516 ARTS announces transition of Founder & Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge

After a successful and transformative tenure over the past 17 years, 516 ARTS announces the departure of Suzanne Sbarge, its visionary Executive Director and founder. Sbarge’s accomplishments are innumerable, and the organization extends its deepest gratitude for her leadership and commitment to advancing the arts in Albuquerque, the region, and nationwide.

Sbarge founded 516 ARTS in partnership with McCune Charitable Foundation in 2006, and has built and
maintained a successful, sustainable, nationally-recognized organization. During that time, she worked with a variety of board members, artists, professional staff, governmental leaders, and funders. The staff has grown from two and a budget of $140,000 to the current staff of six and a budget of $650,000. 516 ARTS’ programming and related materials continue to be recognized as exemplary, attracting major national funding and garnering national and local press coverage.

516 ARTS has distinguished itself as a leading independent space that is highly collaborative. Some key accomplishments include that illustrate the level of the museum’s work are: receiving a $500,000, 5-year grant from Ford Foundation (2023); the McCune Foundation's donation of 516 ARTS’ current building (2021); and its Fulcrum Fund grant program (created at the invitation of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts) which has awarded $745,000 to independent New Mexican artists, including a major Covid-relief effort for artists state-wide. 

As Sbarge moves into her next chapter as an artist and consultant, 516 ARTS celebrates Deputy Director April Chalay who will step in as Interim Director, effective October 16, 2023. Chalay brings a wealth of experience in the arts sector. In addition to 516 ARTS, she has served in leadership roles at Española Valley Fiber Arts Center and the Center for Contemporary Arts of Santa Fe.

The Board of Directors is actively engaged in the search for a permanent Executive Director, and invites supporters, partners, and the community to join us in celebrating Suzanne and welcoming April into this new role.