Our Voices. Nuestras Voces.

The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) is a transformative cultural engine helping drive our local Latino theater community to a more prominent level. Our organization is an ambitious and impactful program –which is urgently needed for our city as we wrestle with issues of cultural equity and inclusion.

It is a goal of ours to build a stronger foundation for the future Latino theater artists to thrive and grow!  

The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in 2016 by the three most prominent Chicago Latino arts organizations: International Latino Cultural Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and arts executive, Myrna Salazar, with the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and Allstate Insurance Company.


The Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA) is committed to enticing, fostering and showcasing new thought provoking works of emerging Latino playwrights, while preserving and promoting the best works of classic and contemporary artists, to inspire a cross-cultural audience.

CLATA works to showcase existing and new thought provoking U.S. Latino playwrights, actors and directors primarily in Chicago, along with national and international counterparts. CLATA strives to preserve cultural heritage and serve as a conduit to promote and identify new and exciting works.

Our goals are to create a permanent home for Chicago’s Latino theater groups and companies. To create the country’s leading international Latino theater festival with an emphasis on showcasing local Latino theater artists and companies. CLATA also aims to provide technical and professional support for Chicago’s Latino theater groups and companies.


Myrna SalazarExecutive Director & Board Member

A native of Puerto Rico and raised in Chicago, Myrna Salazar began her career as an Economic Development Specialist at the West Town Economic Development Corporation. In that capacity, she generated over $10 million in procurement housing and business development from both the private and public sectors. During that time, she completed a two-year fellowship with the National Economic Development Council and was appointed by the then Mayor of Chicago, Jane Byrne, to the Chicago Board of Education where she served for five years.

Ms. Salazar is a marketing and advertising expert with over 25 years of experience. Founder and President of Salazar & Navas Talent Agency, she successfully secured contracts for over 300 professional actors, models and spokespersons for a client base of 50 Fortune 500 companies.

From 2007 through 2011, Ms. Salazar acted as the Director of Development & Marketing at the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago (ILCC), which produces the Annual Chicago Latino Film Festival (CLFF), among other programs.

Ms. Salazar has been a recipient of numerous awards and recognitions from many organizations including, the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, ASPIRA of Illinois, the Latino Fashion Week and Teatro Vista.

Ms. Salazar holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the Regent External Program from New York State University and an Associate Degree from Columbia College Chicago in Broadcast Communications and Arts Management. She also completed a two-year seminar series in Capacity Building/Arts Management at the Kennedy Center.

Berenice VargasAssociate Director

Berenice is a Chicago native with years of experience in the non-profit sector. She has had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe and Latin America. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts, cooking and listening to podcasts.

Berenice worked for a number of years at the International Latino Cultural Center as the Operations Manager. She has experience in project management, research, and community engagement. 

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Master of Library & Information Science (MLIS)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Major in Sociology; Minor in Latina/Latino Studies; Minor in Spanish

Board Members

Martin R. CastroPresident

Interin CEO, Casa Central & President, Castro Synergies

Marty Castro served as Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (“USCCR”), by appointment of President Barack Obama, from 2011 until December 2016. Mr. Castro was the first Latino Chairperson in the history of the USCCR.

Marty Castro is the President and CEO of Castro Synergies, LLC, which provides strategic consulting services to corporations, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations seeking to have a positive social impact on diverse communities.
.Mr. Castro is also the recipient of Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from Roosevelt University and DePaul University. Mr. Castro received his B.A. in political science in 1985 from DePaul University and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1988.

Carlos HernandezVice President

Founder & Executive Director, Puerto Rican Arts Alliance

Presently, Carlos directs all cultural programming, office operations, fundraising, board development and volunteer recruitment for the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance. Most recently, Carlos completed PRAA’s $2.5 million capital campaign drive and established an expanded Puerto Rican/Latino cultural center in the Logan Square/Avondale community of Chicago.

Carlos continues to provide key leadership and produces PRAA’s annual Emmy Award Winning National Cuatro Festival; implements its one-of-kind Latin Music Project; directs El Archivo,
an archival effort aimed at documenting the historical migration contribution of the Puerto Rican community; guides its Taino Project and the exhibition and studio arts programs, among others.
Carlos R. Hernandez holds a Master in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Southern Illinois University.

Carlos Tortolero Treasurer

President & Founder, National Museum of Mexican Art

Carlos Tortolero is the Founder and President of the National Museum of Mexican Art. The Museum was founded in 1982 and opened its doors in 1987 with a collection of 800 pieces of art. Today, with a budget of approximately $5 million and a Permanent Collection of 10,000 pieces, the Museum is the largest Latino arts institution in the nation.

From 1975-1987, Tortolero worked as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in the Chicago Public School System. He has served on numerous boards including the University of Illinois, the American Alliance of Museums, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Illinois Humanities Council, and Choose Chicago.
Carlos Tortolero has a B.A. from the University of Illinois (Chicago) in Secondary Education and History and a M.A. from Chicago State University in Bilingual Education Supervision.

Rosemary BombelaSecretary 

Chair, Illinois Human Rights Comission & President, Global Diversity Solutions Group

A native of East Chicago, Indiana, Ms. Bombela-Tobias began her career as a reporter and joined former Illinois Governor James Thompson’s staff in 1978, as Assistant Press Secretary to the Governor. Rose Mary was appointed Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights by Governor Jim Edgar in 1991 making her the first Hispanic in Illinois history to serve as the director in a cabinet level position.

Bombela-Tobias was appointed Chair of the Illinois Human Rights Commission by Governor Bruce Rauner in 2015. She previously served as Director of Central States SER, Jobs for Progress a not for profit organization that provides employment and training programs for low income residents of the Chicago land area. She is former State Director of LULAC of Illinois and serves as President of Chicago LULAC Council #313.
Co-author of “The Complete Job Search Guide for Latinos” published by Barron’s Educational Series.

Antonio R. GuillenBoard Member

President of Wintrust Bank Pilsen, and Senior Vice-President of Commercial Lending & Diverse Markets Manager

Antonio also serves as the President of the Hispanic Bankers Association (HBA), and serves on several other Boards including Little Village Chamber of Commerce (LVCC), Eighteenth Street Development Corporation (ESDC), Latino Professionals for a Cause (LPC), Puerto Rican Arts Alliance (PRAA), and is a member of the Latino Advisory Council (LAC) for Catholic Charities.
Antonio is a Chicago native, married with 5 children; he joined Wintrust in July of 2010.

Antonio has over 35 years’ experience in the Banking industry. Antonio’s expertise is Business Banking, specifically lending to small to medium size businesses, and commercial real estate financing and development.
Antonio has over 35 years’ experience in the Banking industry.

Pepe VargasBoard Member

Founder & Executive Director, International Latino Cultural Center

Pepe Vargas grew up in a small town in Colombia. Under the direction of Mr. Vargas, the Chicago Latino Film Festival has evolved into the largest and best Latino film festival in the U.S. and is now Chicago’s biggest International Latino cultural event.

From 1975-1987, Tortolero worked as a teacher, counselor, and administrator in the Chicago Public School System. He has served on numerous boards including the University of Illinois, the American Alliance of Museums, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Smithsonian Latino Center, the Illinois Humanities Council, and Choose Chicago.
Mr. Vargas received his degree in Law & Social Sciences from the National University of Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1976. He studied at Columbia College Chicago and earned a degree in Broadcast Journalism & Television/Film production in 1985.