For Immediate Release: Stuart Ashman took the helm of the Sana Fe International Folk Art Market in January, bringing decades of wide-ranging leadership experience in the arts and cultural affairs and a personal connection to both folk art traditions and the people who bring them to life in the 21 st century.  “I look forward to working with the dedicated Board, the staff, and the energetic volunteers,” said Ashman. “Most of all, I look forward to being with the artists and helping to make them and their communities around the globe sustainable.”

Ashman and his wife, Peggy Gaustad, have been deeply involved with the International Folk Art Market since its beginning. Gaustad has served on the board and they both have championed Cuban artists’ involvement at the Market since 2010.

In his role as Secretary of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs (2003-2010), Ashman crafted the funding agreement that helped establish the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, a force for cultural preservation and a key economic opportunity for artists worldwide. “I am thrilled that the person who helped the market get started in 2004 is the person that will be leading us into the future,” says Charmay Allred, co-founder of the International Folk Art Market.  Judy Espinar, also a co-founder, was equally excited about Ashman’s new role, saying, “Stuart was born to do this job.”

During his tenure at DCA, Ashman guided capital projects for new state cultural institutions, including the New Mexico History Museum and El Camino Real International Heritage Center. In addition, he oversaw a complex group of statewide cultural institutions, including eight museums, seven state monuments, the State Library, the Office of Archeological Studies, the Historic Preservation Division, and two administrative divisions. He also oversaw the construction of the New Mexico History Museum and secured the acquisition of Historic Los Luceros and the former Archives building soon to become the Vladem Contemporary.

Ashman has also held leadership positions at the New Mexico Museum of Art (formerly Museum of Fine Arts), the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art (both in Santa Fe, New Mexico), and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California. Since 2011, he has been Director of Latin American programs at the Richardson Institute for Global Engagement, where he also currently serves as Board Vice-Chair.  Most recently, Ashman served as Executive Director and Chief Curator of Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Art, where he acquired new funding, and implemented exciting and diverse programs, including nationally recognized, large-scale exhibitions of sculptor Tom Joyce and painter Ricardo Mazal.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have secured someone of Stuart’s experience and stature to lead IFAM in its role as a vital part of the Santa Fe community as well as an artist-centered organization working on behalf of folk artists worldwide,” comments Jane Reid, Chair of the International Folk Art Market Board. “He will deepen our roots here in New Mexico and extend our ability to create more opportunities for folk artists.”

The International Folk Art Market has hosted 1,000 folk artists from 98 countries, generating total sales of over $30 million and impacting an estimated 1.3 million lives worldwide.

For more information or to request an interview with Stuart Ashman, please contact Clare Hertel at 505.670-3090 or clare@clarehertelcommunications.com.