyle Heights collaborative over the last four years. Through the arts and community development work that ACTA and Quetzal have facilitated, the power and impact of this work has been made evident; we are impressed that the seeds of ACTA’s work will have a long-term life and home at ELACC, where it can be sustained for the long-term. Quetzal will continue working with ACTA as a consultant on a project basis and Beto González, Program Specialist, will continue advancing our work in the region as ACTA’s Los Angeles-based staff.
Suzanne Hildebrand, Executive Assistant, has been with ACTA for 11 years and has played many essential roles in the organization’s administration and communications programs. She has played an essential role in contributing to ACTA’s development from a young, emerging organization into the robust statewide organization it is today. The roles Suzanne has played in this organization are many, but often not seen by the public. At various times she has served as ACTA’s grants administrator, website and The New Moon editor, program assistant, proofreader and editor, IT manager, and executive assistant, among others. Her depth of experience and contribution has impacted all of our programs and administration, and her departure will leave a big space for someone else to enter. We will miss her daily presence, sense of humor, and grace under fire in taking on administrative challenges large and small.
Suzanne is leaving ACTA to grow her family, and her last day of work will be June 30, 2016. We are currently seeking a replacement for a full-time Executive Assistant working out of the Fresno office.