Spring Benefit for ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights)
An evening of song, stories and emotion, hosted by President and Founder of the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in Chicago, Carlos Tortolero.
Carlos Tortolero is the Founder and President of the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) in Chicago. He founded the museum in 1982 and the museum opened its doors in 1987. From 1975-1987, Tortolero worked as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in the Chicago Public School System.
He is a recipient of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Arts from Columbia College (Chicago), 2016 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2017 from the University of Illinois (Chicago).
He was recently named one of Mayor Lightfoot’s Co-Chairs for her Arts & Culture Transition Team. He has served on numerous boards including the University of Illinois, the American Alliance of Museums, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Illinois Humanities Council, Enrich Chicago, and Choose Chicago. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Ohtli Award which is the highest honor given by the Secretary of Foreign Relations of Mexico and is given to individuals “Who have distinguished themselves in the services of the Mexican community outside of Mexico." He was named by the Chicago Sun-Times as one of the 200 most prominent Illinoisans in 200 years of history and was awarded the City of Chicago’s highest honor in the arts – The Fifth Star Award. He has received the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance’s National Cuatro Festival Award. He was awarded the Chicago History Museum “Making History” Award in June 2018. He was also honored with a Mexican American Legal Defense Education Fund (MALDEF) Lifetime Achievement Award. Tortolero is a Co-Founder of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance.
Tortolero has written for several books as well as numerous articles for national and international publications. He has also made presentations across the U.S. and in Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, Spain, Sweden, and in Argentina. He has also served on several national search committees including the Smithsonian American Museum of Art Director position, (2016-17). He has taught classes at University of Illinois at Chicago, The School of the Art Institute, and Northwestern University. Tortolero has a B.A. in Secondary Education and History from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a M.A. in Bilingual Education Supervision from Chicago State University.