Arden Aibel Rothstein, PhD
New York, New York
Arden first fell in love with Oaxaca in 1961 – just before her 14th birthday – when she traveled there for the first of three summers to participate in a cultural program for American girls. This was a life-altering experience. Most important was getting to know folk artists and their families in the pueblos surrounding Oaxaca City.
Decades later, Arden introduced her daughters and husband to this enchanted place in which they devoted the majority of their time to visiting artists in their pueblos and learning about their crafts. This culminated in the creation of a book featuring the region’s spectrum of folk arts — Mexican Folk Art from Oaxacan Artist Families — co-authored and co-photographed with Anya, Arden’s daughter, in 2002. An expanded second edition was published in 2007. In the wake of protests in Oaxaca that seriously compromised the former robust flow of tourism, Arden – in collaboration with board member Cindy Weill (below) founded FOFA in 2007.
The Rothstein family has hosted numerous artesanos in New York City, arranging demonstrations in schools and museums and helping them market their work. The Rothsteins have a large personal collection of Oaxacan folk art that graces their home and professional offices. Arden is a clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, and Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Education affiliated with NYU School of Medicine.
Amy Mulvihill, M.A.
Brooklyn, New York
Amy’s first experience in Oaxaca was as a young girl in the early 1950s. She was a part of the first group of eight American girls hosted by Franny and Leon Sciaky, and then had the good fortune of returning for six more summers. There she formed very strong connections with artisans and others who lived in the pueblos surrounding Oaxaca. At that time, almost all of the indigenous people wore the “trajes” of their village and spoke one or another dialect of Mixteco or Zapoteco, the indigenous languages of the Valley of Oaxaca. Amy’s immersion in Oaxaca was truly life-changing, and continues to have an impact on many aspects of her life.
Amy worked as a teacher and then as a supervisor of teachers in the NYC public school system for 31 years. Although she retired prior to the large wave of Mexican immigration that has enriched the culture of New York, she recalls a harbinger of this development while walking in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens 20 years ago. Recognizing that a family she encountered was from Oaxaca, she was profoundly moved. Today, she continues to be delighted when she overhears Mixteco or Zapoteco being spoken when traveling home on the #2 train. As a kind of extension of her work in NYC schools, a number of years ago Amy and her husband Michael became involved in Centro Infantil, and organization that offers education, daytime care-taking and meals to children of elementary through high school age who would otherwise live on the streets. Michael has also sponsored the father of one child who started his education at age 11, and has now graduated from automotive training school.
Amy continues her support of Oaxacan artisans through her work with FOFA.
New York, New York
Karen first embraced Mexican folk art in 1985, when she visited Patzcuaro, San Miguel de Allende, and Guanajuato. Years later, she was excited to learn about FOFA and its commitment to “preserving and promoting” Oaxacan folk art. In 2018, she helped with FOFA’s competition in Oaxaca and the resulting catalogue. Karen’s love of folk art began early. As a teenager, she moved with her family to Hong Kong, where she was interested in folk art from China, India, Thailand, and the Philippines. Back in the USA, she was drawn to Native American folk art, particularly pottery, beadwork, and weaving. She herself is a ceramicist and stained glass artist.Karen has devoted her professional life to teaching and being a principal in New York City’s public schools, and also advocating for national policies that ensure quality child health and child care programs. She holds an MSEd from Bank Street College of Education and an EdD from Teachers College at Columbia University.
Brooklyn, New York
Deborah Huntington (Brooklyn, NY) has volunteered for three of FOFA’s young artists’ competitions in Oaxaca and every FOFA event in New York City. A recent retiree, she considers it a profound honor to work with the folk artists in Oaxaca. She views her work with FOFA as a way to celebrate the creative spirit and to push back against global commercialization and cultural homogeneity.
New York, New York
Janette is a Mexican hybrid, born to a Oaxacan father and Mexico City mother. She studied Biology at the National University of Mexico and lives in New York with her family. In love with Oaxaca since her childhood, Janette travels to Oaxaca to visit her family each summer. Gudelia, her Oaxacan grandmother, taught her how to select things at the market, how to make chocolate from cocoa beans, and how to cook mole. Janette’s love and passion for and knowledge of Oaxaca flourished in those visits to the market with its vibrant colors, aromas, sounds, textures and flavors.
