Arturo Sandoval

Executive Director

Arturo Sandoval is founder and executive director of the Center of Southwest Culture Inc.

Arturo has been active for five decades in community-based economic development, cultural, environmental and civil rights efforts in New Mexico and across the US. Prior to his work with the Center, Arturo had a successful 15-year career in journalism and public relations. In that capacity, he won numerous journalism awards and had his work published nationally and internationally.

He is a native of Española in northern New Mexico, and has lived most of his adult life in Albuquerque.


Noemi Davila

Finance Manager

Noemi Davila is the Finance Manager for the Center of Southwest Culture.

Davila has 30 years of experience as an accountant, both in New Mexico and Mexico, having earned a degree in accounting in 1988.  In addition, she also has decades of experience in business management, finances, and auditing.  In Mexico, she worked for the Ford Motor Company, the federal hospital system, as well as for a chain of pharmacies.  



Lehua Lopez

associate director

Lehua Lopez is the Associate Director for the Center.

Lopez, a native Hawaiian born and raised in Hawai`i, received her Master’s degree in cultural anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1992.  She has worked for more than 40 years with nonprofits both in New Mexico and Hawai`i, specializing in Indigenous land, water and culture protection, health care, education, and environmental issues. 

Over the last 30 years, Lopez has been a founding president or director for several native and non-native organizations and continues to serve on two native boards of directors.  She also continues her work as a professional nonprofit consultant, trainer, and facilitator for organizations in Hawai`i and New Mexico.  In her spare time, Lopez teaches Hawaiian culture, a long-time passion and commitment of hers to preserve the knowledge and practices of her ancestors.

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Marco Sandoval

Program manager

Marco Sandoval is a CSC Program Manager. He directs the Center’s Story Riders and Sembrando Salud programs and serves in other capacities at the Center as well.

He is currently earning his undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico but brings years of organizing and educational experience to the Center. He has worked in public schools for a decade and in that capacity, has worked as a music teacher, and as a cultural resources expert for elementary school students in Albuquerque and New Mexico. He formerly worked as a music instructor at the Circo Latino, a summer theater, music and arts-related program hosted by the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

He is fully bilingual in English-Spanish and has family in both the US and Mexico

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Marco Antonio Nieto

Administrative Assistant

Marco Antonio Nieto has been an Administrative Assistant for the Center of Southwest Culture for more than two years, assisting the finance manager and the Center’s Program Coordinator for Story Riders.  In May of 2018, Nieto graduated from Atrisco Heritage Academy High School where he was a member of the school’s National Honor Society and recognized as a national merit scholar.  In 2016, he was honored at his high school as the “Student of the Year.”  He was also an academic intern at the University of New Mexico’s School of Mechanical Engineering and at UNM’s Manufacturing, Training and Technology Center. 

In the fall of 2018, he will begin pursuing a bachelor’s degree at the University of New Mexico, majoring in mechanical engineering, while continuing his position with the Center.  He enjoys repairing and maintaining cars as a hobby.


José Castro 

Program coordinator

Jose Castro is a Project Coordinator for the Center of Southwest Culture, working with Latino and Indigenous farmers in the CODECE project.

Castro was born in Mexico City and raised in New Mexico. He graduated from the South Valley Academy in Albuquerque and is a currently pursuing his degree in Tourism and Hospitality Central New Mexico Community College. Castro is a young man passionate about his community; in 2010, he was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” from Rudolfo Anaya Elementary School.  His volunteer work with several community leaders has given him the dedication and patience to give back to the communities he loves.

Key Contractors

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Joseph Alfaro

Master farmer 

Joseph Alfaro, CSC’s master farmeris the founder/owner of Valle Encantado Farms, based in the historic Atrisco Land Grant in Albuquerque’s rural South Valley and with growing sites in his homelands of the Sandia East Mountains. Joseph won the Educator of the Year Award in 2017 from the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference for his tireless work teaching Indigenous and Mexicano farmers the art and science of farming.  In his role as CSC’s lead farmer, Alfaro manages farm planning, marketing, and training of local farmers interested and committed to sustainable organic farming. He is a founding member/farmer of Agri-Cultura Network and La Cosecha CSA and has served as CSC’s master farmer for the past five years.

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Catherine Baca

Tourism consultant

Catherine is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico with deep roots in the community, serving on several boards in the area. Her career spans almost 40 years in the hospitality and service industry and the non-profit sector. She managed group sales in a 5 star resort and was the manager of a German adventure company in the United States, planning high-end events and adventure tours throughout the southwest.  The past 12 years were committed to the non-profit sector dedicated to land health. This included extensive duties such as managing projects on the Navajo Nation and director for an annual conference of 600 people. She is dedicated providing first-rate service with exceptional results.

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Hugh Hulse

Outdoor Recreation Consultant

Hugh has been mountain biking and working with maps for most of his life, starting with an exploration of the open space behind his childhood home and growing into multi day explorations of New Mexico and the surrounding States by bicycle.

After serving as an infantryman in the Army, he completed his Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of New Mexico, and worked as an ecology technician studying the flora of New Mexico. Soon, Hugh switched to working with Geographic Information Systems and mapping with an emphasis on the ecology of our State.

In this current endeavor, Hugh is thrilled to combine his love of mountain bikes and his professional proficiency with mapping.