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Executive Director of 18 Years to Retire, Board of Directors Announce New Executive Director

Photo by Patricia De La Rosa

Los Angeles Music and Art School (LAMusArt) announces that its executive director, Isela Sotelo, will retire on July 31, 2015, after 18 years of dedicated service and that the school’s current deputy director will take over as executive director.

The board expresses its tremendous gratitude to Ms. Sotelo for her years of service, artistic vision and leadership.  “Isela has dedicated 18 years to LAMusArt’s development, growth and progress. In doing so, she impacted countless children and their families,” says Efrain Fuentes, board president. He adds, “Isela’s unwavering commitment has greatly enhanced the social and artistic fabric of the greater East Los Angeles community.”

Under Ms. Sotelo’s leadership, LAMusArt has increased enrollment, staffing and class offerings by more than 30 percent. She also guided the organization in creating a fundraising program that now supports a majority of LAMusArt operations. Her efforts have helped the school remain sustainable while maintaining tuition fees at a level that permits youth from all socioeconomic backgrounds to access high-caliber, rewarding arts education. In 2005, Ms. Sotelo received the Union Bank/KCET Local Heroes Award in Arts Leadership, and in 2007 she was selected as one of La Opinión’s 30 Mujeres Destacadas (Distinguished Women) for her contributions to the Latino community.



As part of a thoughtful succession plan, Manuel Prieto will replace Ms. Sotelo commencing August 1, 2015. Mr. Prieto has played an integral role in LAMusArt’s success, serving in increasingly responsible positions, for the past five years. Prior to his tenure at the school, he worked with Center Theatre Group.

Mr. Prieto holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Southern California and is currently completing a master’s degree in nonprofit management. He has been recognized for his contributions to the field of theatrical design. LAMusArt looks forward to the next phase of its success, under Mr. Prieto’s leadership. “I’m committed to supporting Manuel in his new role,” says Ms. Sotelo.

“Manuel brings great skill, creativity and energy to the position of executive director, and we look forward to working with him to build on the school’s achievements to date,” says Jane Castruccio, longtime LAMusArt board member and current board secretary.

Established in 1945, LAMusArt is the only multidisciplinary community school for the arts located in East Los Angeles. LAMusArt provides high-quality, affordable, and sequential arts instruction — in music, dance, drama and the visual arts — to at-risk youth.


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