ICA Senior Curator Jenelle Porter’s Favorite Things

Porter reveals her go-to cheese shop, iPhone app, and getaway spot.

jenelle porter ica senior curator

Photo by Blake Fitch

“I feel like I’m enjoying a part of Boston that’s just being reimagined,” ICA senior curator Jenelle Porter says of her burgeoning Fort Point neighborhood. When she landed in town from the ICA Philadelphia in January 2011, towering snowbanks caused the southern California native, 41, to briefly reconsider her decision. But Porter stuck it out and now lives a 10-minute walk from the museum, where she recently coordinated the Barry McGee retrospective. Here are some of her personal bests in the city and beyond.

jenelle porter ica

Brattle Book Shop (Photo by Alee Gleiberman)


Produce › The farmers’ market by South Station, when it’s open. If not, I’m a Whole Foods shopper.

Baked goods › Flour. They should be subsidizing my gym fees.

Wine and cheese › Formaggio Kitchen—for sausage, crackers, legumes, and sandwiches, too. I should own stock in this store.

Books › The ICA, for art and culture books. I have a lot of nieces and nephews and friends’ kids, and I love buying children’s books for them there—there’s such a smart selection. Brattle Book Shop for fiction.

jenelle porter ica

Photo by Scott M. Lacey


Band › Yo La Tengo. I’ve been a fan for 20 years. And they are still killing it.

Artist › For a curator, this question is like picking your favorite child. I do have a favorite child, but it wouldn’t be proper to share.

New England getaway › Coastal Maine. We first started going to Mount Desert Island in 2002. It’s just so beautiful and not like any other place.

Favorite city in the world › L.A. More than anything else, it’s just home.


Book you readCanada, by Richard Ford. I think it’s his best book yet.

Movie you saw › Judd Apatow’s This Is 40. Because it turns out, this is indeed 40, and you just need to laugh it off.

TV series you followedParks and Recreation. I’m addicted. The Pawnee City Hall murals? C’mon.

jenelle porter ica

Picco (Photo by Bob O’Connor)


Item of clothing › Sneakers. One never knows when one has to run.

iPhone app › Instagram. It lets me stay up-to-date on photos of my two-year-old niece.

Takeout food › Pizza from Picco. And Myers + Chang. I love their food.

Dessert › Ice cream. It has to be vanilla with something in it—super-boring.


Green space › The lilac section of the Arnold Arboretum.

Spot for cocktails › Drink.

Free thing to do in Boston › I like to walk through the city, especially downtown. It’s empty on the weekends, and there are so many beautiful buildings. And I like to ride my bike to the South Boston beaches.


Hairstylist › Sean Kay, at Trephin. Such a great place, and seems to employ every stylish person in Boston.

Masseuse › Jeffrey Spratt, at Wave Health & Fitness.

Facialist › Maya’s European Skincare. I treat myself a few times a year.

Acupuncturist › Pathways to Wellness.