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SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, 2012—The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco today announced the appointment of Nancy Brennan as chief philanthropy officer, a new position for the museum.
Brennan will lead, plan and direct integrated fundraising programs to expand local, national and international support for the museum’s exhibitions, programs, general operations, future plans and endowment. She comes to the Asian with more than 20 years of museum, nonprofit and arts administration experience, ranging from start ups to renaissance situations.
“As the museum approaches its 50th anniversary in 2016, we are transforming our art experiences to more deeply connect and engage with visitors,” said Jay Xu, Asian Art Museum executive and artistic director. “Nancy Brennan’s proven experience in cultivating a broad range of philanthropic relationships makes her the ideal partner in engaging a larger community of supporters with our new vision.”
Brennan will join the Asian in late February, following seven years as the first executive director of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy in Boston, where she served as the Conservancy’s principle fundraiser, in addition to being responsible for the operations and capital improvements of 1.3 miles of parkland in the center of the city. Under Brennan’s leadership, the Greenway has become an admired signature park and a key driver in the Financial District, the waterfront and the emergence of a Greenway District.
“As the Asian Art Museum’s chief philanthropy officer, my goal is to build on the museum’s current development and membership programs to foster a robust culture of philanthropy,” Brennan said. “I look forward to working under the visionary leadership of Dr. Xu and partnering with the committed team devoted to expanding the impact and reach of the museum’s programs.”
In joining the Asian Art Museum, Brennan returns to the museum profession, a field in which her experience includes serving as executive director of Plimoth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where she directed overall management of the major living history museum.
Brennan was also executive director of the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute in Hamilton, Bermuda, spearheading the start-up of a new museum and overseeing the development of a multi-purpose cultural attraction focusing on deep-water oceanography and maritime history.
Prior to that, she served as executive director of the former Baltimore City Life Museums, directing the management of the urban history institution operatesing eight historic sites and museums.
Brennan earned a Master of Arts degree in Museum Education from George Washington University and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Ford Foundation Teaching Fellowship and served as a member of the faculty for the Indonesian Museum Professional Training Program. In 2011, Brennan received the John W. Gaston Jr. Award for Excellence in Public Service Management, American Society of Public Administration. Brennan is the daughter of the Honorable Wm. J. Brennan, Jr., U.S. Supreme Court Justice (served 1956-1990).
The Asian Art Museum is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life, while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity, and new thinking. Founded in 1966, the Asian Art Museum is a public/private partnership with an annual operating budget of $21.6 million. The museum’s home at San Francisco’s Civic Center is an architectural gem featuring a dynamic blend of beaux arts and modern design elements. The building is the result of a dramatic $170 million transformation of San Francisco’s former main public library in 2003 by noted Italian architect Gae Aulenti.