Houston Center for Photography (HCP) announced today that Ashlyn Davis is leaving her post as Executive Director of the organization to pursue the launch of a new project space, which will be announced early next year. Davis will stay on through the end of September, with Linda Shearer assuming the role of Interim Director through a search-committee process to find a new director. Davis will complete curated exhibitions through Spring 2021, including the upcoming solo exhibition of work by Pacifico Silano.
“During her tenure with HCP, Ashlyn has made tremendous contributions to the health, programming diversity, and artistic vitality of HCP,” notes Patricia Eifel, President of HCP’s Board of Directors. “Most recently, she has successfully navigated the COVID crisis, not only maintaining the financial stability of the organization but embracing an opportunity to enlarge the reach and vision of HCP through a vastly expanded online presence.”
Davis was hired in June of 2016, after serving as the organization’s Director of Development for a year, filling a vacancy left by Sarah Sudhoff, who served for nearly a year in the position. Linda Shearer was appointed at Sudhoff’s departure, and will again assume the role of Interim Director at Davis’ departure. Shearer has more than 40 years of experience in art museums and arts organizations, including an interim directorship at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston (CAMH).
Davis’s full letter of retirement, which she emailed to Glasstire, is as follows:
To our beloved HCP community,
It is bittersweet to share with you today that I have decided to resign from my position as Executive Director & Curator of Houston Center for Photography in order to focus on the launch of a new project space, which will be announced in early 2021. Since I began in 2015, the organization has grown in many exciting ways. We have rebranded, diversified and expanded our exhibitions program for emerging, midcareer, and student artists, received first-time, national recognition and funding for our exhibitions, created a new lecture and conversation series, fully renovated our Digital Lab, broken all prior fundraising records with our auction, and transitioned our programs online in a matter of weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and so much more. I am so deeply proud of this organization and believe in its continued growth well into the future.
Many plans have been put into place, and I have no doubt that our programs will continue strongly—both online and in person. I would like to thank every member of our incredible HCP team, Theresa Marshall, Director of Operations, Shannon Crider, Director of Education, Natalie Rodgers, Community Education Manager, Zitlaly Valenzuela Jimenez, our Development Coordinator, Asad Badat, our Marketing & Sales Coordinator, and Samuel Rhodes, our Exhibitions Assistant, for all they have done and continue to do to advance the mission of HCP in innovative, thoughtful ways. It is because of this great team that our programs have remained strong and nimble during this worldwide pandemic. I would also like to thank the Board of Directors and in particular past and current presidents including Tom Flaherty, Stuart Nelson, Carol Liffman, and Patricia Eifel for their trust and commitment to our mission and our future.
Finally, I would like to thank all of you—our inspiring community of artists, students, educators, writers, curators, and public—who have supported HCP during my tenure. While the world remains uncertain, it is for you and because of you that our 40-year-old organization continues to thrive, adapt, and chart new territory for lens-based media.
I will continue in my role through the end of September, and I am very pleased to announce that Linda Shearer will take over as Interim Director while a search committee conducts a thorough search for the next leader of HCP. I will also continue to curate exhibitions through spring 2021, including the upcoming solo exhibition of Pacifico Silano.
Transitions are never easy, but they enable transformation and growth in new ways, and I am excited to see HCP continue to thrive well into the future. HCP will always hold a place in my heart and I will think back on my time here fondly. I look forward to continuing to see many of you at upcoming programs in the future.
With much gratitude,
Executive Director & Curator