Long-time Los Angeles-based arts advocate and administrator Leticia Rhi Buckley has been selected as Chief Executive Officer of LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes in downtown Los Angeles, succeeding retiring CEO John Echeveste.
Buckley assumes the position at the Los Angeles County museum and cultural center on April 4, beginning her tenure there as LA Plaza celebrates its ten-year anniversary. LA Plaza is an institution of stories that makes known the role of Mexicans, Mexican Americans, and all Latinas/Latinos in shaping the past, present, and future of Los Angeles through permanent and changing exhibits, educational initiatives, and a diverse range of public programming. The museum and cultural center is also a Smithsonian Institute affiliate.
“After an extensive national and international search, we found the most capable candidate here in our own backyard to continue LA Plaza’s growth,” said Lupe de la Cruz III, chair of LA Plaza’s Board of Trustees. “Leticia brings all the competencies we sought in a new leader: cultural arts literacy, local knowledge and proven management skills. We know she’ll hit the ground running and keep us in a positive trajectory.”
Buckley joins LA Plaza with nearly 30 years’ experience with local cultural arts, communications, and entertainment organizations. She most recently served as Senior Civic Strategist with The Music Center, where she was responsible for overall direction, management, and strategic implementation of civic and community relationships, reporting directly to the CEO.
She previously served with the Los Angeles County Arts Commission (now Department of Arts and Culture), as Acting Executive Director, Chief Deputy, and Director of Communications and Marketing from 2012 through 2019. She also serves as a Los Angeles County Arts Commissioner, Vice President for Californians for the Arts/California Arts Advocates, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Business and Management of the Arts at Claremont Graduate University.
“As a daughter of Mexican immigrants who was born and raised not too far from LA Plaza, I am thrilled by the opportunity to expand the museum and cultural center’s role as the Latinx cultural hub of Southern California,” Buckley said. “LA Plaza has firmly established itself as one of the leading cultural organizations of our region and I am honored and excited to work with the board and staff as we build on that foundation.”
"Leticia Buckley is steeped in community, equity, and arts,” said Hilda L. Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor, First District. “At the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Leticia was instrumental in developing our Cultural Equity & Inclusion Initiative (CEII) – a report which set out strategies for ensuring all Angelenos have equitable access to arts and culture. And as one of my Arts Commissioners, she’s helped to expand our reach and advance our work on the many programs and services the County invests in annually. I am thrilled that she will bring that expertise to LA Plaza – a key member of the County’s cultural arts family. Her passion for the arts, commitment to uplifting the Latino community, and strong background in the region’s cultural arts system makes her the visionary leader we need to lead LA Plaza in its second decade.”
Echeveste joined LA Plaza in September 2014 and announced his retirement in 2021. He led LA Plaza through a period of unprecedented growth and expansion, during which the annual operation budget more than doubled, along with attendance. LA Plaza’s downtown campus grew as well, with the construction of LA Plaza Village, LA Plaza Cocina, and the Historic Paseo walkway.
“We thank John for guiding LA Plaza through a tremendous period of growth and look forward to a smooth transition of leadership,” de la Cruz said. “We have many exciting new plans in the works that Leticia will oversee with the support of our talented staff.”
The search was handled by Los Angeles-based Berkhemer Clayton.