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16 Oct 2020

A Message from the Director and CEO

Dear Members and Friends,

Greetings from the American Folk Art Museum. The past several months have been defined by a single word: change. Through a tumultuous period in our world, my colleagues and I have sought to adapt, reflect, innovate, and act. On video calls from kitchen tables converted to office spaces, we have convened to adjust to an evolving landscape and to make plans for the museum’s future. We have presented virtual programs, deepened our digital offerings, and most recently, reopened the museum. I am grateful to you for your kind words, steadfast financial support, and enthusiastic participation online and onsite for our museum programs.

In August, the museum was one of the first to reopen in New York City. I invite you to find respite and inspiration in artworks on view in American Perspectives and Six Decades Collecting Self-Taught Art, and browse our shop for new and unique products to satisfy all curiosities.

We were thrilled to announce that esteemed Trustee Audrey B. Heckler will donate her collection to the museum. Artworks by Martín Ramírez, Barbus Müller (a.k.a. Antoine Rabany), and Achilles B. Rizzoli from Audrey’s exceptional holdings will go on view later this year in a gallery named in her honor. This generous donation formally launches the museum’s 60th Anniversary gifts of art campaign to deepen and further diversify our collection.

The museum’s Board of Trustees has elected two new members: Seol Park, who is based in South Korea, and Willet Bracken Evans, who lives in Texas. Both Seol and Will cherish the museum and will bring a fresh perspective as we continue to provide the museum’s audiences with greater exposure to self-taught art across time and place.

Our Education staff continues to offer a robust series of virtual programs. Recent highlights include deep dives into our collection and contemporary artist Bisa Butler in dialogue with Dr. Myrah Brown Green. We invite you to join us for an upcoming program soon.

As we look ahead, the new year presents many reasons for excitement. In January, we will open Photo | Brut: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie, a deeply revealing exploration of self-taught photography that will kick-off of the museum’s 60th Anniversary celebrations. Throughout the year, we will share news of major acquisitions as well as exhibitions, programs, and initiatives that bring forth the full and dynamic story of self-taught art, in all media, from the eighteenth century to the present.

Thank you for continuing to reward our efforts this year through memberships and donations. I encourage you to bid on works of art in For Folk’s Sake! Contemporary Artists x the American Folk Art Museum. This benefit auction will feature works donated by contemporary artists who have close ties to the museum, support its mission, and have looked to its collection and exhibitions for inspiration.

During these challenging times, the warmth of our global museum community has been a source of comfort and inspiration for myself and my colleagues. I look forward to seeing you soon at the museum, sitting side-by-virtual side at an upcoming program, and sharing news of exciting initiatives in the coming months.

Happy autumn!


Jason T. Busch

Director and CEO | American Folk Art Museum