Self Help Graphics & Art, a nonprofit Chicano arts center in East Los Angeles, has chosen Evonne Gallardo to spearhead the organization into its 39th year. Gallardo, who was the center’s director of development from 2001 to 2003, will become executive director June 1.

“I’m thrilled,” Gallardo said Friday. “To be a part of such a huge legacy and huge community is a real privilege for me. I hope I can work with everyone to take the organization to new heights.”

The hire comes just months after the printmaking studio and gallery, created in 1970, found itself struggling to remain at its landmark location where it had operated rent-free. A muddled situation that critics say it contributed to over the years through poor management -- including a decision to padlock the building in 2005 when faced with unsafe conditions and unpaid insurance bills -- jeopardized pending grants that could have helped it acquire the building.

Self Help reached an agreement with the building’s new owners, Piedmont Investment Co., to remain for at least one more year, but it now has to pay rent. The current lease expires at the end of the year.



Yvonne Villarreal