Running a museum takes a whole team of professionals whose different skills help make the Rubin Museum of Art one of the premiere places to visit. To get to know us a little more, and to explore different careers in the arts, each month we will be asking a Museum staffer/intern to answer six questions about their position at the Museum, their favorite artworks or exhibitions on display in the museum and other personal attributes. For the sixth installment of we’re going to be introduced to Florencia Varela, Assistant Manager of Membership!
RMA: What is your title and what do YOU do here at the Museum?
My title is Assistant Manager of Membership and I oversee the membership program at the Museum—this includes the recruitment of new members who wish to support our efforts as well as keeping current members engaged with all of our activities. (Become a Member!)
RMA: Where are you originally from and how did you end up at the Rubin?
I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and spent most of my childhood moving back and forth between Argentina and the United States. I finally moved to New York in 2001 and lived in several areas—upstate New York, Harlem, and currently Brooklyn with my dog named Sue.
My journey to the Rubin began when I moved to New York City a few years ago to complete my graduate studies in Creative Writing. I slowly got my feet wet in the NYC arts scene, working for performance artists, teaching creative writing, and later working in fundraising for the literary non-profit organization, Poetry Society of America. Then two and half years ago, I found an opportunity to work in fundraising at the Rubin Museum, and I was hooked.
RMA: What is your favorite thing about your job?
It’s an incredible experience to work in a Museum where SO much happens every single day. One day a stunning art exhibition opens, and the next day there may be a huge Family Day with children all through the galleries, or an adult-sleep over among the works of art. It’s a vibrant environment driven by a very creative and dedicated staff.
RMA: What is your favorite piece of art or exhibition in the museum and why?
My favorite is the Durga Killing the Buffalo Demon sculpture from our permanent collection. Not too long ago we had a special members-only Scavenger Hunt in the galleries, and this picture came out of the event:
Nothing beats happy members!
RMA: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow the same career path?
Think creatively! Even when it comes to the day-to-day tasks of your job or your career path as a whole—there is no actual strict path to follow and taking risks will go a long way. Also, meet as many people as you can—making connections and bringing people from your past life into your current can be very helpful.
RMA: Do you have a secret talent or a hobby that you enjoy?
Not too much of a secret—I am a writer, and whenever there is a free handful of hours, I will find myself either writing or editing my manuscript.
RMA: If you could travel anywhere in the Himalayas where would you go and why?
India, hands down. I have a certain love for elephants, and I cannot think of a better place to encounter one.