¡Raul Lozano Presente!

Teatro Visión
Raul Lozano, Founder of Valley Verde and former Executive Director, Board President for Teatro Visión, San Jose, CA. Photo Credit: Whitney Flanagan / The Conservation Fund

The Teatro Visión familia is saddened to learn of the passing of our former Executive Director, Board President, and fervent champion, Raul Lozano. Raul was a pillar of our artistic and cultural community. For a decade from 1998-2009, he worked alongside Founding Artistic Director Elisa Marina Alvarado to elevate Teatro Visión to the upper echelon of national Latinx and Chicanx theater.

Raised by a family of farmworkers in the Central Valley, Raul came to the San José area for the first time as an AmeriCorps volunteer at MACSA, the Mexican American Community Services Agency.

Then, prior to becoming Teatro Visión’s first Executive Director, he worked as Director of Healthy Start Programs for the East Bay Agency for Children, building a coalition of dedicated stakeholders. He was responsible for the day-to-day activities for Teatro Visión, including strategic planning, fund development and the carrying out of the goals and mission as established by the Board. Raul became a Board Member in 1992 and served as Board President 1995-97.

A notoriously scrappy fundraiser, Raul ensured that Teatro had the resources to grow from its roots as a small ensemble to the force that it is today. Even after his departure, he continued to mentor future leaders of the organization as a board member and patron.

Together with Roy Hirabayashi and Tamara Alvarado, Raul co-created the Multicultural Arts

Leadership Institute in order to grow and sustain San José’s diverse creative industry. Since MALI’s

inaugural class of emerging arts leaders began in 2008, the program has nurtured nearly 150 artists.

Throughout his life and career, Raul stayed close to his farmworking roots, building new programs to encourage people to grow their own food where they live, strengthening food security for low- income residents of San José.

As part of Sacred Heart Community Service, he piloted La Mesa Verde in 2009 as a program to promote urban gardening, less than a year after his departure from Teatro Visión. Later, Raul went on to found Valley Verde, a non-profit organization he founded that increases self-sufficiency through a culturally informed community-based food system to promote food justice.

His legacy lives on through the work of Teatro Visión, as well as the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute, Valley Verde, and La Mesa Verde, as well as in the memories of the countless people whose lives he touched across the Santa Clara Valley and beyond.

Descansa en poder. Raul Lozano. Presente.


From Elisa Marina Alvarado Teatro Visión Founding Artistic Director

Raul Lozano made big things happen for the ‘Chicanada’ of San José. With friendly persuasion and determination not to walk away empty handed, Raul shifted the importance of teatro and other culturally specific art forms by refusing to be dismissed by funders and civic leaders.

Alongside Artistic Director, Elisa Marina Alvarado, Raul built Teatro Visión to become a both a nationally recognized culture-based theater company (named by the Kennedy Center as one of the country’s top 5 ethnic theater companies) as well as a beloved arts organization rooted in San José’s largely Chicanx/Mexicanx east side.

Raul will be missed for his humble yet powerful leadership and love of Chicano culture. It is my hope he can drop by the theater ‘de vez en cuando’ (once in a while) to catch a glimpse of the faces of an audience thrilled by seeing vibrant, inspirational teatro. iRaul Presente!


From Dianne Vega

Teatro Visión Production Manager

Raul Lozano served Teatro Vision as a Board Member and Executive Director for over a decade. His great leadership has brought the company to become one of the prominent leading Chicanx theater companies nationwide.

He was dedicated to lifting the voices of our community through Teatro Vision and was instrumental in raising the funds that allowed us to grow and expand our programming in so many creative and effective ways. Raul’s determination was a strong force as a community activist. He wouldn’t take “no” for an answer when approaching funders and sponsors on his quest to ensure Teatro Vision had the resources in place to march on with the work of our mission statement for the benefit of our community.

Raul was a warrior who will be missed by our entire community who had the gift of his friendship and kind support.

iQue en paz descanse Raul Lozano!


