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Meet the Team

Marcela Garcia

Executive Director

Marcela “Xela” Garcia is a Xicana artist, innovator and cultural warrior that was born in Guadalajara and raised in Milwaukee. She brings broad experience in arts and culture, education, philanthropy and organizational sustainability with more than ten years of systems and program development, implementation and evaluation.
 
As a proud Milwaukee Public Schools alumni and resident of Milwaukee’s southside, her deep commitment to cultural equity and to change-making in and with our communities, uniquely positions her to assume this post.
 
“To me, the arts have historically served as a mechanism of survival and liberation from the systemic inequities that affect marginalized groups—providing an outlet and a voice for individuals and groups affected by such forces. I see WPCA as the organization that can lead these crucial conversations and efforts in our city. I want to see healthy communities. I want to see communities mobilizing and collaborating for social change. Most importantly, I want to see my city thrive,” Ms. Garcia said. 
 
She previously served as a Program Director for Board Governance and Leadership at Partners Advancing Values in Education (PAVE) where she lead 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 also holds a certification in Non-profit Leadership. An advocate of racial and gender equity, she serves on local and national arts, education, and foundation boards.

Howard Leu

Marketing Communications Coordinator

howard@wpca-milwaukee.org
414.509.6186

Howard is a very creative thinker with practical sensibility. He previously worked at the online arts and culture publication Third Coast Daily (now Urban Milwaukee Dial) as the business and marketing manager. There he developed a great appreciation for the local arts community and became enthralled by the wonderful and accessible art in this city. He’s also been very active in various organizations, and volunteered and served in leadership roles in many nonprofits, including Historic Milwaukee, Inc., Riverwest Neighborhood Association, Milwaukee Forum and Ex Fabula.

One of his lifelong passions is photography. Urban landscape and street scenes are his most photographed subjects. He also enjoys shooting events and weddings. He received a Bachelor’s degree in architecture from UWM and worked in historic preservation and restoration for many years before following the path of media and marketing.

Fifteen years ago, Howard came to Milwaukee to attend UWM and since took root here. He’s lived in various places throughout his youth, including Atlanta, Houston, Taipei and Alexander City, AL. This has been the longest he’s ever lived anywhere and he’s proud to call Milwaukee home. In the summer, he enjoys riding the Oak Leaf Trail, going to festivals, Brewers games and photographing uniquely Milwaukee cityscapes.

Maikue Vang

Art Education Coordinator

maikue@wpca-milwaukee.org
414.509.6187

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Maikue’s philosophy of art teaching and art making focuses on the community she grew up in, creating activities that connect art and identity. As an artist educator, her goal is to be able to provide an art program for youth in the Milwaukee community that encompasses art making that connects to processing thought and addressing contemporary ideas. Maikue’s goal in life is to support arts and humanity in the community through advocacy, active engagement, and collaboration.

She received her BFA in Art Education in 2012 and an MFA in Fibers and Textiles Art in 2014 at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. As a student, Maikue was a recipient of the Advanced Opportunities Program Award, Layton Fellowship, and Surface Design Association’s Outstanding Student Award.

Her artistic practice includes participating in local shows such as the ABK Weaving Center’s Annual Milwaukee Fibers Warped Exhibit, Sharon Lynne Wilson Art Center’s Emerging Artist Exhibition, Hmong American Women’s Association’s Honoring Our Sisters’ Stories: A Tribute to Survivors of Violence Exhibit, and the Wisconsin Quilt Museum’s Second Biennale Fibers Art: Wisconsin State of Art show. She has also presented her artworks and written pieces at the Milwaukee Area Hmong Writing Symposium, UWM’s Teacher’s Institute, and the Milwaukee Art Museum’s ArtXPress Teen Youth Program.