Handicrafts have always been present in Janette’s life. Both her grandmothers handcrafted items themselves, or used handmade items for their household chores and to decorate their homes. Of the great variety of handicrafts, Janette especially appreciates Oaxacan Tehuana dresses, filigree jewelry, ceramic figurines and straw baskets. She decided to get involved with FOFA after learning about it on the internet; she immediately felt an emotional connection with its projects. A great addition, she was quickly invited to join the board.
Joyce M Grossbard, LCSW
New York, New York
Joyce fell in love with Oaxaca in 1969. Her first view of this magical city was when she arrived on horseback after traveling through the mountains from Chiapas. She returned to Oaxaca in 2005, camera in hand, bringing a keenly observant eye and a sense of ease born from her many years as a practicing psychotherapist. Her unique sensibility enabled her to capture the essence of the Oaxacan people. Joyce began photographing intimate portraits of Oaxacan women and children and the celebrations of Day of the Dead that resulted in two photography shows in Manhattan. Since then, her photographs of Oaxaca’s artisans and artwork have appeared in magazines, newspapers and books.
In addition to her photographic work, Joyce continues to practice and teach psychotherapy in New York and New Jersey and is a collector of Oaxacan art.
New York, New York
Dana’s interest in Oaxacan folk art grew out of her broader interest in art--particularly in crafts and folk art--and many things Latin (food, music, art, etc.). Her friend,FOFA Board member Amy Mulvihill, shared her wonderful collection of Mexican folk art, much of it crafted by Oaxacan artisans known personally to Amy. This enhanced Dana’s desire to travel to Oaxaca, which she did for the first time in 2003. This was followed by a number of return trips to Oaxaca, during which she deepened her interest in Oaxaca and its rich folk art traditions and became a collector in her own right.Dana has volunteered her assistance for most of FOFA’s benefit sales, and in the fall of 2017 joined FOFA’s team. In August of 2018,s he participated with other FOFA board members in the young artists’ contest. The opportunity to meet and work directly with so many young and talented artisans was incredibly rewarding. Supporting and celebrating the creative life of these emerging Mexican artists is extremely important, especially in the current divisive climate in which we live. Dana worked as a graphic designer and art director within the publishing realm, at publishers (and design studios) including Oxford University Press, Random House and McGraw Hill, and as the principal of her own design firm. She is now retired.
Nina Stern McCullaugh
Los Angeles, California
Nina’s 50-plus-year love affair with Oaxaca and its warm-hearted, creative people began during a summer educational program there in 1963. Like FOFA founder Arden Aibel Rothstein and Board Member Amy Mulvihill, Nina’s immersion in Oaxacan culture as a teenager turned out to be life-changing, and has continued to inform both her worldview and aesthetic sensibilities. Among her beloved acquisitions from the summer of ’63 is a wood-carved figure of an elderly woman that was one of Manuel Jimenez’s earliest pieces. Nina is particularly touched by the work of Francisco Santiago of La Unión Tejalapam (pictured), whose realistic woodcarvings of pueblo inhabitants evoke the timeless traditions of life in el campo.
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Nina got her start professionally as a journalist, campaign secretary and fundraiser, working during the 1970s for The Sierra Club, the ACLU and California Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign for president, among others. She then segued into the corporate world, first as head of PR for a leading consumer electronics company; then one of only a handful of women in managerial/executive positions in the tech field; and eventually as Vice President of Publicity for Paramount. Nina reactivated her PR agency and also serving on the board of the Center for Media Literacy. Since 2009 Nina has served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in Los Angeles County’s foster care system. She also is a potter who enjoys creating wheel-thrown functional ware. Her “bucket list” dream is to apprentice with a figurative ceramicist in Oaxaca.
Susan Pasternak, DMH
New York, New York
Susan Pasternak had never been to Mexico until 1967 where she was a summer exchange student at the University of Guadalajara. Right away Mexico – its people, its language and culture, its contrasting landscapes, its food, its art, and its magic – completely captivated her. Susan’s first trip to Oaxaca was in 1970.Since then she has been drawn back with increasing frequency, exploring surrounding art towns, studying with a local artist, and undertaking intensive Spanish studies. Over four decades she has traveled throughout Mexico, but her deepening love of Mexican folk art draws her back to Oaxaca with regularity. Joining the FOFA board has allowed her to deepen her commitment to the art and artists of Oaxaca. Susan is a practicing psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in New York City.
