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National Museum of Mexican Art Names José Ochoa President and CEO

National Museum of Mexican Art Names José Ochoa President and CEO

  • Former ChiArts Foundation President José Ochoa named new NMMA President and CEO

Major news in Chicago’s philanthropy and art world. The National Museum of Mexican Art announced that the former founding Executive and Artistic Director of ChiArts, José Ochoa has been named its new incoming President and CEO. Ochoa who most recently served as President of the ChiArts Foundation will succeed Museum founder, President and CEO Carlos Tortolero, effective immediately. 


Ochoa joins the Museum from the ChiArts Foundation of the Chicago High School for the Arts, where he served as President. Previously, he served as founding Executive and Artistic Director of ChiArts.
Prior to these roles, Ochoa was Superintendent of Cultural Arts for Nashville, Tenn., supervising the dance, music, theater, and visual arts departments, two museums, and the special events department.
“This is the honor of a lifetime and a full-circle moment in my life, to return to my roots but with a wealth of knowledge and experience to lead this marvelous institution into its next chapter,” Ochoa said.
“The Board sought a visionary leader who could build on the Museum’s achievements,” said Carlos R. Cardenas, Chair of NMMA’s Board of Trustees and Senior Vice President Group Manager, Wintrust Commercial Bank. “We focused on candidates with strong educator backgrounds, robust career credentials in the arts, sound financial acumen in running organizations, a history of effective fundraising, experience driving growth and operational excellence, a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, a deep appreciation for Mexican culture and art, and the ability to use the arts as facilitators for dialogue on contemporary issues that matter to our communities, as well as a passion for making the arts accessible to all people. José Ochoa embodies many of these key pillars, which led the Board to identify José as an ideal leader to continue solidifying the NMMA as the premier institution of Mexican art, culture and history, and reinforcing its role as one of America’s Cultural Treasures.”

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“On behalf of the Board, I would like to acknowledge Carlos Tortolero’s dynamic leadership and stewardship in furthering the Museum’s impact well beyond the footprint of a typical museum or community organization,” Cardenas said. “Thanks to Carlos, José inherits a strong legacy and sound footing upon which he can advance the mission of the Museum and foster continued excellence and influence. Today, the National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as the most prominent first-voice institution for Mexican art and culture in the United States. The NMMA is also a national leader and mentor for culturally and ethnically focused institutions and serves as a lighthouse on social justice issues affecting Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, and Latinos at the local, national, and international levels. This is the foundation Carlos leaves behind, which we are entrusted to build upon.”
A champion for art and culture, Ochoa will elevate the Museum’s national presence and reputation in his new role, creatively enhance programming, and increase impact in Chicago and beyond.
“José’s energy and empathy, his success in engaging young people and in creating opportunities all combine to make him the perfect person to lead the Museum at this exciting time in its journey,” said Carlos Tortolero.

Source: press release

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