Director, Smithsonian Folklife Festival
In 2013, Sabrina Lynn Motley joined the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage as director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Formerly, she was senior director of programs and exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center, overseeing public programs and exhibitions illuminating Houston’s expanding connections with Asia. In previous posts, she was vice president of Vesper Society, a faith-based social justice foundation located in San Francisco, and program and education director at the Japanese American National Museum (a Smithsonian affiliate). At JANM, she oversaw theprogrammatic launch of its $20 million civic engagement project, the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy.
In addition to teaching cultural anthropology at Art Center College of Design and Otis Institute for Art and Design, Sabrina has curated public programs for the Getty Museum and community-based exhibitions for the California Endowment, among others. In addition to being an avid photographer, for five years, she was a host of the popular world music program “The Global Village” on KPFK in Los Angeles. She earned a BA in world arts and cultures and an MA in African studies, both from UCLA. Currently, Sabrina is a doctoral candidate in anthropology, conducting research on the interplay between religious faith, doubt, and social activism.