Jenelle Esparza, Head of Education; Katy Silva León, Head of Development; and Yolanda Urrabazo, Head of Communications & Marketing, bring strong strategic vision to departments

The McNay Art Museum Announces New Leaders

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Yolanda Urrabazo
Head of Communications and Marketing
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The McNay Art Museum Announces New Leaders

Jenelle Esparza, Head of Education; Katy Silva León, Head of Development; and Yolanda Urrabazo, Head of Communications & Marketing, bring strong strategic vision to departments

SAN ANTONIO — The McNay Art Museum appointed three new heads this year to lead departments across different areas, including Jenelle Esparza, head of education; Kathleen (Katy) Silva León, head of development; and Yolanda Urrabazo, head of communications and marketing.

“I am thrilled to welcome Jenelle, Katy, and Yolanda as the newest members of our leadership team,” said Matthew McLendon, director and CEO of the McNay. “In addition to their shared passion to impact lives through transformational art experiences, they each bring outstanding expertise, energy, and optimism that will take our strategic vision to new heights.”

Jenelle Esparza

Photograph of Jenelle Esparza. Photographer Josh Huskin. Courtesy of the McNay Art Museum.

Jenelle Esparza was appointed as the new head of education in Apr. 2023, having served as interim head since Jan. 2023. As an educator and interdisciplinary artist from South Texas, Esparza brings a unique perspective and lived experience to this role.

Esparza began her career in art education in 2012, with a special focus on arts workshops, lectures, research projects, and presentations. She joined the McNay Art Museum in 2016 as a museum educator, where she was instrumental in engaging diverse communities with innovative programs and quickly established herself as an invaluable asset to the Museum.

As an artist, Esparza examines the lesser-known history of cotton and labor in South Texas and explores the parallelism between landscapes and human bodies as organisms that record experiences through the environments and events that shape us. Her work has been exhibited in institutions such as the DePaul Art Museum (Chicago), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville), and Artpace (San Antonio).

“My practice as a conceptual artist combined with my career in art education uniquely position me to offer transformational art experiences from a creative lens,” Esparza said. “I’m excited to continue to grow with the McNay to elevate our educational programming and explore the possibilities of what museum education can be.”

Esparza was born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas. She received her B.F.A. in Photography in 2010 from University of Texas at San Antonio.

Katy Silva León

Photograph of Katy Silva León. Photographer Josh Huskin. Courtesy of the McNay Art Museum.

Katy Silva León was appointed as the head of development in Apr. 2023, having served as interim head since Sept. 2022. In her role, she is charged with fundraising for art exhibitions and educational programs and expanding access to the arts in San Antonio and beyond.

Silva León previously served in development roles at local nonprofits, including San Antonio Report as director of development, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center as director of marketing and communications, and Tobin Center for the Performing Arts as marketing coordinator. Her recent community involvement includes board service for the American Marketing Association San Antonio Chapter and Artist Foundation San Antonio, which is now part of the Luminaria Festival. She also served as an artist liaison at the Blue Star Arts Complex alongside running a studio practice at Flax Studio.

She believes that art should be inclusive and accessible to all and has the power to heal, inspire, and connect.

“San Antonio is a warm and welcoming community, and I am grateful to work with some of the most generous individuals and organizations who care deeply about not just the Museum but the future of San Antonio as a diverse and culturally rich place to live, work, and visit,” Silva León said. “My team and I will continue on our journey to make the McNay a place of beauty and belonging for all.”

She lives in downtown San Antonio, where she enjoys painting in her studio and participating in the First Friday Art Walks. She enjoys running and cycling along the Riverwalk with her husband Juan and dog Cosmo. She received a B.A. in Studio Art with a minor in Art History from Trinity University.

Yolanda Urrabazo

Photograph of Yolanda Urrabazo. Photographer Josh Huskin. Courtesy of the McNay Art Museum

Yolanda Urrabazo was appointed as head of communications and marketing in Sept. 2023. She comes to the McNay with 15 years of communications experience at various organizations, including UT’s McCombs School of Business as director of communications; The New School as director of communications, alumni engagement; the Fashion Institute of Technology as communications manager, alumni relations; as well as GQ and Stella McCartney as a graduate studies intern. Prior to her time in New York City, she served as press secretary for Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) in Washington, D.C.

“I am honored and excited to join the McNay’s extraordinary community,” Urrabazo said. “The Museum’s mission to impact lives through the power of art and to be a place of belonging aligns squarely with my values.”

She aims to expand and engage audiences in new ways by illuminating the life of the Museum and the rich history that has set the McNay apart since its founding in 1954.

“As we approach our 70-year anniversary in 2024, I look forward to elevating important voices and stories that underscore the mission of our visionary founder, Marion Koogler McNay,” she said. “I take great pride in being in a position to expose a new generation of Texans and visitors to the McNay’s world-class collection that ignited my imagination at a young age.”

She holds a B.A. in English from The University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Media, Culture, and Communication from New York University.


About McNay Art Museum  
The McNay Art Museum engages a diverse community in the discovery and enjoyment of the visual arts. Built in the 1920s by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay, the Spanish Colonial Revival residence became the site of Texas’ first modern art museum when it opened in 1954. Today, 200,000 visitors a year enjoy works by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The 25 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds include sculptures by Willie Cole, Robert Indiana, Luis A. Jiménez Jr., Alejandro Martín, George Rickey, Joel Shapiro, Kiki Smith, Tom Wesselmann and others. 

The McNay is open Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from Noon to 5 p.m.