Founder of the International
Folk Art Market | Santa Fe
An acknowledged international folk art expert, Judith Espinar is a founder of the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. She has been a judge for the prestigious UNESCO Award of Excellence for Handicrafts program, and in 2008, she received the coveted Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for her work with the Market. After college, Espinar served in the Peace Corps in Peru, where her passion for folk art took root. And during a successful career in the fashion industry, she continued to cultivate her personal passion for folk art. After moving to Santa Fe from New York, she made a career change and opened a store specializing in global traditional ceramics. Her work with ceramics led her to join the board of Aid to Artisans, a nonprofit organization working with artists to develop products that can compete in international markets. Concerned about the health of potters, she also embarked on a project with Aid to Artisans and UNESCO to encourage artists to use new lead-free glazes. In 2010, Espinar spent two weeks in Kyrgyzstan as a participant in the U.S. State Department’s Speakers Program. She consulted with organizers of the Oimo Festival and spoke about craft development in Kyrgyzstan. The idea for the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe grew out of a concern for folk artists and a desire to show them that their work is valued.
Board of Directors, International Folk Art Alliance
Keith Recker serves on the Board of Directors of the International Folk Art Alliance. Recker is the founder and Editor of Hand/Eye magazine, an online endeavor discussing the intersections between art, craft, design, philanthropy, and enlightened consumption. Hand/Eye profiles forward-looking creators, faraway cultures, ancient craft traditions, and cutting-edge design innovation. Hand/Eye’s unique mix seeks to strengthen our species’s design DNA—which has been weakened recently by a pattern of global commerce that frequently results in visual and cultural uniformity. Creativity, ancient or modern, is the answer to the challenges of the 21st century, and Hand/Eye is on the lookout for hopeful solutions. Prior to founding Hand/Eye, Recker worked as a home furnishings executive, a nonprofit leader, and a color and branding consultant. He has had the privilege of working with established entities in both the commercial and nonprofit worlds, including CARE International, Gump’s San Francisco, Saks Fifth Avenue, Aid to Artisans, and Bloomingdale’s, and has learned from and contributed to each organization. His tenures as Vice President of Direct Response Home Furnishings at Gump’s San Francisco and Bloomingdale’s, and as Director of Home Furnishings at Saks Fifth Avenue, have given him a deep knowledge of nearly every category in the decorative home world. His work in product development and marketing has created lasting and cordial relationships across the industry. During a two-year tenure as Director of Product Development at Granet and Associates, Recker helped create relationships between creative brands and manufacturers and marketers serving the retail sector and the design trade. Clients included Clodagh, Jamie Drake, John Barman, Richard Mishaan, Campion Platt, Suzanne Kasler, Pantone, and John Varvatos. Recker continues to work with Pantone and London-based WGSN on color matters, and with U.S. and international artisan associations on trends and product development.
JEFF SNELL, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer, International Folk Art Alliance
Jeff joined the International Folk Art Alliance team as Chief Executive Officer in March 2015, after more than 20 years in the charitable sector and extensive experience in social innovation and social entrepreneurship. He founded Midwest Social Innovation LLC and co-founded the Midwestern Consortium for Social Innovation, a regional platform to promote cross-sector, enterprise-based solutions to social problems. Jeff also served as Special Advisor to the President at Marquette University from 2007 to 2013. Under his leadership, the school became one of the country’s first ten Changemaker Campuses—a consortium of schools aimed at teaching students to create solutions to social problems through innovation. Jeff has lectured widely on social innovation and social entrepreneurship, with talks that include Fordham University’s inaugural lecture for the Loschert Endowed Chair in Entrepreneurship, and another at TEDxUWMilwaukee. He received his Ph.D. from Marquette and a master’s in social ethics from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, in Massachusetts. Building on a key characteristic of social innovation—working alongside a community of people to be part of its own sustainable solution—Jeff defines social innovation as “a focus on solving social problems at their root cause, a pivot away from traditional charity’s model of managing problems.” He adds, “Folk art is a powerful means for celebrating culture and spurring economic development globally – the second most widespread means after agriculture. By carefully selecting, equipping, and deploying folk artists as catalytic agents for well-being in their home communities, IFAA can further distinguish itself as a leader in socially innovative work around the world.”
