Media only: Ellie Reynolds, 202.633.0521; Elizabeth Bridgforth, 202.633.0521
Public only: 202.633.1000

August 17, 2007
Karen Sasaki has been named head of Design, Publications, and Web and Digital Media at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. In addition to its world renowned Asian art collection, the Freer houses an important collection of 19th- and early 20th-century American art, including the world’s largest number of works by James McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). The adjoining Sackler gallery also holds a distinguished collection of works from the Asia Diaspora, and serves as exhibit space for international loan exhibitions and contemporary works of art.

“Karen’s talent and dedication have greatly contributed to our growing reputation as a place where visitors can expect superb content conveyed through the medium of thoughtful and elegant design,” says Freer and Sackler director Dr. Julian Raby.

In her new position, Sasaki will be in charge of the overall exhibit planning and design, working with the director and administration staff. She will also be in charge of supervising a staff of nineteen designers, cabinetmakers, preparators and production managers.

Since joining the museum in 1992, Sasaki has served as a visual information specialist and exhibit design and production manager for over fifty exhibits and permanent collection gallery installations at both the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler gallery. Sasaki also was responsible for working with museum departments to help coordinate and develop thematic ideas into the overall production design and architectural layout of exhibits.

Her talent has been demonstrated in many notable Freer and Sackler exhibitions such as Fountains of Light, Iraq and China, Xu Bing’s Word Play, Faith and Form, Asian Games, Hokusai and more recently in Encompassing the Globe: Portugal and the World in the 16th and 17th Centuries.

Prior to coming to the Smithsonian, Sasaki worked for George Sexton and Associates as a project designer and design assistant on renovations at both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Denver Art Museum. Sasaki also holds a bachelor’s degree in Architecture with a minor in Art History from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

The Freer Gallery of Art, located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W., and the adjacent Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, located at 1050 Independence Ave. S.W., are on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Freer houses a major collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century American art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day, except Dec. 25, and admission is free. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call (202) 633-1000 or TTY (202) 357-1729, or visit the exhibitions section of the galleries’ website:

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