International Folk Art Market – Selection Committee and Placement Committee

As the world’s only market of its kind, IFAM is unique in its need to pursue artistic excellence and high-quality craftsmanship in the work of living artists. We value work that explores folk art traditions in ways relevant to artists alive today, just as we value work that builds upon those traditions in ways that are expressive and meaningful to the experience of artists and their communities.

2021 Artist Selection Committee

Cristin McKnight Sethi | Chairperson | South Asia
Nichole Bridges | Africa
Marsha Bol | Mexico – jewelry, Europe, Central Asia
Alicia Boswell | South America
Claire Burkert | East and Southeast Asia
Tony Fisher | Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean
Amy Groleau | South America
Marilyn Murphy | Central Asia – textiles

2021 Artist Placement Committee

Suzanne Sugg, Chair
Judy Espinar
Philip Fimmano
Mary Littrell
Carmella Padilla
Shobhan Porter
Cristin McKnight Sethi
Peter Speliopoulos

2021 Artist Selection and Place Committee Profiles

Marsha Bol is Director Emerita of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Over the past 36 years she has worked as a Director or Curator in four museums – the Museum of International Folk Art (twice), the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology – and as Associate Professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of New Mexico, and is a specialist in Native American Art/Architecture and Spanish Colonial Art/Architecture. At the Carnegie Museum, she was the Curator of the Alcoa Foundation Hall of American Indians, producing two books on the topic of “American Indians and the Natural World.” She is the author of numerous articles and most recently completed a book/exhibition project about “Beadwork Adorns the World” at the Museum of International Folk Art (opened April 22, 2018).

Nichole Bridges is Associate Curator in Charge, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, and Associate Curator for African Art at the Saint Louis Art Museum. She has organized several exhibitions including Adorning Self and Space: West African Textiles (2015), Senufo: Art and Identity in West Africa (2015), and Atua: Sacred Gods from Polynesia (2014). She worked previously as a curator at the Newark Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art and earned a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has received awards from Fulbright, the Smithsonian Institution, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Musée du Quai Branly, and teaches on occasion as adjunct faculty in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Claire Burkert has lived and worked in South and Southeast Asia for over 30 years. In 1989 she founded the Janakpur Women’s Development Center in southern Nepal to empower women to earn income from their art, and she has maintained steady involvement in the Center’s projects. In projects supported by the Ford Foundation, UNESCO, The Poverty Alleviation Fund and other governmental and non-governmental organizations, she has worked with artisan groups in Vietnam, Myanmar, Tibet, Gaza, and Turkey to design, develop and promote their crafts. Previously she worked with Aid to Artisans as their Asia Representative. Her publications, including Himalayan Style (Roli, 2014), have focussed on indigenous traditions of architecture, craft and design.

Judith Espinar has been instrumental in creating the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe as a co-founder and has provided leadership since 2004. She has a BA in Clothing and Textiles and in Art History, as well as two years of graduate work in Philosophy of Design. Judith served in the Peace Corps in Peru. She was previously the fashion director of Gimbels East NYC, Fashion Director of Menswear for all Gimbels stores, Director of Fashion Information for Butterick Fashion, Editor in Chief of Vogue Patterns International, Director of Evan Picone Design Studio, and VIP Design Director of Murjani International. Judith formerly served on the board of Aid to Artisans, was Project Advisor-Ceramics for USAID sponsored research on “Marketing Viability of Hungarian Craft Industries,” and one of three Project Directors for the first two years of UNESCO-sponsored “Lead-Free Low Fire Pottery Project” in Mexico. Judith was previously the owner of The Clay Angel in Santa Fe, supporting her life-long interest and study of the world’s traditional ceramics.

Philip Fimmano is a curator and trend analyst for the design industries, consulting for a global clientele through his work with Trend Union and Edelkoort Inc. He co-founded Talking Textiles with Li Edelkoort in 2011, an on-going program that promotes the survival of creative textiles through exhibitions, a student prize, an annual conference, and New York Textile Month each September. Philip is also the editor of Talking Textiles magazine. Born in Australia, he is a resident of Paris and New York. As a contemporary design and trend expert, and as a curator of international exhibitions, Philip actively promotes the work of designers, weavers and artisans. He aims to connect IFAM to the craftspeople and collaborators he encounters on his global travels.

Tony Fisher is the owner and co-founder of Indigo Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA. Founded in 1987, Indigo Arts is a gallery of international folk, ethnographic and contemporary art. Like many galleries Indigo Arts has evolved from a “storefront” location to a predominantly internet and “by appointment” business, exhibiting at some international art fairs, such as the Caribbean Art Fair and the Outsider Art Fair in New York. Tony holds an M.Arch. in Architecture from UPenn and a BA in Architecture from Yale (with an unofficial minor in African Studies). Having lived and worked internationally, Tony has a strong personal interest in and knowledge of folk, tribal, and contemporary art. Living six years in Africa, and traveling there and in Latin America and the Caribbean, he has written on traditional (folk/tribal) architecture in Africa and Haiti. He has also served for many years on the board of the Haitian Art Society, as well as the Old City Arts Association in Philadelphia, and for the last several years on the Selection and Standards committees of the International Folk Art Market.

