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Sheltering at Home with… Jessica Hanson York of Mingei International Museum

The architecture buff and Point Loma mom makes the most of lockdown with Pilates via Zoom, “NYT Cooking,” and Houseparty wine chats
Keith York


Point Loma, right on the border between La Playa and the Wooded Area



I’m the deputy director and chief advancement officer at Mingei International Museum. My work is focused on fundraising for the museum’s ambitious transformation now underway in Balboa Park, and planning for its reopening in 2021.


Who you’re sheltering with:

My husband Keith, 11-year-old daughter June, and dog Weasley.


What you’re doing for exercise:

My friend owns a Pilates studio in Santa Cruz and I was never able to practice with her, obviously. Quarantine silver lining: Now that she’s teaching via Zoom, I can take her classes! My mom lives in Cape Cod and she joins in, too. It’s a welcome ritual to see them both for a restorative hour. I also work out via FaceTime with a local trainer whom I used to meet at the gym.


Go-to meal or ingredient:

I love to cook, but weeknight dinner prep pre-pandemic was rushed and unrewarding with the meal, homework, and after-school activities all squeezed together. I don’t miss that grind. Now that I’m home I can start on dinner earlier, and with grocery shopping down to a weekly event my meal planning is much more organized. The New York Times cooking section is my go-to, and beans and anchovies have emerged as key ingredients in my repertoire! My cooking has certainly improved… another silver lining.


TV show you’ve discovered:

Our TV time is mostly devoted to family viewing and the preferences of a rising sixth grader. We all loved Home Before Dark on Apple+, a fantastic story about a nine-year-old journalist. We just started the animated series Central Park—funny and full of song. Also, I recently got hooked on an amazing new podcast for Turner Classic Movies that my BFF [and former San Diego Magazine book critic] Angela Carone produced: The Plot Thickens.


Rituals to stay sane:

Family walks have become a frequent end-of-day activity. We just moved to Point Loma a couple of years ago, so it has been a great opportunity to explore every street, alley, and secret path (there are several!) in our neighborhood. We’re architecture buffs and plant enthusiasts, so there’s lots to comment on as we stroll. A weekly wine chat on Houseparty with five other brilliant, hilarious women is something I look forward to. We talk about parenting, politics, social justice, our TV recommendations, and all the other things. Honestly, they are so funny I’m often trying not to spit the wine out of my mouth.


What you’ve come to appreciate:

My gratitude list is long. Family time and a slower pace, for sure. I used to spend so much time stressed about my schedule, always worried about being late! I’m also grateful to still be working, for an organization I love, and doing it alongside a group of smart, creative, and caring colleagues. Oh, and I’m super-appreciative of my dishwasher. The dishes—they are endless and they do not do themselves.


What’s your daily uniform at home:

I do wear hard pants most days, believe it or not. Jeans almost always; tops vary with my Zoom schedule, casual to less casual, wrinkly to less wrinkly. And I can’t not wear earrings! I feel more productive if I’m at least mildly pulled together. That said, there is the occasional day I never make it out of the workout clothes.


What you can’t wait to do when it’s safe for everything to reopen:

All the hugging! I miss hugging my friends. I also look forward to wearing heels and big jewelry, dining out, seeing live theater and—of course—visiting museums. Our thriving arts and culture scene has been hard hit, but it’s resilient. I long for the day when my calendar is once again filled with all the diverse and unique arts events our community has to offer.


What does your workspace look like?

I’m almost always posted up at the dining table, which gives me a spectacular view of the harbor and downtown. It’s in the main living space of our house, with good light and Zoom backdrops. My setup is pretty simple, though—I work off a laptop and surround myself with at least 2–3 beverages, including water, La Croix, and a smoothie. Plus a rotating selection of fashionable reading glasses.

Jessica Hanson York, deputy director and chief advancement officer at Mingei International Museum

Keith York

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