Guillermina Gonzalez Considers Art A Serious Business
Mexico City native says success in math and science innovation can only be achieved with a healthy exposure to art.
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While it’s important to note what the Delaware Arts Alliance does, it’s also necessary to understand what it does not do. “If you’re looking for money, then the place to go is the Delaware Division of the Arts. If you need somebody to go to the Joint Finance Committee and ask for an increase in arts funding that will be distributed by the Delaware Division of the Arts, then we come in. The Delaware Division of the Arts cannot advocate for itself.”
If Gonzalez appears almost too perfect for her mission, she does admit to one weakness: “I am not detailed oriented, and that has caused some issues at times. I seek advice from detailed oriented people—Nivea Mercado, DAA’s wonderful administrative assistant, for instance, is a perfect complement.”
Another perfect complement, at least to her highly persuasive communication skills, are Delaware’s airwaves. Currently Gonzalez is host of two radio programs, including Latinisimo, on WVUD, the only program in Spanish from the University of Delaware. This forum enables her to stay connected to the Latino community and proves “a way of giving back.” (She earned a second master’s degree, in liberal studies, at UD, to which she’s currently adding a Ph.D. in business administration from Wilmington University.)
If you’re exhausted just keeping up with a précis of Gonzalez’s professional life, fear not: She does know how to relax. “A perfect ending to an evening is a nice dinner with good red wine” in the company of husband Charles. While they have no children, they do enjoy the company of “three bilingual cats” that “ignore me equally in English and Spanish.” What spare time the intellectually curious couple manages to cull from their schedules is spent reading serious books, attending the theater (“straight plays almost always”) and international cinema, and watching the Discovery Channel.
Gonzalez is not one to dwell on past mistakes, preferring to maintain a determined positivity. “Difficulties become opportunities to grow up and be a better person and professional,” she insists. And while she is happy in her current role of making “tangible the intangibles of advocacy” and “triggering imaginations,” Gonzalez is always open to change, to reinventing herself yet again if need be, and she possesses strong opinions about those who remain in office beyond their sell-by date. “You begin to feel entitled about things. And that is the beginning of the end. I don’t want to ever feel that I am entitled to anything, because I always think that I need to deserve to be there. The minute I feel less hunger about something is the beginning of the end.”
Until such time, Gonzalez’s goals for the alliance remain robust: “Having tons of members. Whenever something related to the arts is needed, we’re the go-to organization. Financially self-sustainable, finding different revenue sources. When the governor or the legislature thinks about ways of attracting businesses, they’re thinking about the alliance as a pivotal member sitting at that decision-making table. We’re not there yet.”
But thanks to Gonzalez’s refusal to pit artists against CEOs, they’re closer.