Marcela “Xela” Garcia is a Xicana artist, innovator and cultural warrior, born in Guadalajara and raised in Milwaukee. She has extensive experience in the fields of arts and culture, education, philanthropy, and organizational sustainability, adding up to over ten years of systems and program development, implementation, and evaluation.

A proud MPS alumna and resident of Milwaukee’s Southside, her deep commitment to cultural equity and change-making uniquely positions her to lead an organization with matching values.

“To me, art provides an outlet and a voice for individuals and groups affected by such forces. WPCA can lead these crucial conversations and efforts in Milwaukee. I want healthy communities. I want communities mobilizing and collaborating for social change. Most importantly, I want my city to thrive.”

She previously served as a program director for Board Governance and Leadership at Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE), where she leads governance and leadership programs for independent school systems in Milwaukee. She earned her BA in English Literature, Chican@/Latin@ Studies and American Indian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a certification in Non-profit Leadership. An advocate of racial and gender equity, she serves on local and national arts, education, and foundation boards.