Member Interview with Ellen Chisa and Tom Rudnick

Both Ellen and Tom had lived in Boston before, but moved back in 2014 so Ellen could attend Harvard Business School. Since then, Tom has been at Google, working on voice search as a Software Engineer. He has time-intensive hobbies: keeping bees and letterpress printing. Ellen left HBS after her first year to help start Lola, where she currently works on product strategy and direction, and uses her free time to read books and write. Together, the couple likes to look at art and go rock climbing at BKB in Somerville (you can find them there most Tuesdays!)

From Ellen and Tom:

We joined the Museum Council very shortly after we moved back here. We’d belonged to a similar group in New York City at the Met. Our friends Brendan Ciecko and Elizabeth Dobrska highly recommended the council. It’s a great way to get to know other people, and particularly people with lots of different perspectives. Through our work we mostly meet technologists, so it’s a nice change of pace to have variety.

What aspects of the Museum Council surprised you once you joined, or were things you didn’t expect?

The nametags! So many museum events can feel unapproachable, or like there’s an “in” group. The nametags make it feel like you’re supposed to get to know the other members.

Have there been specific events that you have particularly enjoyed?

Game night, for sure. It’s great to have an excuse to run around the Museum. Although the other events are a great reason to dress up.

What is your favorite artwork in the MFA’s collection or current exhibitions?

Tom: I enjoyed seeing Goya’s drawings and working proofs during the exhibit a few years ago.

Ellen: Either the Monet from Antibes, or perhaps the Grain Stacks. I’m really excited about Galleries 252 and 253.


Tina Modotti's photograph, Worker's Hands, Mexico

Member Interview with Kathryn Green and Hervert Mendez

Kathryn and Hervert moved to Boston two and half years ago for Kat’s work. Kat works at Saks Fifth Avenue and Hervert works at State Street. They met in London while completing their graduate degrees, and moving to Boston meant they could live in the same city. The couple loves to travel. They have each lived in multiple countries, and are always looking to try something new. Travel appeals to them because each new place offers much to explore. A favorite destination is Barcelona where they love the variety of food, wine, and art, and being on the water. Recently, the couple learned to ski in Maine, and they note that they didn’t do too badly for an Australian and a Californian!

From Kathryn and Hervert:

We joined in September after attending the Summer Party and spending time with Museum Council members over the last year. We love the behind-the-scenes access, and are learning so much about areas of art that we weren’t necessarily drawn to before joining. It’s also a great way to get to know more people in Boston who have similar interests. The people are the biggest reason we keep coming back to events at the MFA.

What aspects of the Museum Council surprised you once you joined, or were things you didn’t expect?

How many fun art lovers there are in Boston! Our knowledge of Boston was pretty limited before moving, and we’ve been pleasantly surprised at the amount of arts and culture here. Kat was especially excited to see the amazing fashion and jewelry pieces in the MFA’s collection.

Have there been specific events that you have particularly enjoyed?

The Summer Party was a blast! We also a lot of fun at the recent Connoisseurs Dinner, and were blown away by the musical instruments that were played by the curator. We’d been through the room before, but it takes on a whole different meaning when you hear the instruments in action. There’s so much to explore across the Museum, and we learn something new every time.

What is your favorite artwork in the MFA’s collection or current exhibitions?

We both love Modern Art, and were blown away by “Making Modern.” Hervert really enjoyed the photographs by Tina Modotti, especially the photo of a woman washing clothing.