Mario Garcia Durham
Mario Garcia Durham (he/him/his) has more than 30 years of experience guiding community-based, regional, and national arts and service organizations. A respected policy strategist known for his diplomatic approach and ability to bring people together, Garcia Durham is skilled at addressing stakeholder needs to establish positive and committed organizational cultures. His areas of expertise include board relations and leadership, strategy, organizational management, resource optimization, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Garcia Durham spent nearly a decade as President & CEO of the Association for Performing Arts Professionals (APAP), managing one of the largest professional associations for the performing arts field in the United States. In addition to overseeing APAP’s $4.3 million budget and annual conference, Garcia Durham strategically realigned the association, identified new fundraising resources, and significantly refocused the organization on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. APAP recently awarded him the Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest honors in the field of presenting.
Prior to joining APAP, Garcia Durham served as Director of Artist Communities & Presenting at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). In this role, he administered the $6 million federal grant portfolio and was instrumental in spearheading several of the agency’s national and international special initiatives, including the Guadalajara International Book Fair, NEA Opera Honors, and American Masterpieces Presenting Program. He inaugurated the NEA’s Artist Communities granting program and was the initiator of Live from Your Neighborhood, a groundbreaking study on the impact of outdoor arts festivals in the United States. Garcia Durham was also the Executive Director and Founder of Yerba Buena Arts & Events, which produces the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco. Now in its 20th year, the festival attracts more than 100,000 people to over 100 free presentations from May to October.
“Having spent my life in the arts and business, the work we do at ACG offers me the rare chance to be part of the much-needed evolution that is going on in the arts and the world around us. I firmly believe artists and arts organizations can be a leading force in this work and be catalytic in provocative and important conversations. These are times of unprecedented change that offer great opportunities for all of us, including arts and culture organizations, to reflect, learn, and grow.”
An adjunct professor within George Mason University’s Graduate School of Arts Administration, Garcia Durham has been a prominent participant on numerous national boards and committees, as well as award and grant panels. He currently serves as Board Chair of the Sitar Arts Center, sits on the National Advisory Committee for SMU/Data Arts, and leads the newly formed National Outdoor Arts Group. He is also part of a team bringing a major international outdoor arts exhibition called Alebrijes de Oaxaca to cities across the United States. Garcia Durham holds a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Houston.
Association of Performing Arts Professionals
Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity
National Endowment for the Arts
Yerba Buena Arts & Events