About Mario Garcia Durham

Mario Garcia Durham


In October 2011, Mario Garcia Durham became the fifth President and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) since its founding in 1957.

Prior to his leadership role with APAP, Mr. Durham was at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) where he served as Director of Artist Communities & Presenting from 2004 – 2011. At the NEA, Mr. Durham contributed to programs such as the NEA Opera Honors and An Evening of Poetry, hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama. He inaugurated the NEA’s Artist Communities granting program and was the initiator of Live from Your Neighborhood, a groundbreaking study of the impact of outdoor arts festivals in the U.S. After holding numerous management positions and serving as artistic director at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the 1990s, in 2000 he founded Yerba Buena Arts & Events, the producing organization of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The outdoor event offers more than 100 free performances by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and more for an audience of 100,000 attendees.

Throughout his career of more than 20 years as a performing arts professional, Mr. Durham has served on numerous boards, special advisory committees and funding panels. He is currently a vice chair of the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities. Durham serves as the vice chair of the Performing Arts Alliance, a board of the leaders of the major performing arts service organizations in the U.S. He is also on the Advisory Committee of SMU DataArts, the Community Advisory Council of the PBS station WETA in Washington, DC, and the American University Arts Management Advisory Council.

A graduate of the University of Houston, Durham is passionate about a broad range of performing arts and evolving forms of performance and media arts.