Mariana M. Pedrero
New York, New York
Mariana was born in Mexico City. Her passion for her country’s culture started as a child, as she created in those early years all kinds of colorful crafts using eggshells, watercolor paintings, stones, and wood. It was not a surprise for her family that, before she enrolled in college, she chose to attend an art school in Paris to further develop her skills in painting. Mariana earned a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Universidad Anahuac and she got her Master’s degree at New York University in Product Design. As the former Director of the Eastern States of the Mexico Tourism Office in New York – and the general manager for international fairs and events of the Mexico Tourism Board – she became a strong promoter of tourism and culture. She shared Mexican culture with the world by bringing dancers, painters, crafts people, and the secrets of the cuisine of her homeland to most of the international events she coordinated while in office.
Today her passion for art and conveying Mexican culture is still alive, further strengthened by her new venture, Imagen Zebra in Mexico City and Zebra Creating Ideas in New York. In this medium, she continues her work on different projects that promote what Mexico has to offer as a unique cultural destination, as well as, collaborating with domestic and international corporations.
New York, New York
Margee Rogers was first introduced to Mexican culture and folk art in 1967. She lived in Mexico City from 1979 to 1982 and has maintained very close ties with friends and family there, visiting at least once a year. One visit, in December 2011, took her to Oaxaca to explore the folk art villages. She discovered the FOFA 2011 young artist’s exhibit at MEAPO, was impressed with the quality of the work, and the support that FOFA provided the artists. Upon returning to the United States she began to volunteer. Her involvement has increased through the 2013 and 2016 competitions and ongoing projects to support artists and their families in Oaxaca.
Margee has worked as a nurse practitioner and health care administrator in a large school-based health program in the Bronx for the past 32 years, helping all youth achieve their full potential. She is also an aspiring potter and photographer, a lens that allows her to fully appreciate the talent, perseverance, tradition, and sheer hard work that goes into Oaxacan folk art.
Growing up in El Paso, Texas Marissa was exposed at an early age to bordering Mexican cities and northern Mexican areas such as Chihuahua and Sonora. It was not until after moving to New York City in 1989, however, that she began to discover the contrasting central and southern states of Mexico, including Oaxaca. The connection was immediate from every aspect including food, culture, music, and of course the folk artists and their traditions. After returning several times, Marissa was fortunate enough to get married and host a traditional, indigenous wedding ceremony in Oaxaca in 2003. It was then that she formed long-lasting relationships with local cooks, restaurateurs, musicians, healers, weavers, and artesanos who contributed to the week-long celebration.
Since joining FOFA, Marissa has proudly been able to continue fostering these relationships and collaborate on the vital projects that have been essential to its mission and work. After working as a culinary consultant in the restaurant and hospitality industry in New York for over 25 years, Marissa moved to the Napa Valley in 2014 to begin a new adventure. She still works in hospitality but now within the wine industry, where her skills and experience are a perfect match for her newfound position. She hopes to bring awareness of FOFA and its mission to the west coast by disseminating information about their important work.
William Scanlan, Jr.
San Antonio, Texas
Bill served as a Captain in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1970 with one year of service in Vietnam. His decorations include the Army Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star. He was an adjunct professor of estate and gift taxation at St. Mary’s University School of Law for over twenty years, and is the author of numerous articles and a frequent lecturer on taxation, estate planning and trust and estate administration issues at programs such as the Wills & Probate Institute at the Center for American and International Law, the Annual American Institute on Federal Taxation, the University of Texas Annual Taxation Conference, the San Antonio Young Lawyer’s Docket Call in Probate Court, and State Bar of Texas seminars. Bill’s civic activities include service as Trustee of the following: College of Arts & Sciences of the University of Virginia; Oldfields School (Glencoe, Maryland); San Antonio Museum of Art; St. Luke’s Episcopal School; City Centre (San Fernando Cathedral) Foundation; Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital Foundation; St. Andrews-Sewanee School (Sewanee, Tennessee); and Main Plaza Conservancy.
Bill, who is fluent in Spanish, is an aficionado of Oaxacan folk art and a serious collector. He has generously helped FOFA apply for its non-profit status and continues to consult on legal issues as they arise. His son, William Scanlan, III, opened the first MailBoxes, Etc. store in Oaxaca, as well as a far wider region including Mexico City. In this capacity, he, too, has been very generous to Oaxacan artesanos and to FOFA.