Will Work for Art: Rose Burke

"Will Work for Art" takes you behind the scenes to meet the people who make the Fine Arts Museums work. This week we step into the storeroom to meet Rose Burke, a buyer for the Museum Stores. Originally from right here in San Francisco, Burke has been with the Museums for six years.

What do you do here at the Museums?

I buy all the merchandise in the stores except for books and media. I travel to trade shows to source unique and exclusive merchandise. I work with a number of very talented artisans to bring in quality goods. I am also in charge of planning store special events like our recent Fair Trade Bazaar and our upcoming Holiday Artisan Fair.

How did you become involved with the Museums?

I got a job at the SFMOMA museum store right after receiving my Bachelor’s degree in Art History. I was there for 6 years along with Stuart Hata (the Fine Arts Museums' current director of retail operations). I then left to buy for corporate retailers Williams-Sonoma, Inc. and Macy's West for several years. When Stuart came on board here, he gave me a call. It was perfect timing as I was ready to leave the corporate world behind and go back to museums.

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

It’s tough to pick just one. One of my favorite paintings at the Legion is Seurat’s Eiffel Tower. Seurat’s use of color, light, and space is just extraordinary. What’s even more incredible is the size of the painting. It’s so tiny!

Georges Seurat (French, 1859–1891). Eiffel Tower, ca. 1889. Oil on panel. 9 1/2 x 6  (24.1 x 15.2 cm). Museum purchase, William H. Noble Bequest Fund. 1979.48

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

I am first and foremost a mother. I have two young sons (ages 8 and 5). I do the school run, take them to soccer games, tae kwon do classes, and a multitude of other kid-related stuff. My husband and I often joke that working full-time jobs are what we do for fun.

What are you working on right now?

For work, I’m finishing the store assortments for the upcoming exhibitions The Cult of Beauty and Gaultier and getting ready to open our Pissarro and Masters of Venice stores. At home, the kids are finally settled back into the school routine and are now looking forward to Halloween.

Do you remember the first time you visited the Museums?

As a San Francisco native, I grew up going on field trips to the old de Young. As a child, the piece that fascinated me the most was the mummy. Where is the mummy now?