Luis Cancel (1952-) is a Puerto Rican arts administrator and artist from New York City, N.Y.
Cancel attended Fiorello H. La Guardia High School for Music and Art before earning his bachelor of arts degree in painting and printmaking from Pratt Institute. During his last year at Pratt, he studied in Puerto Rico at the University of Puerto Rico. Cancel continued his research on Puerto Rico through a fellowship with the American Friends Service Committee Reciprocal Youth Project in Puerto Rico. Cancel's research resulted in a multifaceted presentation titled Puerto Rico: Its People and Its Artists. He continued his education receiving master of arts degrees from New York University in arts administration and from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in public administration. Cancel also attended classes on educational software design and CD-ROM production at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
After finishing his studies, Cancel became gallery director at the Cayman Gallery in New York from 1975 to 1977. In 1978, he became the executive director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts. In his 13 years at the Bronx Museum, Cancel organized numerous exhibitions including The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States 1920-1970, Devastation/Resurrection: The South Bronx, and Krishna Reddy: A Retrospective. He was also granted a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to travel throughout Latin America to research art and build relationships with significant museums and galleries. Cancel left the Bronx Museum in 1991 to begin his tenure as Commissioner of New York City's Department of Cultural Affairs where he worked with Mayor David Dinkins to enhance support for the city's arts.
In the 2000s, Cancel was also the executive director of the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, the Director of Cultural Affairs in San Francisco, was appointed by United States Representative Nancy Pelosi to the National Museum of the American Latino Commission, and established a cultural consulting company. He is currently the CEO at the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame.