Stuart Ashman to step down as International Folk Art Market CEO

Stuart Ashman will step down as the CEO of the International Folk Art Market on Dec. 31. (Eddie Moore/Journal)

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 Dec. 31.

“We had a lot of successes, so I think it’s time to do something else,” Ashman said. “We got through COVID and made a very successful market that was supposed to lose $170,000 and made $200,000. Everybody was happy. We had 9,000 visitors and 116 artists.”

Current director of external affairs Melissa Mann will replace Ashman. She joined the market in 2019 following a 30-year career in Washington, D.C. in international energy and non-proliferation issues.

“She’s brilliant,” Ashman said, “and I feel like she’s going to bring it to a whole other level.”

Mann currently oversees operations, artist relations, fund-raising, strategic development and related activities.

Ashman decided to leave when asked to renew his contract.

“I’d like to do something more independent, maybe work for myself,” he said.

Ashman has long been a fixture of the Santa Fe arts scene.

He served as executive director and chief curator of the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.

His previous experience includes postings as president and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art; director of the New Mexico Museum of Art; executive director of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art; and an appointment by the Gov. Bill Richardson as cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

He also served as expert consultant for the United States Peace Corps, and serves as vice-chair of the Richardson Center for Global Engagement. He has published numerous articles and exhibition catalogues and co-authored “Photography New Mexico” in 2009,”Abstract Art” in 2003 and “Harlistas Cubanos” in 2006.

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