Wonderful Women Wednesday: Sabrina Lynn Motley

Each week, the Archives features a woman who has been a groundbreaker at the Smithsonian, past or present, in a series titled Wonderful Women Wednesday.

Sabrina Lynn Motley has been the director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, a program of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, since 2013. In this role, she researches and plans for future festivals, often years in advance. To prepare, she manages a team of curators who work with host countries or states to establish themes for the programs and collaborate closely with artists.

Prior to her career with the Smithsonian, Motley was the senior director of programs and exhibitions at the Asia Society Texas Center, vice president of the Vesper Society, and program and education director at the Japanese American National Museum.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in world arts and cultures and her master’s degree in African studies from UCLA. Motley is currently a doctoral candidate in anthropology, conducting research on the interplay between religious faith, doubt, and social activism. 

Close up photograph of Motley.

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