Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee/Seminole), Chair
Kenneth Johnson is a contemporary Muscogee/Seminole jeweler and bronze sculptor living in Santa Fe. He transforms copper, silver, gold, platinum, and palladium into wearable art in his downtown Santa Fe studio. Johnson’s work was recently worn at the Grammys in October by Reservoir Dog’s director Sterlin Harjo who rocked a signature silver Woodpecker gorget necklace while presenting awards. He has created custom jewelry for notables such as U.S. Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonja Sotomayor, Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, and British House of Lords Baroness Emma Nicholson. His professional service includes teaching jewelry workshops for the Creek Council House Museum, SWAIA board of directors Co-chair; and Council of Artists chair where he represented the interests of over 1000 artists to that board.
Laurence A. G. Moss, Vice Chair
Laurence was raised in western Canada and has lived and worked in North America, Pacific Asia, and Central Europe. Santa Fe has been his North American base for four decades. He is a steward of indigenous art, especially Pacific Asian and North American, and has worked with a number of art and cultural institutions globally.
After a B.A. degree in Asian studies and political economy at the University of British Columbia, he undertook graduate studies in Asian art and environmental design, cultural anthropology, ecological economics, and urban and regional planning at the University of California, Berkeley (MCP, MA, Ph.D.), and Keio University and the Advanced Center for Japanese Studies, Tokyo. In his praxis and teaching, he focuses on equity and cultural and environmental sustainability in mountain regions.
Vanessa Elmore (American-Colombian), Secretary
Vanessa is a professional art appraiser, advisor, and collections manager specializing in the Art of the Americas, and holds a Master of Arts degree in Art History from the University of New Mexico. Based in Santa Fe, she has been in the art industry for over twenty years and has handled countless artworks spanning ancient history to now. Prior to starting her appraisal business, Vanessa held long-term positions at Morning Star Gallery (Nedra Matteucci Galleries) and Blue Rain Gallery. Most importantly, Vanessa had a long friendship and professional relationship with the founder, Ted Coe and his family, and because of that, she is very familiar with the Coe Center’s art collection and takes this stewardship with the utmost respect and honor.
Rachel de W. Wixom
President (exofficio), Executive Director
Rachel de W. Wixom has worked in the art industry for over thirty years. In 1989, she began at the international art publisher teNeues Publishing Company in their New York City office. She was responsible for licensing and overseeing the editorial and production division at the New York office. Wixom worked closely with museums, artists, and artist estates worldwide, such as The Andy Warhol Foundation, Keith Haring Estate, Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, and more.
In 2002, Wixom became Managing Editor at the Whitney Museum of American Art and was promoted in 2003 to Head of Publications. At the Whitney, she worked closely with curators, museums, artists, artists, organizations worldwide, and the Whitney education and marketing departments. She oversaw licensing and was responsible for aspects of the Whitney website as well as the museum’s publications, exhibition graphics, and exhibition catalogs—such as the Whitney Biennial catalogs, Picasso and American Art, Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstraction, Alexander Calder: The Paris Years 1926-1933, and many more.
Ralph T. Coe [Ted] created the private non-operating 501(c)3 organization in 2007. Knowing he was near the end of his life journey, he asked his niece, Wixom, if she might use her experience to transition the 501(c)3 into an operating organization once he was gone. Coe passed in September 2010. In 2012, Wixom left the Whitney to move to Santa Fe to do just that. The Coe Center was born in her uncle’s home, with its first public program held at 1590 B Pacheco Street in 2014.
Randy J. Brokeshoulder, Director
Randy J. Brokeshoulder is of Hopi, Navajo, and Absentee Shawnee heritage. He is a third-generation katsina carver and the great-grandson to Guy Maktima of Hotevilla—Third Mesa, Arizona. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as a finance banker and artist.
Jessa Rae Growing Thunder (Dakota/Nakoda), Ph.D., Director
Haŋ mitakuyapi. Suŋgina Duzaham Wiŋyan emakiapi. Mnisda Wakiyaŋ Iŋga tiwahe etaŋhaŋ ouhepi. Damakoda nakun Nakoda, de Tatanka Oyate. Cante waste yuha, ciyuzihapi. (Greetings our relatives. My name is Jessa Rae Growing Thunder. The Growing Thunder family comes from Bald Water Place. I am Dakota and Nakoda, from the Buffalo Nation. I shake all of your hands with a good heart.) I come from a family who has raised me to uphold our Oceti Sakowin values; to have compassion for others, to know and honor family, and to be humble yet brave. Who I am is justified by the deep roots of my family; I am a product of my grandmothers. My unci (Dakota for “maternal grandmother”), Joyce, was born and raised on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana. Her grandmother, Josephine, taught her the importance of being a woman through ceremonies, cooking, beadwork, and quillwork; and in turn, my unci taught these knowledges to my ina (Dakota for “mother”), and eventually myself. The foundation of who I am as a young Dakota/Nakoda woman, is my identity as a third-generation traditional beadworker and quillworker. My life’s work strives to guarantee the perseverance and survival of these traditional knowledges and the wealth of opportunity they provide. Over the years I have focused my time and energy on fulfilling positions that have the potential to provide positive experiences for our communities. In 2012-2013 I had the honor of serving as Miss Indian World, in which I traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada focusing my efforts on the promotion of cultural preservation programs. In the summer of 2014, I held the privilege of being a liaison for the U.S. State Department. I traveled across the country of Ecuador, with three associates, creating dialogues with Quechua peoples regarding ancestral technologies and preservation. In June 2017, I was honored to be a guest instructor at the Oscar Howe.
William “Will” Wilson (Diné/Irish, Welsh), Director
Will Wilson is a Diné photographer who spent his formative years living in the Navajo Nation. Wilson studied photography at the University of New Mexico and Oberlin College. Wilson has held visiting professorships at the Institute of American Indian Arts, Oberlin College, and the University of Arizona. Wilson managed the National Vision Project, a Ford Foundation-funded initiative at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, and helped to coordinate the New Mexico Arts Temporary Installations Made for the Environment (TIME) program on the Navajo Nation. Wilson is part of the Science and Arts Research Collaborative and has had numerous exhibitions and artist residencies.
Kenneth Bateman, Honorary Board and Founding Director
John A. Berkenfield, Honorary Board Director
Teri Greeves, Honorary Board Director
Santa Fe Mayor Alan M. Webber, Honorary Board Director
Directors, in memoriam
Ralph T. Coe, Founder
All my life I’ve relied on this measured process of aesthetic absorption, whether the work is a Renaissance plaquette or a Native American wearing blanket. It involves returning over and again to the individual work of art. I revisit and bear constantly in mind the objects of my own collection, however large or small, to gain new insights. They are not trophies but instruments of passion, with the power to unexpectedly reveal mysteries. —Ralph T. Coe, 2003
Eugene V. Thaw, Founding Director
Eugene V. Thaw, a major American collector of European old master art and one of the world’s most respected dealers in the field, passed away in January 2018. Mr. Thaw and his wife Clare E. Thaw shared the love of art. Mr. Thaw also earned distinction as the co-author of a monumental catalog raisonné of Jackson Pollock’s work.