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IF LAB Creative Collaboration: Art and Small Business in Partnership

Description: How business owners and artists can partner to enhance their bottom line. Help us to build an action plan for Long Beach that brings business and art together. Get Ticket Here


Nicolassa Galvez has served the community for the last fourteen years. Target populations included people without homes, low-income families building community, people crossing the U.S./Mexican border, employees overcoming mental illness, and women escaping domestic violence. Social justice, rather than social services is always at the core of her work.

Prior to the demanding position at ArtExchange and enrolling in a master’s program in Social Justice and Education at CSULB, Nicolassa was a very active volunteer.  She is a founding member of the Long Beach Human Trafficking Task Force, a  former regional board member of Soroptimist, and a graduate of Leadership Long Beach.

As the Chief Executive Officer of the ArtExchange Nicolassa is often asked “Are you an artist?”  And her response, “I’m not an artist and I think that works well for this position. My focus is in securing spaces for others to create art not just my own.”  While she considers herself more of a creative thinker than an artist – art has always been part of her life.  Her mother was a house painter and an art teacher in prison but she was always an artist. Her father was a mechanic and now a vagabond but he was always a musician.

Despite obstacles she faced growing up, Nicolassa always had an internal drive to succeed and contribute to her community.  She sees this same passion in artists who use their art to work through the past and connect with their community.  Art is not just something they do; it is who they are.  One of her primary motivations to ensure the success of ArtExchange’s is due to the numerous times that artists talk to her about the lack of opportunities for professional  artists – not only growing up but also as adults.  She sees ArtExchange as a venue to support youth by advocating art as a profession.  Emerging young artists don’t need to be the next Picasso but with ArtExchange, artists of all levels can have a space to show their work, practice their craft, and engage with the community.