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Ashley Smith, Silicon Valley Program Director

Ashley started as a volunteer for Girls For A Change within the first few years of the organizations inception.  She joined the GFC staff as a part-time employee in 2005 and began working full time as the Operations and Program Assistant in May of 2006 and is now working as the Silicon Valley Program Director. Ashley infuses a strong sense of social justice and creativity to her work at GFC because of her background as an artist and activist. Ashley moved from Pennsylvania to California in 1999. She graduated from the California College of the Arts and Crafts in 2004 with an B.F.A. in Sculpture. Previously working with collaborative partner, she has worked on many pieces and projects around taking action for social change. The worked ranged from gallery installation to performance art.

One of the projects called “Soup Cart” was performed on the biggest shopping day of the year, the day after Thanksgiving, known as “Black Friday." The atmosphere includes long lines to enter stores and heavy traffic. With a steel, three -wheeled, hand-constructed soup cart Ashley and her collaborative art partner served lunch to anyone that wanted to eat - from the homeless to big holiday spenders in fur coats. They served a hearty home-made Persian soup in hand made ceramic bowls that were given away with the soup.  With a goal to give on a day many people were spending.  To bring happiness through generosity that wasn’t bought over the counter.  In turn, the artists, were gifted by the people they encountered with smiles, tears of joy, love, human connection, stories and immeasurable thanks.

Her experience with GFC has infused her artwork with a rich message of social commentary and matters of the human condition.  Now working as a solo artist, Ashley draws her inspiration from her experience working with the young women of GFC, travels to other countries, and finding the extraordinary within the “ordinary”.


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