Amy Groleau is a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and previously served as the Curator of Latin American Collections at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. Her work is centered in the Peruvian Andes where she has collaborated with numerous artists, organizations, and collectives as well as conducted archaeological research. She holds a PhD in anthropology from Binghamton University (SUNY).

Mary Littrell is Professor and Department Head Emerita in Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University. Internationally, she taught at University Pertanian Malaysia, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, Fu Jen University in Taiwan, and Semester at Sea. Her research focuses on artisan group organizations as they intersect with the increasingly competitive global market for hand made goods. With grants from the Ford Foundations, Aid to Artisans, Earthwatch Institute, and Fulbright-Hayes, she has worked with textile artists in Ghana, Guatemala, India, and Uzbekistan. Her most recent book, Embroidering within Boundaries: Afghan Women Creating a Future, co-authored with IFAM artist Rangina Hamidi, received the Silver Award from the Independent Booksellers Association in 2018. Mary chaired the IFAM Artist Selection Committee for four years, ending in 2017. Mary’s interdisciplinary Ph.D. from Purdue University focuses on textiles, anthropology, and African studies.

Cristin McKnight Sethi is a curator and historian of South Asian art and an assistant professor of Art History at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design at George Washington University (GW). She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley (2015) and a Master’s in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin (2008). Her research and teaching interests include the study of textiles and folk art, the intersection of gender and practices of making, networks of circulation and exchange, and histories of colonialism and British imperialism. Cristin has held curatorial and research positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the UCLA Fowler Museum, the Asian Art Museum San Francisco, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of International Folk Art. Cristin is currently working on a book that explores hand embroidery in Punjab. Cristin has served on the Selection Committee for the International Folk Art Market since 2015; she has chaired the committee since 2018.

Marilyn Murphy has combined a passion for and knowledge of the textile arts for her entire career. She is the former president of Interweave, a media publishing company focused on the arts and crafts sector where she worked for 16 years. Prior to this, in 1986, she founded the Textile Arts Centre in Chicago, and was the owner of the Weaving Workshop there. She writes a bi-monthly blog for ClothRoads, curates the ClothRoads collection, lectures about artisan sustainability, and volunteers as co-chair for the non-profit Andean Textile Arts.

Carmella Padilla is a journalist, author, and editor who frequently explores intersections in art, culture, and history. She has published extensively, including in the Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Latina, and American Craft, and has written several books, including The Work of Art: Folk Artists in the 21st Century, celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the International Folk Art Market in 2013. Other books include El Rancho de las Golondrinas: Living History in New Mexico’s La Ciénega Valley; Low ‘n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; and The Chile Chronicles: Tales of a New Mexico Harvest. In 2017, Padilla’s book A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World, co-edited with Dr. Barbara Anderson, won the College Art Association’s Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for distinguished scholarship in art history. Also in 2017, she edited Borderless: The Art of Luis Tapia, exploring the art and life of acclaimed New Mexico Chicano sculptor Luis Tapia. A native Santa Fean, Padilla is a recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the City of Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Literary Arts, and the New Mexico Community Foundation Luminaria Award.

Shobhan Porter was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, and grew up mostly in Santa Fe. She got her start in life spending time in Europe with relatives and traveling with her parents Helga & Greig Porter on buying trips around the world in search of antiques, jewelry and clothing. Her experiences grew into her pursuit of International Studies at Vassar College and an International MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. She worked on several health projects in Latin America and entered the world of High Tech for several startups and Oracle Corporation. Now, as Owner of Porter Associates Inc., Shobhan’s vision has transformed the business begun by her parents to expand into three stores on the Santa Fe Plaza: Santa Fe Dry Goods, Workshop & Wild Life. As a buyer, Shobhan seeks out products that share artful combinations of color, texture, and form. The result is a collection of beautifully crafted items from independent designers and artisans that exude joy and create a sense of freedom and strength in the people who frequent the stores.

Peter Speliopoulos is the founder of Peter Speliopoulos Projects, is a multidisciplinary artist creating ceramics and home objects. His foundation as a fashion designer, creative director, and designer of costumes for opera and modern ballet have influenced his work. 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, and 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!”

Suzanne Sugg has been active in a variety of art organizations in Texas and New Mexico for more than 40 years. She has served 9 years on the Board of Directors for the International Folk Art Alliance, where she was Secretary for 2 years. She has been on the IFAA Advisory Board and is returning as an active IFAA board member this year. Suzanne is currently on the Advisory Board of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and a charter member of the Texas Women for the Arts. Suzanne has served on the Board of Directors of the Taos Art Museum and City of San Angelo Public Arts Commission. She has served as Trustee Chairman of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, San Angelo Cultural Affairs Council, the Texas Association of Museums Trustees, and Texans for the Arts, as well as working with numerous civic organizations. She attended Christies’ Decorative Arts Summer School in New York City and participated in many national conferences of the Museum Trustee Association, International Majolica Society, and New York Silver Society. Suzanne has designed day and evening handbags, clothing, jewelry, and home interiors using antique and ethnic components. She and her husband, Joel, split their time between San Angelo, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They are collectors of Gorham Martele silver, antique and ethnic textiles, Tlaquepaque pottery, majolica pottery, American illustrators, and other New Mexico and California artists.