Spotlight Series: Hector Garza

November 29, 2019

Public Relations

As department chair for Fine and Performing Arts & Speech Communication, Hector Garza plays an important role in the arts and culture found at Palo Alto College.

In 2016, Hector Garza joined the Palo Alto College team as an artistic director tasked with revamping the theater program with the objective of making it into something that mattered to the College, its students, and the surrounding community.

"When I got here four years ago, I made the concerted effort to change the theater program into something special, and I had someone sitting in this chair who gave me the resources, the shelter, and the go-ahead to build something here that wasn't here before," said Garza.

For Garza, it was important to include programming relevant to the South Side community. "Our major mission is to produce theater for our community," said Garza. "I branded Teatro Palo Alto to pay homage to where we are. We're on the South Side. We cater to the community we serve, which is 97 percent Latino. About 76 percent of our students are Latinx, so it made sense for us to program for that demographic."

Although Garza has stepped into his new role as department chair, he is still the artistic director for Teatro Palo Alto. While official roles are important to him, he's most passionate about the impact that the arts have on the students and audiences.

"My biggest philosophy on performance and art is... [that it] is supposed to create a dialogue, and dialogue is the only thing that can create change," said Garza. "We produce so much here, and we produce really high-quality stuff; but the thing that matters most is that we take our students with us on the journey."

With many shows under his belt, Garza also directed Teatro Palo Alto's latest show, titled Mariachi Girl, which tells the story of Carmen, a determined young girl who dreams of becoming a mariachi despite her father's objections.

"It's a great show," said Garza. "We have a live band, which is all student based, performing in the play, which is pieced together from the music department as well as the College's Marching Mariachi Band."

As a proponent for the College's mission to inspire and empower the community, Garza believes in the power of the arts to make a lasting impact on students.

"I am confident that the arts are a mainstay here at Palo Alto College forever," said Garza.

To learn more about past, present, and future Teatro Palo Alto shows, visit