New Member Highlight: Esmeralda Swartz

Museum Council

New member Esmeralda Swartz discusses her journey from Northeastern student to Museum Council member.

Why did you decide to join the Council?

I started visiting the MFA regularly as a student at Northeastern University. It was such a treat to walk across the street and experience this amazing institution. Over the years, I continued to enjoy the exhibitions that came through the Museum. After the sale of my tech company a few years ago, I was finally settled in Boston and not on a plane every other week. I wanted to become more involved and interact with other art lovers in the Boston area. Also, the curator-led talks and dinners around specific exhibitions are wonderful.

Which event are you most looking forward to this season?

I am looking forward to the Museum Council trip to New York City in April. Some highlights include a tour of the AIPAD photography show, arguably the world's most prestigious annual photography event; a visit to the studio of Rashid Johnson, who is among a group of influential contemporary American artists; a tour of "New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century," a new exhibition at MOMA; and a visit to The Shed, New York's newest cultural hub, with a curatorial tour of commissioned work by artist Trisha Donnelly.

If you could design a new Council event, what would it look like?

I would say a weekend-long MFA Live Arts event that included thought-provoking performances amid MFA collections and exhibitions. There are so many wonderful performance arts schools and cultural institutions in Boston and the MFA neighborhood. The Museum theater and gallery spaces provide an ideal setting for conversations and performances ranging from music to theater.

What is your favorite exhibition that you have seen at the MFA?

It would have to be "Mark Rothko: Reflection," which spotlighted 11 Mark Rothko paintings spanning his entire career. He is one of my favorite artists, and it was a treat to see so many of his iconic works at the MFA. I thought the exhibition was beautifully curated because it showcased the development of the artist and his vision to immerse viewers in his paintings, so that painting and viewer become one. I don't remember how much time I spent in front of each painting, but a feeling of serenity and stillness came over me. The more I looked, the more I found there was to see. Sitting in front of Rothko's No. 1 (1961), I was happy to leave the world behind and just be.