From ChiArts Foundation to NMMA Leadership: José Ochoa Embarks on a Journey to Elevate Mexican Art and Culture
The National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA) proudly announces the appointment of José Ochoa as its new President and CEO, effective immediately. Ochoa takes the reins from Carlos Tortolero, the museum’s founder, President, and CEO for over 40 years, who retired on December 31, 2023. Tortolero will continue in a consultative role until March 31, 2024.
José Ochoa brings a wealth of experience and a passion for art and culture to the role. Prior to joining NMMA, he served as President of the ChiArts Foundation of the Chicago High School for the Arts, and as the founding Executive and Artistic Director of ChiArts. His extensive career also includes serving as the Superintendent of Cultural Arts for Nashville, Tenn., overseeing various cultural departments and museums.
“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 expressed.
The Board of Trustees, led by Carlos R. Cardenas, recognized Ochoa as the ideal leader to build on the museum’s achievements. Cardenas highlighted Ochoa’s strong background in education, career credentials in the arts, financial acumen, fundraising experience, commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a deep appreciation for Mexican culture and art. Ochoa’s ability to use the arts as a tool for dialogue on contemporary issues and his passion for making the arts accessible to all played a pivotal role in his selection.
“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.
Carlos Tortolero, the outgoing President and CEO, also commended Ochoa, stating, “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.”
Ochoa, with a bachelor’s degree in music performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and a master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from West Texas A&M University, is poised to elevate the museum’s national presence and reputation. The NMMA, recognized as one of America’s Cultural Treasures in 2020 by the Ford Foundation, boasts a Permanent Collection of over 20,000 artworks. The museum has presented over 150 exhibitions, provides arts education to 52,000 students annually, and serves over 150,000 visitors from 60 countries each year.
Under Ochoa’s leadership, the museum aims to creatively enhance programming, increase impact in Chicago and beyond, and continue its role as a first-voice institution for Mexican art and culture in the United States.
For more information about the National Museum of Mexican Art, please visit www.nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org. Admission to the museum is always free.
Note: This article is based on the provided information about the appointment of José Ochoa as President and CEO of the National Museum of Mexican Art.