Stuart Ashman, CEO of the International Folk Art Market, is leaving the organization at the end of the year.
Ashman will have completed a three-year contract when he leaves on December 31.
“We’ve had a lot of success so I think it’s time to do something else,” Ashman said. “We went through COVID and created a very successful market that was supposed to lose $ 170,000 and earn $ 200,000. Everyone was happy. We had 9,000 visitors and 116 artists.
The current Director of External Affairs, Melissa Mann, will replace Ashman. She joined the market in 2019 after a 30-year career in Washington, DC on international energy and non-proliferation issues.
“She’s brilliant,” Ashman said, “and I feel like she’s going to take her to a whole new level.”
Mann currently oversees operations, artist relations, fundraising, strategic development and related activities.
Ashman decided to leave when asked to renew his contract.
“I would like to do something more independent, maybe work for myself,” he said.
Ashman has long been a fixture on the Santa Fe art scene.
He was executive director and chief curator of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.
His previous experience includes positions as President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art; director of the New Mexico Art Museum; executive director of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art; and an appointment by Governor Bill Richardson as Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.
He has also served as an expert consultant for the United States Peace Corps and vice president of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. He has published numerous articles and exhibition catalogs and co-authored “Photography New Mexico” in 2009, “Abstract Art” in 2003 and “Harlistas Cubanos” in 2006.