Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez is a creative strategist and the founding principal of Rael-Gálvez & Associates, which supports transformative work within communities, governments and cultural based organizations. Dedicated to stimulating generative ideas and realizing innovation and juxtaposition (including between art and story), as well as their applications to propel change in the world, Rael-Gálvez & Associates is guided by inspiring creativity, building community, and raising consciousness. Focused on elevating the collective imagination, his work is based on establishing connections between people, places and ideas.
In his capacity as strategist, Rael-Gálvez has collaborated with a range of public and private sector entities, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, where he worked with staff at both the birthplace of the iconic non-profit founder, Juliette Gordon Low, in Savannah, Georgia and at GSUSA headquarters in New York to leverage the power of place and story to create more meaningful, fully sensory and relevant experiences for visitors to these sites. Most recently, he designed, planned and led the development of Culture Connects Santa Fe – A Cultural Cartography, a cultural plan for the City of Santa Fe that framed a 12-week conversation about the intrinsic value of culture and how it can be leveraged for the vibrancy, health and wellbeing of the community. In the fall, he will be in Newport, Rhode Island to participate in a residency, Catalyze Newport, an initiative to ignite innovation and build resilience in the city’s cultural sector.
A leader experienced in the executive management of cultural-based organizations, Dr. Rael-Gálvez has led a full career as a successful senior executive administering cultural and educational institutions at national non-profit organizations and government agencies. Prior to forming his consulting practice, he most recently served as the Senior Vice President of Historic Sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, with responsibility for leading the strategic direction across the portfolio of National Trust Historic Sites/museums. Prior to the National Trust, Dr. Rael-Gálvez served as Executive Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, the largest Latino/a cultural center in the United States, with executive oversight of a 51-acre campus, including a Performing Arts Center, Art Museum, Library-Archive, and an award-winning Educational Department. Dr. Rael-Gálvez also served nearly a decade as the State Historian of New Mexico, the leading advocate and authority on New Mexico history. During his tenure, he established several initiatives, including the Office of the State Historian’s Scholars’ Program; the Internship Program; and the New Mexico Digital History Project, recipient of the National Council on Public History’s Best in the Nation award.
Throughout his career, Dr. Rael-Gálvez has served on numerous commissions, boards, and legislative committees, most currently as a trustee for both the Santa Fe University of Arts and Design and the Santa Fe Opera, where he has led strategic planning efforts. Other participatory work of note includes membership, under the appointment of the Secretary of the Interior, on the Latino Scholars Expert Committee, advising on the “American Latino Heritage Initiative,” and on the “Humanities at the Crossroads” Advisory Group, a convening of key humanities constituency leaders, working to better define the role of the humanities in the 21st century; and grant jury panels for the Pew Foundation and for the General Services Administration architectural distinction awards.
Dr. Rael-Gálvez attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his B.A. in English Literature, and the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in American Cultures. His dissertation, “Identifying Captivity and Capturing Identity: Narratives of American Indian Slavery,” focuses on the meanings of American Indian slavery and a unique legacy and identity in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado; he is currently working on the manuscript, The Silence of Slavery. Dr. Rael-Gálvez is also the recipient of numerous fellowships, including from the Ford Foundation, the School of American Research, the University of Michigan, the Newberry Library, the Huntington Library, and the Smithsonian Institution.
A native son of the American Southwest, with ancestral connections to both Hispano and indigenous communities, Estevan was raised working on a farm/ranch stewarded by his family for multiple generations. This upbringing profoundly shaped his work ethic, core values, and understanding and curiosity of the delicacy and strength of the human condition and unwavering belief in the transformative power of memory, knowledge and will.
Estevan Rael-Gálvez, Ph.D.
Rael-Gálvez & Associates
Rael-Gálvez & Associates
Santa Fe, NM 87594
505 231-0773 phone