A Year of Inspiration: Celebrating the Best of Everything

Every year since 2013, the Museum of International Folk Art has been named the top “Best of Santa Fe” museum by the Santa Fe Reporter.

In Fiscal Year 2022-2023 (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023), museum donors contributed generously to projects that inspire visitors from close to home and around the globe to engage in the museum’s international folk art exhibitions and programs. Their support generated total revenues of $787,000.

The museum, widely recognized for its commitment to excellence in public education, reached a total of 76,590 participants this fiscal year, an extraordinary 20 percent more than the previous year. Some 207 students from the museum's three partner schools—Mandela International Magnet School, El Camino Real Academy and Abiquiu Elementary—participated, thanks to a program funded since 2012 in large part by the Partricia Arscott La Farge Foundation for Folk Art. In a partnership that is now in its sixth year, another 5,000 students from Cooking with Kids, a Santa Fe nonprofit, participated in educational folk art projects related to their studies. And at Gerard’s House in Santa Fe, a center for grieving children and their families, clients took part in folk art therapy lessons led by the museum’s award-winning bilingual educator, Kemely Gomez.

Area educators and their schools again benefited from the Teacher’s Night Out Resource Fair this fiscal year. The museum and its partner, the Community Educators Network, have offered the
program for 10 years, providing opportunity for educators to learn about valuable educational resources that encourage their students’ critical thinking and creativity.

The museum’s mission “to connect communities through stories of dynamic cultural traditions, human creativity and resilience” was also brought to life as students were provided bus transportation to the museum. This opportunity was thanks to the Friends of Folk Art, whose Mardi Gras gala in February 2023 raised over $16,000 to support the program.

Visitors of all ages came to see the museum’s extraordinary exhibitions. La Cartonería Mexicana/The Mexican Art of Paper and Paste, which opened in January 2023, features an imaginative array of papier-mâché piñatas, dolls and fantastical animals called alebrijes, many from the museum’s Alexander Girard Foundation Collection. The show included
popular outreach programs, such as displays of life-sized alebrijes by notable Mexican artists on Milner Plaza, in partnership with the Mexican Cultural Center of DuPage, Illinois. A 15-foot alebrije was erected at the Southside Public Library, a partnership with the Mexican Cultural Center in Denver. And Axle Contemporary’s traveling papier-mâché installation, inside a retrofitted 1970 alu-minum step van, visited Spanish-speaking communities, serving over 1,970 students and families from Albuquerque to northern New Mexico.

Lead donors who made these programs possible included the Friends of Folk Art, Martha Egan, Sheila and Kirk Ellis, Rae Hoffacker and Peter Pappas, Mary Anne and Bruce Larsen, Linda and Patrick Rayes, and Courtney Finch Taylor and Scott Taylor. Generous funding was also received from Los Amigos del Arte Popular, the International Folk Art Foundation and donors to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation's Exhibition Development Fund.

Opening in May 2023 was Ghhúunayúkata/To Keep Them Warm: The Alaska Native Parka, featuring Indigenous-made parkas. The exhibition was supported largely by a $148,000 grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art, with additional lead gifts from Edelma and David Huntley, Suzi Jones, Beverly and Michael Morris, Elizabeth and James Roghair, Courtney Finch Taylor and Scott Taylor, Friends of Folk Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, International Folk Art Foundation and the CIRI Foundation.

The fiscal year marked the Girard Wing’s 40th anniversary at the museum. This was celebrated with the launch of the Girard Legacy Endowment Fund to support the long term care and stewardship needs of the Girard Foundation Collection and Multiple Visions: A Common Bond installation, as well as public programming and other related activities. To date, the campaign has raised over $600,000 in cash and $1.4 million in planned gifts. Lead $100,000 gifts from Lynn Godfrey Brown, Friends of Folk Art, and Carl Kawaja and Gwendolyn Holcombe (for the Elisabeth W. Alley Endowment Fund for the Girard Wing) put this campaign well on its way toward its $5 million goal.

The Friends of Folk Art remained among the museum’s most ardent support groups. Their 2023 Folk Art Flea raised an eye-popping $160,000, including $35,000 from 40 generous individual sponsors.

Finally, Charlie Lockwood was hired in May 2023 as the museum's executive director. “I want to express my deepest gratitude for your support over the past year,” he says.


This article and image are from the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Member News Magazine.