Author of The Work of Art: Folk Artists in the 21st Century
Carmella Padilla is the author of The Work of Art: Folk Artists in the 21st Century, which explores the long-term legacy of the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. The 2013 book tells why folk art matters in a modern world and why, more than ever, it’s every individual’s responsibility to sustain age-old folk art traditions for the future. In 2004, Padilla was part of the core team that launched the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. From 2006 to 2010, she served as a member of the Market’s founding board of directors. Today, she continues to work closely with IFAA and IFAM | Santa Fe as a volunteer and adviser. Padilla, a Santa Fe native, is an award-winning journalist and author who writes extensively about intersections in art, culture, and history in New Mexico and beyond. In 2009, she received the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. She also received the 2996 Santa Fe’s Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Literary Arts. In 2015, Padilla co-curated the Museum of International Folk Art exhibition The Red That Colored the World and co-edited the companion book A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World, winner of the 2016 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for distinguished scholarship in the history of art. Her other books include The Chile Chronicles: Tales of a New Mexico Harvest; Low ’n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; and El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico’s La Cíenega Valley.
KHRISTAAN D. VILLELA, Ph.D.
Director, Museum of International Folk Art
Khristaan D. Villela is the Director of the Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe, NM. He has a PhD in art history from University of Texas at Austin. Before his appointment at the museum in August 2016, he was Professor of Art History and Scholar in Residence at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design. He specializes in the history of Pre-Columbian and Latin American art, and on the reception of ancient American culture in the modern world. He has curated exhibitions at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, the Miho Museum, Kyoto, Japan, and the New Mexico History Museum. Most recently he was consulting curator for Miguel Covarrubias: Drawing a Cosmopolitan Line, Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (2014). Prior to his appointment at SFUAD, Villela was the founding director of the Thaw Art History Center at the College of Santa Fe, a teaching a research until with faculty, library, and collections devoted to the arts of the Americas, ancient to contemporary. He writes frequently for publications including New Mexico Magazine, El Palacio, ARTNews, Adobe Airstream, and he has a column in the Santa Fe New Mexican Pasatiempo section. He is the author of Ancient Civilizations of the Americas: Man, Nature, and Spirit in Pre-Columbian Art (Miho Museum, 2011); The Aztec Calendar Stone (with Mary Miller, Getty Publications, 2010); and Contemporary Mexican Architecture and Design (with Ellen Bradbury Reid and Logan Wagner, Gibbs Smith Publications, 2002). He is working on a book on the contributions of the Mexican artist, collector and curator Miguel Covarrubias to Pre-Columbian studies in US and Mexico in the mid-twentieth century. Another book project is the first publication of an album of 1860s photographs, the Souvenir of New Mexico, assembled by a US Army officer in New Mexico Territory. The album includes what may be the first photos of the Navajo, as well as important images of the Navajo captivity at Fort Sumner, NM.
Board of Directors, International Folk Art Alliance
Peter Speliopoulos is an international fashion and costume designer. He was most recently the Senior Vice President of Design and Creative Director of Donna Karan New York, and former Creative Director of Cerruti Arte, Paris. He has designed for leading international fashion houses in France, Italy, and New York for over 30 years. Peter has also designed costumes for numerous internationally performed operas and ballets in collaboration with choreographer/director Karole Armitage. He is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, and received his B.F.A. from the Parsons School of Design in 1982. He is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and serves on the board of Armitage Gone! Dance! Peter noted from having attended the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe over several years now, “Folk art and the artisan hand, indigenous arts—these have always inspired my work in fashion and costume. From indigo to weaving and embroidery, to ceramics and metal works, I have discovered so much of the world’s beauty and variety at the Market!”
CATHERINE A. ALLEN
Board of Directors, International Folk Art Alliance
For more than 30 years, Catherine A. Allen has been an outstanding thought leader in business innovation, technology strategy, and financial services.Catherine is Chairman and CEO of The Santa Fe Group, a strategic advisory services company based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She also currently serves as a board member of Synovus Financial Corporation, El Paso Electric Company, and Analytics Pros, and is a member of the Risk, Energy and Natural Resources, External Affairs and Nominating and Governance Committees. She is Co-Chair of the University of Missouri’s Capital Campaign and sits on the Research and Development Committee. She is also on the advisory board of Women Corporate Directors and the Executive Women’s Forum. Catherine is active politically in national and local spheres, including being a former member of President Barack Obama’s Economic Development and Small Business Committees and the New Mexico State Investment Council. Catherine was recently honored by US Banker Magazine with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contributions to financial services and technology. In 2013, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her contributions to technology by the Executive Women’s Forum. She is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Missouri, recognizing her professional achievements in financial services and technology.