Jen Rubio and Stewart Butterfield
Aspen, Colorado; New York
Retail (Away); Software (Slack)
Jen Rubio is the cofounder and CEO of Away, the travel lifestyle brand best known for its line of polycarbonate hard shell suitcases that launched in 2016. Stewart Butterfield is the cofounder and CEO of Slack, the communication platform ubiquitous among workplaces that launched in 2013; he is also a cofounder of Flickr. The two, along with their young son Oliver, recently departed San Francisco, where they were long based, for Colorado. They now split their time between Aspen, New York, and a ranch in New Mexico.
Philanthropically, the couple is passionate about supporting health, education, community improvement projects, and social justice initiatives. Earlier this year, Rubio joined the boards of Yahoo and Scripps Research, while Butterfield serves as observer of Scripps’s board. In 2021, the couple, who got engaged in 2019 and married in 2020 in Colorado. That same year, they also donated $25 million to UNICEF.
On the art front, Rubio and Butterfield have been collecting together since their collection, and their holdings include recent acquisitions by the likes of Marina Perez Simão, Simone Leigh, Claire Tabouret, and Mickalene Thomas. Another artist they support is Alicja Kwade, whom they are currently working on a major project with through their foundation in New Mexico, the details of which have yet to be announced. In an email interview with ARTnews, the couple said, “We acquired one of her works early in our relationship, and we’re both drawn to the philosophical aspects of her work: her ideas of time and space resonate so closely with how we think about building out the land for this initiative.”
Additionally, Rubio is currently the youngest board member of the Whitney Museum. Within a year of joining, she and Butterfield made a long-term commitment of support to the institution, endowing an associate curator position focused on raising awareness of Latinx art globally, which is currently held by Marcela Guerrero. They soon followed that be endowing a fellowship for emerging curators at the museum.
“Seeing our toddler, Oliver, engage with art, both at home and at museums had been incredibly eye-opening,” they said. “Because collecting is such a vibrant, dynamic part of our lives, it’s been so fun seeing through the lens of a child and what he gravitates to!”