Laura Wilde joined Xico Arte y Cultura as executive director on January 15. And she's already got big plans.
Xico, Inc. is a nonprofit founded by a group of local artists in 1975 to support Chicano and Native American arts and culture. Its first gallery space, located in Chandler, opened in 2008. Today it's got 3,000 square feet of gallery, studio, and office space near downtown Phoenix.
Wilde’s duties include managing daily operations, overseeing the annual budget of $396,000, and working with Xico board members and staff to achieve the organization’s goals. Most of Xico's revenue comes from an annual dinner and auction, held most recently in February at the Arizona Biltmore, Wilde says.
Before joining Xico, Wilde worked at several Valley arts venues, including Phoenix Art Museum, Mesa Arts Center, and Phoenix Center for the Arts. Most of her experience is with community outreach and engagement, but she's also done fundraising work.
Currently, she’s one of just two full-time staff members, along with program director Sylvia Hernandez-Moreno. But Wilde expects to hire additional staff in coming months.
She’s also planning to expand the scope of Xico’s work.
“Right now we have a printmaking focus, but we may expand this,” Wilde says.
Typically, Xico has presented just three or four exhibitions each year, Wilde says. But she’s planning to up that number, presenting at least four or five exhibitions each year.
“We want to focus on local community artists,” Wilde says.
Xico has a long history of hosting workshops for artists and community members. But Wilde hopes to add several additional programs – including open studio, summer, and youth classes.
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Wilde hails the accomplishments of Xico’s previous director, Donna Valdés, who saw the organization through two moves and a major recession.
“I want to honor our roots,” Wilde says.
But she’s also eager to increase Xico’s reach.
“We need to reach out to Native American artists, and reengage with community members.”