Ben Hartley appointed executive director of Silkroad

Ben Hartley

Ben Hartley to join Silkroad on May 15. Photo by Shannon Nallan

3 min read

Silkroad announced today the appointment of Ben Hartley to the position of executive director, beginning on May 15.

Hartley succeeds Kathy Fletcher, who left the position in December 2022 to lead the Wellfleet Preservation Hall in Massachusetts and has remained involved with Silkroad’s fundraising and artistic initiatives as senior adviser.

Hartley was most recently executive director of the National Arts Club in New York City, a nonprofit and members club with a mission to foster and promote public interest in the fine arts. Previously, Hartley held leadership positions with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He also served as president of Louise Blouin Media, vice president of Ruder Finn Arts & Communications Counselors, and as a consultant for international brands such as BMW, Cartier, and PepsiCo.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ben Hartley to Silkroad,” stated Board of Directors Chair Lori Samuels. “He is a visionary leader with a passion for the arts and a track record of excellence in nonprofit management. With decades of experience working in the arts sector, Ben has a deep understanding of the power of the arts to create empathy, foster understanding, and inspire change. He has a unique talent for building and nurturing relationships and partnerships across diverse communities, and his innovative thinking and creativity will be invaluable to us.”

As Silkroad’s executive director, Hartley will lead the global-reaching arts organization into its third decade as it undertakes new and ambitious artistic projects envisioned by Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens. Top amongst them is the first national tour of American Railroad, slated for debut in November 2023. He also will collaborate with Silkroad’s world-renowned artists and dedicated staff to strengthen and expand its educational and social impact programs, which include Silkroad Connect, the annual Global Musician Workshop, and university residencies.

“I’m so happy to welcome Ben Hartley to the Silkroad family!” said Giddens. “A longtime supporter of the ensemble, he embodies the ethos of everything we represent. From his ability to build artistic aligned relationships to his experience in strategic planning, I look forward to seeing what new paths can be forged for Silkroad with Ben at the helm.”

Of his appointment, Hartley shared, “Silkroad has a remarkable history and an exciting future. When musicians bring together divergent sounds and traditions for a harmonious and uplifting journey of joy, conversations, and understanding, the world is a better place. I look forward to building on the incredible legacy established by Yo-Yo Ma and the Silkroad artists as we take a new road into the future.”

To learn more, visit and @silkroadproject on social media.