Joaquin began his artistic career in 1995 as an actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival when he was 19 years old, performing as “2nd Young Man” in Blood Wedding by Federico Garcia Lorca. Since then, he has worked on plays, projects, and touring shows with notable theatre companies Milagro, Hand2Mouth Theatre, Sowelu Dramatic, BagNBaggage, and the WP Theatre in New York. It is through theatre that he learned of the power of story, performance, and music.
Joaquin is the creator of the Voz Alta—an evening of storytelling and music that celebrates the Latino American experience through poetic narratives that feature the lives of Portland’s Latino community, performed by actors and musicians and orchestrated with Latin American folk and pop songs. A signature event for Latinx Pride, Voz Alta, performed yearly between 2009-2019 at Milagro and the Q Center.
In 2012, he released the album For the Disenchanted, a Spanish language ode to melancholy and yearning featuring James Ashley Mayer on the Turkish cumbus. His second album, UNIVERSO, released in 2019, is an homage to the electro-pop music he turned to for solace during his coming out and coming-of-age as a Latino gay man. Joaquin has presented musical concerts at Shout House, Jade Lounge, Portland Children’s Museum, Multnomah County Board Room Pride, Portland City Hall Pride, Pride Northwest, Beaverton Pride, and Walters Cultural Arts Center.
As a member of Los Porteños—Portland’s Latino writers group—he was co-producer for Words That Burn: A Dramatization of World War II Experiences of William Stafford, Lawson Inada, and Guy Gabaldon in Their Own Words written by Cindy William Gutierrez at Milagro for the William Stafford Centennial funded by the Oregon Heritage Commission and Regional Arts and Culture Council. Words That Burn won the Oregon Book Award for Drama in 2017.
In his non-profit career, he served as the Arts & Culture Manager at Latino Network, designing and overseeing the after-school arts programs Studio Latino and Ballet Folklorico “Corazones Alegres.” As an arts producer for Latino Network, he produced Ollin: Social Justice Film Series in partnership with Hollywood Theatre, Voz Alta in collaboration with Latinx Pride, and Festival Latino with Portland Parks and Recreation/Summer Free For All. In his outgoing role as Manager of Leadership Development, he coordinated three leadership programs: Lideres for grassroots emerging leaders, Latino Student Action Committee, and the statewide Latino leadership program UNID@S for established and mid-career leaders.
Milagro awarded Joaquin the Espiritu Award for his volunteer contributions in
2014. The Hispanic Chamber, Business for the Culture and the Arts, and Q Center have awarded him and his family’s business, La Bonita, recognitions for their contributions to the arts community as a small business. As a keynote speaker, he speaks about the power of story and creativity in building community. He’s given keynote addresses for Society of American Archivists, Idea Lab with Oregon Humanities, City of Portland Bureau of Internal Business Services, and Oregon Heritage Conference.
A passionate community artist, Joaquin is a regular visitor in classrooms, speaking to youth about the importance of the arts, cultural identity, leadership, and self-expression. As a visiting artist, he leads collaborative songwriting workshops writing songs with youth across the Portland metro area in both Spanish and English. He’s worked as a teacher and artist in residence at PASO school, French American School, Pacific Crest Community School, and the Oregon State Hospital alongside artist Dana Louis.
Joaquin received his B.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Southern Oregon University, and he holds a Masters in Counseling from Portland State University. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor Intern with the State of Oregon and a Nationally Certified Counselor running a counseling private practice specializing in working with men, personal development, and the bicultural Latino experience. He is a graduate of the Spiritual Direction program from The Urban Spirituality Center in Portland, Oregon. Guiding people to discover, explore, and define their spirituality is a passion of his.
He is the oldest son of the Lopez family who, for over twenty years, has run La Bonita Mexican restaurant in the Alberta Arts District, Overlook Neighborhood, and on SE Division in Portland, Oregon.