Karla Estela Rivera

Karla Estela Rivera



Karla Estela Rivera is a writer, performer, activist, and arts advocate who has leveraged her gift of storytelling to uplift and create opportunities for, with, and in divested communities. For over a decade, Karla has balanced her artistic practice and service to community-based organizations, from beginning as a teaching artist and youth worker to making national history in systems-level leadership and policy. She now proudly serves as the founding executive director of the Arts Administrators of Color Network (AAC). Prior to her role at AAC, she had the honor of being the executive director of the historic Free Street Theater.

She is currently a company member of 2nd Story, is a co-host of the Creative Generation’s Why Change? Podcast, and the author/narrator of the first-ever commissioned young audiences piece for the Joffrey Ballet, Rita Finds Home (a co-production with the Miami City Ballet). Karla continues to perform in venues and zoom rooms across the country, actively teaches storytelling and consults on arts education, social justice, and advocacy initiatives. She is a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and holds a BA from Columbia College Chicago, with graduate studies at New York University. Instagram and Twitter: @kestelarivera; LinkedIn: karlaerivera.

2023 Innovator Project

Anti-Racist Practice for Teaching Artists

Fellow Cohort Members

Dr. Rachael Dwyer is an experienced educator and researcher, committed to ensuring all children have access to a quality arts education. Rachael’s current focus is on how the arts afford opportunities for meaningful embedding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in school curricula, leading to rich cultural learning and positive education outcomes for students. Rachael is also active in arts professional associations, and has expertise in project management, and research communication strategy, which provides a broad skillset that can be leveraged to advocate for and enact social change. Arts education, arts-based methods and decolonising practices allow for rich, collaborative, applied work, developing sustained and sustaining relationships with participants, preservice teachers and community stakeholders.

Dr. Rachael Jacobs is a lecturer in Creative Arts Education at Western Sydney, an arts activist and community artist. She conducts research on arts for social change and decolonised approaches to embodied learning. Formerly a high school teacher, Rachael has facilitated arts projects in community settings in Australia and internationally, including in refugee communities, in prisons and in women’s refuges. She has been a consultant to the OECD in the development of the Sustainable Development Goals and to UNESCO’s International Commission on Futures of Learning. Rachael is also a freelance writer, aerial artist, South Asian dancer and choreographer. She was a founding member of the community activism group, Teachers for Refugees, and runs her own intercultural dance company.

Leadership Committee


ITAC IMPACT: Climate 2021 -22 Artists

ITAC Innovators 2021-2022


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