PRESS RELEASE: Texas Folklife Announces Departure of Executive Director Charlie Lockwood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 16, 2023
Texas Folklife Announces Departure of Executive Director Charlie Lockwood
Deputy Director Elisha Oliver, PhD Appointed Interim Executive Director
AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Folklife’s Executive Director Charlie Lockwood has announced his resignation from his position with the organization effective June 5, 2023. Texas Folklife’s Board of Directors has appointed current Deputy Director Elisha Oliver, PhD as Interim Executive Director. Lockwood, a longtime Texas Folklife staff member since 2012 who has served as Executive Director since 2016, is leaving to pursue a new position as Executive Director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“We thank Charlie for his longtime leadership and service to the organization as well as communities across the state, and while we are sad to see him go, wish him well on his future endeavors,” said Texas Folklife Board Chair Jeff Jackson. “And we are excited to announce our current Deputy Director Elisha Oliver has been appointed Interim Executive Director. Elisha’s combination of experience as a nonprofit professional and training as an anthropologist and folklorist will ensure smooth transition for the organization, our programs, and the many individuals we serve.”
During his early tenure at Texas Folklife Lockwood contributed to program management, fundraising and development, and operational strategy. In 2016 he embraced the opportunity to lead Texas Folklife as Executive Director and shepherded the organization through a period of growth, a reconnection with national folk and traditional arts partner networks, and also worked with the Board of Directors, team, and stakeholders to navigate the challenges to the traditional arts ecosystem posed by the covid-19 pandemic. Lockwood also oversaw the continued success and development of a variety of flagship public programs and initiatives, including an archival preservation project to organize, digitize and ultimately disseminate the organization’s rich archival holdings dating from 1984. Over the last several years, Lockwood spearheaded programs focusing on the intersections of folk and traditional arts and health, including a military veterans folklore and storytelling initiative with support from National Endowment for the Arts Creative Forces and Hechos, No Miedo (Facts, Not Fear), a covid-19 PSA Series in partnership with a variety of central Texas public health and arts partners. In 2019 Lockwood founded the Folklife Network of Texas, a group of folk and traditional arts stakeholders from across the state that meets regularly to address traditional arts infrastructure and collaborative projects, and worked with his team to develop several online interactive mapping projects on the ArcGIS Storymaps platform.
According to Lockwood, “It has truly been my honor to have served as Executive Director of Texas Folklife and I have learned so much over the course of the 11+ years I have been with the organization, and am thankful for every opportunity Texas Folklife has given me. I am extremely proud of our team and the impact of our work with artists, tradition bearers, and communities across the state of Texas. I am eager to watch the organization as it embarks on its next phase of growth”.
“Charlie will be greatly missed; however, I am honored to have been appointed Interim Executive Director of Texas Folklife” said Elisha Oliver, PhD. “I am excited to work with the Board of Directors, staff, volunteers, and stakeholders to advance our mission and achieve our goals. Together, we will continue to make a positive impact in our Texas Folklife communities.”. Dr. Oliver enters the Interim Executive Director role with a wealth of nonprofit management and program development experience, and is currently coordinating Texas Folklife’s Creole & Zydeco Culture Convening program with support from the National Endowment for the arts.
Lockwood’s final public event at the helm of Texas Folklife will be at the 34th annual Accordion Kings & Queens concert on Saturday June 3, 2023 at Houston’s Miller Outdoor Theatre. Learn more about the program at https://texasfolklife.org/index.php/event/34th-annual-accordion-kings-queens
About Texas Folklife
Texas Folklife (TXF) is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to presenting and preserving the diverse cultures and living heritage of the Lone Star State. TXF is designated by the National Endowment for the Arts as the official folk and traditional arts organization for the state. Since 1984, TXF has honored traditions passed down within communities, explored the importance of traditional arts in contemporary society, and celebrated the state’s vibrant heritage by providing arts experiences enjoyable for all generations. For more information, visit texasfolklife.org.
Interim Executive Director Elisha Oliver, PhD
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