An icon at The University of New Mexico and the greater Albuquerque dance community is receiving well-earned national recognition. 

National Institute of Flamenco (NIF) Executive Director and UNM Dance Professor Marisol Encinias has just been named a National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) 2024 Advocacy Leadership Fellow

Art administration is anything that involves the work that makes it possible for the arts to take place. It’s the logistics behind it. One of my areas of interest as an artist and scholar is community work in the arts and how they can take place in a community in an effective way. What kind of access does the community have to art programming, performance and education?

“I’m very excited about the possibility of continuing to learn what I can bring back. Being a rep of this work and being selected to be part of this conversation I think says there are some interesting things happening at UNM," Encinias said. "Being part of this will help me continue to learn and grow to be even more effective.” 

The NALAC is the nation’s premier nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Latino arts field. Encinias was chosen as just one of 13 fellows to enhance cultural advocacy in her community. 

“The cohort of people selected for this have a lot of experience, across different mediums and genres of the arts. I'm excited to be able to be a part of this cohort and learn and think about how I can be more effective in advocating for my community at a local or national level,” Encinias said.

In addition to countless hours spent teaching, choreographing and performing flamenco across many different stages, especially at UNM, Encinias serves as the artistic director and curator of Festival Flamenco Alburquerque. Her newest work, MESTIZX (Feb 2024), is a work of flamenco dance theatre and is performed by UNM-hosted Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company.

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“I think it says that there is interesting work that is taking place through flamenco and in the arts that represent Latin American culture in Albuquerque,” she said. “It says the work is interesting enough that the future we’re headed to and really what we're doing at UNM and in flamenco will be even brighter and more impactful.”

She has also helped found a charter school, Tierra Adentro, that offers a model of culturally relevant and academic success in New Mexico. This balance between education and community is one she hopes to perfect with this fellowship. 

“I’ve learned in New Mexico what the role of arts in youth is. I’m interested in seeing how there can be better practices and better help for the creative art industry,” Encinias said. “It’s hard to have stability, so in my arts practice I want to learn how we can address issues of social justice through government connections and make art more equitable.”

The 2024 cohort will focus on a two-month virtual program led by NALAC faculty and staff, featuring a curriculum centered on advocacy, civic participation, legislation, and policy efforts for arts and cultural workers. 

Following the virtual program, NALAC staff, ALI faculty, and fellows will come together in Washington, D.C., to meet with federal arts agencies, Smithsonian institutional leaders, and state and U.S representatives to advocate for congressional priorities in arts and culture legislation on behalf of the nonprofit arts and culture field. The visit will include sessions on Capitol Hill and with the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Endowment for the Arts, Archives of American Art, Pew Research Center, and Americans for the Arts.

“This is for people who are interested in being involved in art administration. It’s for getting training in art advocacy through the government and learning how to try to make change on a larger level. We’ll get that training,” Encinias said. 

Encinias invites the community to join her in this greater embrace of arts in New Mexico, by coming to the 37th Annual Festival Alburquerque at UNM in June.

“These ideas of advocacy and what we’re trying to do will be put forward into the festival representation of artists and how we treat artists in the process,” she said. “I imagine once I’m exposed I will try to incorporate the ideas and experiences in that as an artist. It will probably have an influence on the work that we’re doing in June.”