Playing Favorites: Ashley Stoneburner and John Littleton & Kate Vogel

We’ve asked FWMoA staff the hardest question you can ask art museum people: so, what is your favorite artwork currently on display? As “art museum people”, we often get asked about our favorite artists, artworks, and the art we choose to hang on our own walls. Since not all of our staff are front-end, and not all of them write for the blog, this series gives everyone a chance to get to know them, too. Taking advantage of our rotating exhibitions of artworks, from painted portraits to sculpted bronzes, FWMoA staff from all departments are choosing artworks that enthrall and enchant them; or, in other words, playing favorites.

Vice President and Chief Development Officer Ashley Stoneburner, CFRE. Photo courtesy of FWMoA.

Ashley Stoneburner, Vice President and Chief Development Officer, has made the FWMoA her place of work for almost six years. In her role, she spends a lot of time talking about our collection to prospective and current donors and members. Her current favorite? Bagged Bags by John Littleton and Kate Vogel, on display as part of our rotating permanent collection Contemporary Studio Glass exhibition.

John Littleton and Kate Vogel, American, b. 1957; American, b. 1956. Bagged Bags. Blown glass, 1986. Museum Purchase, 2014.309. Image courtesy of FWMoA.

Q: What is the first thing you noticed about this artwork? What drew you to this particular piece?

A: The first thing I noticed about this piece is how it made me smile: the bright colors, realistic folds, and playful texture make it accessible and inviting. As I stand in awe of the artists’ creation, I feel as if any moment the piece could come to life. I appreciate the youthful way the glass is shaped for anyone and everyone to enjoy. 

Q: Would you hang this artwork in your home? Why or why not?

A: Absolutely! Luckily, since I work at the FWMoA, I can view it daily and the rest of the community can, too.

Q: What does this artwork mean to you?

A: My education and previous work experience is not in art museums, instead, my dual major in Business Management and Dance has poised me to be in front of groups, lead strategic donor meetings, and hit development goals. I do not have an art history background, and sometimes I feel that might put me at a disadvantage working at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. 

Fortunately, this weakness becomes a strength because I can enjoy art from a layman’s perspective, giving me common ground with many of our patrons. The piece is beautiful by design, magnificently created; and yet, it does not take a Master’s in Fine Art or Art History to appreciate it. Anyone, no matter their level of knowledge, can enjoy it! I have a great amount of respect for the artists’ abilities to create such an incredible piece. The texture of the glass, including the folds and ripples, are breathtaking!

As the Chief Development Officer, I hear firsthand about Charles’ conversations with artists and collectors and how he approaches them about gifting us their works! It is such an exciting time for FWMoA; our glass collection is growing rapidly, and I have the privilege to share the good news with donors and friends of the museum. I look forward to the next few years as we continue to develop our growing glass collection and share it with the community. 

So, ultimately this piece means a bright future for FWMoA. For me, it represents the bigger picture of the museum and how we are on the path to assembling one of the best glass collections in the country. I am charged with advocating and fundraising, inviting donors to step up to help give everyone an inspirational experience with art. This glass sculpture both allows and reminds me to share my passion for our mission and celebrate our future with our long-time supporting donors as we venture into the next 100 years!

Come see more of our growing glass collection at FWMoA as we continually rotate both newly acquired pieces and old friends.

2 Replies to “Playing Favorites: Ashley Stoneburner and John Littleton & Kate Vogel”

    1. So glad you’re enjoying them! We have more lined up in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out on Facebook.

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