In his first incarnation, Zoot Velasco overcame an orthopedic disability as a child to have a 12 year career as a professional dancer, mime, actor and storyteller in commercials, films and television as well as touring internationally. He has worked with Michael Jackson, Prince, Arsenio Hall, James Cameron, Ralph Fines and more. He holds a BA degree in dance from St. Mary’s College, an MBA in Non-Profit Management from Hope International University, and professional designations in arts curriculum design, fundraising, leadership, management and conflict resolution. He transferred from artist to administrator after managing a prison arts program, creating the first inmate music CDs in prison; the first youth deterrent program in the form of a play; and hand-made books in museum collections at the Getty, Hammer and Library of Congress. He went on to the City of Los Angeles where he built 4 new art centers in the harbor Area and developed boards for two of these centers. As a Non-Profit consultant he helped start up a Boys & Girls Club, and rescue three organizations in danger of closing. He has received awards and commendations from the Cities of LA, Long Beach, Ventura, Oxnard, and Fullerton for his community work. A Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), Zoot has raised over $16 million dollars for various Non-Profits.
Since 2007, he has been the Executive Director of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton more than quadrupling patrons, programs and members while tripling the budget, all during a bad economy. He has authored plays, poems and two books: One on the Muckenthaler history and one on Non-Profit management. He currently sits on the City’s Citizen’s CDBG Committee; boards for WTLC shelter and the Fullerton Rotary; is President of the Placentia Library Friends Foundation Board. He teaches Non-Profit Management at Cal State Long Beach and lectures around the state on the subject.