ORLANDO | United Arts of Central Florida has named Rafael Torres as the new manager of grants and art education.
“This is my dream job and something I’ve wanted to do since graduate school,” says Torres, who immediately applied for the position the day it was posted.Torres, who is openly gay, is both an artist and philanthropic manager in Central Florida, and two weeks into his new position.
As the new manager of grants and art education, Torres grants money to different art organizations around Central Florida that then uses the money for operating support and encouraging diversity in art.
Torres works with school boards from the four main counties that United Art services to provide resources to art teachers, students and artists in the community.
United Arts is a nonprofit designed to enrich the community in the arts, science and history. United Arts has supported 910,000 experiences for students and invested over $150 million into the Central Florida arts community.
“Rafael hit the ground running and we are so lucky to have him with us,” says Flora Garcia, CEO and president of United Arts. “He loves the arts and loves this organization and is even an artist himself so he’s a perfect fit. We are just so thrilled to have someone so qualified with such a terrific personality working with us.”
Torres has been interested in philanthropic work since high school. While in college, Torres worked with creating a safe space for LGBTQ students and helped archive art work produced by artists that were dying due to AIDS.
Before moving back to Florida, Torres was involved with Arcus Foundation, which tied his philanthropic expertise with the LGBTQ community. He also worked with United Way of NYC where he put his knowledge of grant management to use.
“I got my feet wet and wanted to do something meaningful like most people in the art field,” says Torres. “So every day I get to come work with people who are passionate about the arts.”
Torres, who grew up in Central Florida, studied fine arts at New York University. After being recruited by the onePULSE Foundation and getting engaged and married to Stonewall’s Taylor Bulloch in 2017, he moved back to Orlando.
“I am one of the lucky few that get to support the arts,” says Torres. “I want to return the favor and help support the diverse voices of the arts. This is my calling.”