From Carlos Velazquez

Former Marketing Manager for Teatro Visión

Raul was my first true mentor who gave me my first job out of college – well, not really. In 2003, I applied for the Marketing Manager position for Teatro Visión and nervously met Raul and Elisa who interviewed me in his cramped office on the second floor of the Mexican Heritage Plaza. A few days later he called to tell me that while I didn’t get the job, he appreciated my passion and energy and wanted me to volunteer for a few months, train under their marketing consultant and eventually serve as their AmeriCorps fellow. So in true non-profit leader fashion he found a cost-saving way to employ my services!

I saw how he led with humility and admired his calm demeanor no matter the highs and lows that came with running a theater company. He always stayed true to who he was no matter the situation or who he was talking to, and that had such a huge impact on me and gave me the confidence to be myself, to feel like I had a place in the arts community despite not being an artist.

During those glorious years with the Teatro, he gave me the freedom to grow into the position all while guiding me to people and opportunities that he knew would be helpful for me in my life and career. He helped create MALI for folks just like me, and pushed me to be part of the first class, where he invited his friend Carlos Tortolero of the National Museum Art to speak with us. It was this meeting that led me to Chicago where I continued to grow professionally and also met my now- wife. I loved running into him at San Jose Jazz Summerfests or getting random calls from him where he asked for my opinion on his latest crazy non-profit fundraising scheme.

I will always carry Raul in my heart, hear him call me, “Carlitos,” and visualize him at a cultural event, sitting back casually in a chair, one of his legs resting on the other while enjoying the vibe all around him. Gracias Raul for all you did for me and our comunidad. Raul Lozano Presente!


From Tamara Alvarado

Co-Founder of MALI and first Program Director of 1st ACT

It is difficult to accept that my/our dear friend, mentor and collaborator, Raul Lozano, has gone on to be with our ancestors. I met Raul in 2003 while I was the Executive Director of MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana. I was quite green and didn’t really know what I was doing. Raul, along with my other mentor, Roy Hirabayashi, still saw a lot of potential in my leadership and invited me to every meeting they attended.

While Roy, Raul and I were active in bringing our points of view into many conversations, I will share one story while Raul was the Executive Director of Teatro Vision. At one point, MACLA was under consideration for funding by an important local funder and I was so new to the sector, I didn’t really know how to manage the relationship and it was not going in the direction we wanted. It didn’t look like we were going to get financial support and Raul stepped in and helped us out. Raul while leading a whole other theatre company and non-profit, took it upon himself to call the funder and make a case for a second chance for MACLA. We were able to have another meeting and eventually, we received support that MACLA still counts on today almost 15 years later!

This is the type of leader Raul was. He was generous and looked out not just for himself or his own organization but for the whole community. He taught me to be generous with knowledge and relationships and I am grateful for that for many more lessons he taught me. While my heart is broken at the loss of my big brother, Raul, I will along with the community that loves him, will continue to look for ways to bring us all UP and forward. En paz eterno descanses mi Hermano, Raul!


From Roy Hirabayashi

Co-Founder of 1st ACT and MALI

We are all at a loss for words when thinking about losing our dear friend, mentor, collaborator, and ally, Raul.

I always thought Raul was invincible. Raul was our superhero and shield when things got tough. Yet, he was always willing to stand up and speak up to defend others. He always helped others, even at the sacrifice of taking care of himself.

I am trying to remember how I first met Raul. It was in the mid-’90s that we first connected. We meet regularly for breakfast at Bini’s near Japantown. Raul was the ED at Teatro Vision, and I was the ED for San Jose Taiko. The stories we shared led us to partner on many projects later. Raul always had some crazy idea he wanted to start. We helped create First Voice (the first multicultural arts collective), 1st ACT (which is now SV Creates), and the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute (MALI). We participated in many leadership programs, including the American Leadership Forum (ALF).

Raul, I will miss your leadership and the many breakfast meetings I somehow ended up paying for.


Raul’s family and friends have organized memorial services. The details are below:

Sunday, March 19 at 2:00 PM there will be a viewing and memorial service at Lima Family Santa Clara Mortuary, 466 N. Winchester Blvd., Santa Clara CA 95050

Monday, March 20 at 9:30 AM at Our Lady of Peace Church, 2800 Mission College Blvd., Santa Clara 95054.

Following the mass, the burial will be held at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln St, Santa Clara, CA 95050.

Following the burial there will be a reception at the Moose Lodge, 905 Kifer Road, Sunnyvale, CA. 94086