Stuart A. Ashman, Executive Director
The Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Stuart Ashman as Executive Director, effective August 8, 2016. Ashman is leaving his position as the President and CEO of the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Calif., to return to Santa Fe and assume leadership of CCA. “I am honored to have this opportunity to return to Santa Fe to lead CCA at this exciting time in its history,” Ashman said.
Ashman comes to CCA with a distinguished record of leadership and innovation in the arts and government. Prior to his current position, Ashman helped create the legislation, with Representative J. Paul Taylor, Governor Bill Richardson and the New Mexico legislature, to elevate the Department of Cultural Affairs to a cabinet-level agency and served as its Secretary from 2003-2010. Prior to 2003, he served as Director of the New Mexico Museum of Art and Executive Director of Santa Fe’s Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.
“We are thrilled that Stuart has agreed to serve as CCA’s Executive Director and we look forward to working with him as he leads the CCA to greater heights. Welcome home Stuart and Peggy.” said Paul Hultin, CCA’s Board Chair.
Ashman will assume leadership at a revitalized CCA which, during the past several years, completed extensive upgrades and renovations to its facilities, received support and recognition from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Sundance Institute, the Sloan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, received a Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts (for Cinematheque Director, Jason Silverman) and has hosted, on an annual basis, more than 55,000 art and movie lovers. Its Board of Directors includes numerous civic leaders from the arts, film, and business communities. Founded in 1979, CCA works with more than 150 not-for-profit and educational partners, including the Santa Fe Public Schools.
Jason Silverman, Cinematheque Director
Jason has served as Cinematheque Director since 2004. In 2014, Jason was recognized with the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has produced programs that have drawn more than 420,000 in attendance at institutions including the Smithsonian (with whom he founded and co-directed for 10 years The Native Cinema Showcase), The Lensic and SITE Santa Fe. Jason has curated programs for the Bioneers Conference, El Museo del Barrio, Museum of Fine Arts/Museum of New Mexico, the Santa Fe Opera and the True/False Film Festival.
Silverman is, with Samba Gadjigo, the writer, director and producer of the feature film SEMBENE! which premiered in competition at the 2015 Sundance Film and the Cannes Festival du Film, where it was one of the top eight finalists for the Camera d’Or. It is distributed by Kino Lorber, which is releasing it in 30+ cities in the U.S. SEMBENE! was included on best-of-2015 lists by New York Magazine, RogerEbert.com, Movie City News and Christian Science Monitor. He is producer of Olympia (opening night film, SXSW; closing night film, Slamdance) and Shameless. His projects have received support from the Ford Foundation, the Sundance Institute, Cinereach, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Tribeca Film Institute.
Jason is a three-time Sundance Documentary Fellow and a 2010 New Visions Award winner. He has served as a staff member at the Telluride Film Festival for 25 years and is former artistic director of Taos Talking Pictures (named one of the world's top ten film festivals). Silverman has served as a panelist, juror and nominator for the SXSW and Sundance Film Festivals, the Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowships and Creative Capital. He has written more than 400 articles for Wired, been a contributor to the Santa Fean, Austin Chronicle, Time Out New York, Psychology Today and UTNE Reader, and his collection of essays Untold New Mexico was used as a textbook at the University of New Mexico. His essays on film and culture have been published in eight other collections and translated into more than a dozen languages. Jason is also a former adjunct professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
Jason holds a BA in English from the University of Michigan and a MA in English from Middlebury College.
Matthew Contos Wikswo, Curator of Education and Engagement
Shastyn Blomquist, Assistant Curator & Exhibitions Coordinator
Nathan Hollis, Cinematheque Manager
Nathan graduated from O.B.U. with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater in 2008. He then lived and worked in Washington D.C. as a professional actor, before heading to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to study Film. After completing his second undergraduate degree in Film in 2012, he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, to attend post-graduate school at the Screen Academy Scotland. Nathan utilized his time at the Screen Academy to not only earn his Masters in Film, but to shoot his first Feature film, Harry & Avis. Nathan is now residing back in Santa Fe, where he is a Professor of Film at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, as well as the Manager of the Cinematheque at the Center for Contemporary Arts. Between teaching classes, the CCA, and working on a variety of professional film projects, he is also working on a new script for his second feature film.
Elena Sweeney, Administrative Coordinator
Elena was born and raised here in New Mexico. She retired from the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in May 2015 with 27 years working for the State of New Mexico. Her background has been in fiscal administration and management work for the sixteen (16) divisions within DCA; which include the eight museums and ten monuments run by the State. She has a BA in Accounting from the College of Santa Fe now known as the University of Art and Design.
Aidan White, Membership & Development Coordinator
Aidan is a long time resident of Santa Fe and has enjoyed working with local businesses and artisans for many years. With a diverse background in design, business administration, and community non-profits, Aidan feels right at home at CCA.
She looks forward to supporting the continued growth of the organization and sharing her passion for the arts and culture of New Mexico with an ever-growing community of friends.
Aidan holds a BA in Political Science from University of New Mexico and an Associates Degree in Graphic & Interactive Design from Santa Fe Community College.
Chris Bredenberg, Technical Director
Chris Bredenberg is born and raised in Santa Fe and has been with the Center for Contemporary Arts for over 12 years. For three years, Chris has been a projectionist for Telluride, Stanley, Palm Springs, Hawaii, Denver, Santa Fe and Santa Fe Independent Film Festival. In addition, he provides technical services for Hawaii, True/False, Telluride and Santa Fe Film Festival. Chris is a huge fan of the diverse and engaging cinema CCA provides.
JC Gonzo, Graphic Design
JC Gonzo is a photographer and artist from El Paso, Texas. He is a freelance art/culture writer who has written for Sensitive Skin Magazine, White Fungus, Santa Fe Reporter, L_A_N Magazine, and Dandy Dicks. He holds a BA from College of Santa Fe in Sexual Liberation as Art.
James Gould, Facilities Coordinator
James grew up in a family who enjoyed working with their hands. Smitten with creating artwork and making things from an early age, James went on to secure a Bachelor's Degree in Art from SUNY Brockport. A spontaneous detour resulted in his founding a popular secondhand bookstore in Rochester, NY. He operated the store for eleven years before selling it and being lured to New Mexico. James perfected his skills as a woodworker in Santa Fe through on-the-job training and experience making custom furniture, architectural features and carving decorative picture frames. He has taught in the Fine Woodworking Department of the Santa Fe Community College School of Art and Design since 2002. In addition to woodworking and the pursuit of other art forms, James has exercised his range of skills, both practical and creative, to help people manage and improve buildings. He has managed the Santa Fe Farmers' Market building since it opened in 2008, and was the Property Manager for the McCune Charitable Foundation for several years. CCA is a good fit.