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National Museum of Mexican Art announces new president

The National Museum of Mexican Art has a new leader, announcing on Tuesday that José Ochoa will be its new president and CEO.

Ochoa comes to the museum after serving as president of the ChiArts Foundation of the Chicago High School for the Arts. He had been the founding artistic director of ChiArts, and before that was the superintendent of the Cultural Arts department for Nashville, Tennessee.

Ochoa takes over from Carlos Tortolero, 69, the museum’s founder, president and CEO who retired on Dec. 31. Tortolero will continue as consultant until March 31.

The National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen is recognized locally and internationally as one of the cultural cornerstones of Chicago, and is reported to be the only nationally accredited museum dedicated to Mexican art and culture. It has a staff of 40 employees and an annual budget of about $8 million, operating with free admission with some 150,000 annual visitors. The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays (though it is closed Tuesday, Jan. 16, due to severe weather).

“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, in part in a statement announcing Ochoa’s hiring. “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.”

According to the announcement, the appointment is effective immediately.

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