Will Work for Art: Ashley Stropes Brown

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we take into the glamorous world of the Museums' development department with Ashley Stropes Brown, the manager of membership and development events. Originally from Laguna Niguel, California, Ashley has been with the Museums for a little over five years.

What do you do here at the Museums?

I work in the development department responsible for managing the membership and development events program. This includes all of our opening events for exhibitions and several fundraisers throughout the year that support the Museums, along with other donor benefits such as the Annual Luncheon and the Bouquets to Art Members Evening. It’s a high-intensity job, but also quite rewarding when people attend an event and get to experience the museums and the art in a different way.

How did you become involved with the Museums?

I interned in the development department while I was in college. After I graduated and got some work experience under my belt, I came back and applied for a job.

What is your favorite artwork or gallery in the Museums and why?

I love the Girl and Calf by George Fuller. The painting is in one of my favorite galleries at the de Young and it always makes me smile–she looks so strong and deep in thought.

Girl and Calf by George Fuller

George Fuller (American, 1822–1884). Girl and Calf (Led Through Meadows), 1883. Oil on canvas. Gift of Henry K.S. Williams. 1942.20

What do you do when you’re not at work?

I love to explore San Francisco, try new restaurants and travel abroad. I like to combine my love of trying new foods with my love of travel, incorporating the two it into my overall experience. When I was in Spain recently my husband and I trekked all the way to San Sebastian, so we could try an amazing restaurant called Mugaritz.

Ashley in Madrid

Ashley in Madrid

What are you working on right now?

We are gearing up for our Winter and Spring event season. The first event coming up is the Elegant Evening Holiday Dinner at the Legion of Honor, openings for The Cult of Beauty in February, and prepping for all the exciting things we’ll be doing for the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition in late March.

Do you remember the first time you visited the Museums?

I remember visiting the new de Young in one of my first Art History courses at the University of San Francisco–and thinking to myself that I would like to work in that museum one day.