Alice Valdez | Executive Director + Founder
Known as a visionary and community leader, Alice Valdez has worked for over three decades to help disadvantaged youth and families create a brighter future for themselves and the community. Determination, commitment and a refusal to yield to the impossible are her trademarks, and her work has had a tremendous impact on hundreds of Houstonians.
Valdez has a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Texas at El Paso and is certified to teach instrumental music at all grade levels in Texas. She studied oboe with Raymond Weaver, first oboist of the Houston Symphony and Richard Henderson, first oboist of the El Paso Symphony and Dean of Fine Arts at UTEP. Valdez performed as an oboist for the El Paso Symphony from 1968 to 1970. She has worked as a freelance instrumentalist (oboe, guitar, and flute) and vocalist, and served as the Music Liturgy Director for Post Chapel (Ft. McPherson, Georgia) from 1970 to 1971, and for St. Joseph Parish (Houston, Texas) from 1980 to 1991. She has previously taught music at Teatro Bilingüe de Houston, Annunciation Catholic School, and at elementary and junior high schools in Georgia and Texas. She continues to provide instruction as a private woodwind and Suzuki violin teacher.
Valdez is responsible for the administration of MECA, and also serves as liaison with representatives of community-based organizations, aids with social economic issues affecting the participants of MECA art and education programs, and advocates for arts organizations of color. In the course of her leadership at MECA, she has provided extensive counseling for MECA participants and families for alcoholism and drug addiction, child abuse, battered women abuse, and social service referrals. Valdez is currently leading the historic Dow School Rehabilitation Project. Under her leadership, MECA has received numerous awards and recognitions.
Valdez has directed several major public mural projects, including: Resurrected Christ, formerly in St. Joseph Church; United Community on an exterior wall of St. Joseph School in what later became part of the Old Sixth Ward Art Park; Crockett Elementary School exterior mural titled Our Community; Hogg Middle School mural series of Pre-Colombian murals titled the Wall of Respect; and Texas History Murals. Ms. Valdez served as a consultant for Crockett Elementary School’s SPARK Park and directed the Crockett Elementary School two-story exterior mural Our House, a National Endowment for the Arts visual arts education project. Valdez directed the following major sculpture projects: water fountain Cactus and an eight-foot ceramic relief mask wall, Old Sixth Ward Art Park; two tile mask walls, Brock Elementary School; sculptured gate and tile mosaic, Douglas Elementary School SPARK Park; dinosaur sculpture playground, Travis Elementary School. She also initiated the planning for and directed the construction of the Old Sixth Ward Art Park, an inner-city art park.
Valdez is a member of the American Leadership Forum and is coordinator of the Arts and Culture Careers Panel for Houston Hispanic Forum. Some of her honors include Houston LULAC Hispanic Woman of the Year, Fiestas Patrias Distinguished Hispanic Award, Barbara Jordan Leadership Award in Visual and Performing Arts, Whitney M. Young Humanitarian Award, Outstanding Contribution to Youth Award (for services rendered in the arts) by the Community Volunteer Youth Council, YWCA of Houston Outstanding Woman of Achievement in the Arts, Spirit of Community Award in recognition of outstanding service to the Hispanic Community from the Chicano/Hispanic Law Students Association of the University of Texas Law School, Sor Juana Woman of Achievement Award, and the Freedom Heroes Award from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Valdez has also served as a keynote speaker, presenter, panelist, board and advisory board member, and committee member for numerous social and arts organizations.