The Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA) is an affiliate non-profit organization of the University of Arizona, housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. The Jim Griffith Chair in Public Folklore at the Southwest Center and UA School of Anthropology serves as lead curator for SFA programs and activities.
We are the Arizona Commission for the Arts‘ designated State Partner for Folk Arts for the National Endowment for the Arts. We also work in partnership with traditional and folklife communities throughout the state.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Bryan Falcón (Chair)
Artistic & Managing Director, Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre
Elizabeth Stahmer (Vice-Chair)
UA / Social & Behavioral Sciences Research Institute
Lynn Hourani (Secretary)
Islamic Center of Tucson
Maribel Alvarez (Treasurer)
Director, Tucson Meet Yourself; Interim Associate Vice Provost, University of Arizona Office of Diversity and Inclusion
Jim Griffith Chair of Public Folklore
Pima County Coordinator of Economic Development and International Projects
Dr. Robert Breunig
Retired Museum Curator and Professor
Assistant Professor UA School of Information; Knowledge River Program Manager
Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President, Chicanos por la Causa
President of the Latinos@ Amazon Affinity Group
Dr. Praise Zenenga
UA / Africana Studies
STAFF & REGIONAL LEADERSHIP
Leia Maahs, Executive Director: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leia is a cultural worker and administrator with over 18 years of expertise in the non-profit arts and cultural sector. Leia served as SFA’s Programs Manager then as Managing Director. She comes to SFA committed to social equity and respect for the diverse cultural communities within the region. Through partnerships and a dedication to the role of folklore in public life she has contributed to the growth of SFA and now joins leadership with the SFA Board of Directors. Maahs holds a BA from Prescott College in Liberal Arts with a focus on public policy and an EMBA from the UA Eller College of Business.
Kimi Eisele, Folklorist/Communications Specialist: email@example.com
Kimi is a writer, editor, folklorist, and multidisciplinary artist. She manages SFA’s communications, curates programs and exhibits, and writes for and edits BorderLore, an online monthly on culture and heritage of the borderlands. Her writing and arts-based work aims to illuminate kinship between people, cultures, plants, animals, and places. She is the author of THE LIGHTEST OBJECT IN THE UNIVERSE (Algonquin Books, 2019), and her essays have appeared in Guernica, Longreads, Literary Hub, Orion, Terrain.org, and elsewhere. She is a cohort member of Julie’s Bicycle’s Cultural Climate Leadership program.
Nelda Ruiz, Programs Manager in Cultural Organizing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nelda is a community organizer, cultural worker, and folklorist from the Sonoran borderlands. She manages SFA’s participatory action research (PAR) projects and community-based documentation projects. Nelda is a 2019 National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures (NALAC) Leadership Institute Fellow (NLI), a 2019 Adelita Del Año awardee presented by Las Adelitas AZ, and a 2017 Mujer En La Lucha awardee presented by the Arizona Cesar E. Chavez Holiday Coalition. Her first essay “Seeds Planted by Nana Tota” will be published in Nourishing Resistance: Stories of Food, Protest, and Mutual Aid by PM Press in Spring 2023.
Casely Coan, Lead Research Associate, ACLS Leading Edge Fellow: email@example.com
Casely Coan is a writer, researcher, and performer living in Tucson, AZ. She received a PhD in Rhetoric & Composition and Gender Studies from the University of Arizona in 2019. Casely’s writing and research focuses on the rhetorical possibility embedded within art and stories that celebrate typically marginalized communities. Casely is using ethnographic research to examine folkore trends in Arizona to ensure SFA’s work is meaningful and guided by our directly impacted individual and community partners. In her free time, Casely enjoys taking her dogs on walk, creating new costume pieces, and cross-stitching or embroidering anything she can get her hands on.
Elizabeth Eklund, Interim Administrative Associate: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Eklund is an environmental anthropologist focused on the intersection of nature and culture. Her work includes preservation of natural and cultural resources at the landscape level and the experience of global changes, including climate change, at the local level. While a scholar by trade, she learned the art of running a small business (essential skills ranging from bookkeeping and client relations to maintenance and troubleshooting), from her parents and grandparents.
Tim Escobedo, Director of Operations, Tucson Meet Yourself: email@example.com
Selina Morales, Lead Folklorist Folklife/PAR: firstname.lastname@example.org
Selina Morales, is a Philadelphia-based public folklorist whose work focuses on urban folklife and the role of community aesthetics and heritage in social justice action. Selina worked at Philadelphia Folklore Project, one of the country’s premiere folklife organizations, for nearly a decade and served as its director from 2013-2019. Selina holds an M.A. in Folklore from Indiana University Bloomington, where she also completed PhD coursework and exams, and B.A. in Anthropology from Oberlin College.
Guillermo Nuñez, Director, Northern Mexico Folklife Alliance: email@example.com
Guillermo Núñez Noriega holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona. He is a full professor and researcher at the Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo in Hermosillo, Sonora and the author of seven books on gender and sexual culture in Mexico. His most recent book, Fariseos, a study of the ritual performance of Easter ceremonies as interpreted and carried out by non-indigenous men in the small town of San Pedro de la Cueva, Sonora.