Senior Staff at MAG

Siri Baker | Nile Blunt | Rachael Brown | Sheryl Burgstrom | Joe Carney | Debra Foster
Patti Giordano | Jessica Marten | Margot Muto

The Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) is fortunate to have a talented staff, dedicated Board of Managers, Gallery Council, over 1,100 volunteers, and over 4,000 members. As Trustee of MAG, the University of Rochester recognizes MAG as a valued asset for both the Rochester and UR communities. At MAG we stand for: Art and Culture; Learning and Joy; Accessibility and Inspiration; Stewardship and Integrity; and Community and Sociability. Meet our Senior Staff.

Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director, Jonathan P. Binstock

Jonathan Binstock is the Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Gallery

Jonathan P. Binstock became the seventh director of the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (UR) in September 2014. Since then he has led an expansion of the museum’s permanent collection, special exhibition program, public engagement and outreach efforts, University engagement, and its annual operating budget. During his tenure, new scholarship and university press-published catalogs have accompanied MAG-originated exhibitions such as The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained Glass Art and Monet’s Waterloo Bridge: Vision and Process, both having traveled to museums nationally. Upcoming projects include an exhibition featuring UR’s AIDS education poster collection, perhaps the largest of its kind in the world. Grants from a variety of government and private foundations have supported this and other work, including three grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences, three from the National Endowment for the Arts, grants from the Ford Foundation and the VIA Art Fund to support a new commission by British media artist Isaac Julien, and a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support the mid-career survey of Judith Schaechter.

Binstock is successfully leading an effort to make the museum more accessible and to engage new audiences, including millennials and underserved populations. MAG’s popular MAGsocial and MAGconnect programming, for example, are introducing the museum to new generations and demographics of visitors, and helping to diversify its audience with free family memberships for those who take advantage of the MAGconnect program. Before Covid-19, MAG’s Expanding Learning Collaboration with Rochester City School District brought about 475 students to MAG on weekly visits over a 10-week period, helping to improve educational and behavioral outcomes for participating elementary students and to positively affect the culture of their schools. In addition, prior to Covid he had grown engagement among the University of Rochester’s undergraduate population by 25%.

Director of Advancement, Siri Baker

Siri Baker

Siri Baker came to MAG in 2017. She began her career at the University of Rochester raising major gifts for the School of Nursing and the Eastman Institute for Oral Health. Previously, Siri worked in advancement at the Columbia Journalism School and Macalester College. Siri holds an M.S. in Fundraising Management from Columbia University and a B.A. in English from St. Olaf College.

McPherson Director of Academic Programs, Nile Blunt

Nile Blunt

Dr. Nile Blunt has over 10 years of experience in arts and museum education. Throughout his career, Blunt has served as a classroom teacher, a curator, and as a museum educator and administrator. At MAG, where he has served as the McPherson Director of Academic Programs since 2020, he leads a team that designs and facilitates engagements and programming with academic- and community-based audiences of all ages. Trained as an historian with a focus on visual and material culture, Blunt is especially interested in the integration of the arts throughout the humanities and also in the STEM fields. He is also passionate about bringing deep and impactful engagements with works of art to the broadest audiences possible, especially students. Blunt holds a BA in History from American University and an MA and PhD in History from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Director of Marketing & Engagement, Rachael Brown

Rachael Brown

Rachael Brown has over 10 years of experience in marketing and public relations. Her main responsibilities are developing and implementing brand, promotion and marketing plans for MAG departments; and overseeing programs to grow and diversify audiences and increase attendance. She holds a BA in communication studies from Canisius College and a certificate in Women in Leadership from Cornell University. photo by Alyssa Bileschi

Director of Finance, Sheryl Burgstrom

Sheri Burgstrom

Sheryl Burgstrom began her career at UR 19 years ago as Manager of the Endowment Accounting Department. At MAG she is responsible for financial forecasting, planning and analysis; overseeing the annual budget and auditing process; and working with UR’s Central Budget and Controller’s Offices. She holds degrees in finance and accounting with a minor in art history.

Senior Director, Major and Principal Gifts, Joe Carney

Joe Carney

Joe Carney has more than 30 years’ experience in advancement with a focus on the annual fund, campaign and major gift fundraising for higher education and health care. He holds a BS in Management from St. John Fisher College and an MA in English.

Facilities Area Manager, Debra Foster

Debbie Foster

Debra Foster oversees approximately 124,000 square feet of building space and 15 acres of grounds. She is responsible for developing and implementing operations and capital budgets in excess of $2 million and serves as MAG liaison to UR Facilities and Environmental Health and Services.

Chief Operating Officer / Deputy Director Patti Giordano

Patti Giordano

Patti Giordano has worked at the Memorial Art Gallery since March 2008. She came to the Gallery as the Marketing and Communications Manager and in July 2015, Patti accepted the position of COO/Deputy Director of MAG. She acts as MAG’s strategic plan champion, as well as oversees budgeting and financial planning, revenue streams and MAG operations in order to support continued growth and fulfillment of the Museum’s mission.

Curator in Charge/Curator of American Art, Jessica Marten

Jessica Marten

Jessica Marten is Curator in Charge/Curator of American Art at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester where she has worked since 2001. In her curatorial practice, Marten is particularly interested in exploring historically marginalized artists and lesser-known histories. Recent projects include an exhibition organized in honor of New York Women’s Suffrage Centennial in 2017, The Power of the Female Gaze. In July 2018, her exhibition and catalog The Surreal Visions of Josephine Tota introduced and advocated for the artist to be added into the canon of visionary artists. Her upcoming project, The Path to Paradise: The Stained Glass Art of Judith Schaechter, will explore the beautiful, bold, and subversive work of a cutting-edge contemporary artist who works in the centuries-old medium of stained glass. In addition to organizing exhibitions, Marten oversees MAG’s curatorial staff and is responsible for acquisitions, deaccessions, and installations drawn from MAG’s collections, grants, conservation priorities, scholarly publications, donor relations, and public lectures.

Head of Exhibitions, Margot Muto

Margot Muto

Margot Muto came to MAG in 2016. She was previously co-founder and director of AXOM Gallery & Exhibition Space, which opened in 2011 with the mission of presenting contemporary arts and design, and fostering the careers of emerging, mid-career and established artists. She holds a BFA in painting and printmaking from RIT.

photography: John Schlia unless otherwise noted