Staff & Board

Current Staff

Lars Hasselblad Torres, Executive Director

Lars is an artist, writer, educator and entrepreneur with a passion arts-driven economic development. Lars has created and led coworking and makerspaces in Vermont as well as the state’s Backpacker Guide to creativity. In the fall of 2017, with a grant from the Democracy Fund, Lars traveled 14,000 miles around the country interviewing Americans about the ways our democratic aspirations are represented in the arts. He has served as Director of Vermont’s Office of the Creative Economy, as an Innovation Prize Advisor to the US Agency for International Development, lead designer and head of MIT’s Global Challenge, and director of AmericaSpeaks’ Democracy Lab for innovation and research. In his down time Lars is a collage and mixed media artist; he has been working over the last fifteen years to develop the, which Global Peace Tiles Project in partnership with communities around the world. An avid reader, walker of woods, and board game enthusiast, Lars serves on the board of AYWA International and is mentor for the Mentor Capital Network.

Anne Wright, Director of Education

Anne is a performer, culinary artist and educator, and arts administrator. She worked for an art non-profit in New York implementing arts programs and curriculum in K-8 schools across the city. After completing her Masters in Arts in Education from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, she went on to become a corporate trainer helping staff to enhance their work practice. When not at Artisan’s Asylum, you can find her leading Tipsy Chocolate Tours in Boston or teaching her signature Tipsy Truffle Making classes.

Phone: 617-284-6878 x 113 | Email: teach@

Office Hours: Tuesdays 2 – 4pm and by appointment. Sign up here!

Julia Csekö, Outreach and Administration Coordinator

Julia is a practicing multidisciplinary artist, and an Art Administrator, with experience in non-profits, cultural and learning oriented organizations. At Artisan’s Asylum she manages communications and outreach, working closely with the dynamic makers and creators community while coordinating daily operations. Julia was born in Colorado, and grew up in Brazil, where she started her career as first assistant to Brazilian Sculptor Ernesto Neto, representing the artist in major international museums.  Julia is a people person with a passion for the creative and innovation industry. She is constantly scouting for great ideas, partnerships and collaborations, as well as opportunities to showcase the awe inspiring work of the A2 members.   

Phone: 617-284-6878 x 107 | Email: julia.cseko@artisansasylum.com

Office Hours: by appointment.

Tim Butterworth, Operations Manager

Tim is an amateur robot builder and photographer driven by exploring new technologies and techniques. He loves tackling challenges at the intersection of art and science. Tim took his first class at Artisan’s Asylum in 2012, and has been a member and volunteer since 2014. He joined the staff as Operations Manager in March of 2018. His role focuses on designing policies and systems that keep our members making! As a maker himself, he loves serving as a creative resource for ambitious projects. Outside of A2, you may find him working on a 3d printer, woodworking or looking through a telescope.

Office Hours: Wednesdays from 3 – 6 pm and by appointment. Sign up here!



Board of Directors

The Artisan’s Asylum volunteer Board of Directors is responsible for keeping Artisan’s Asylum fiscally and legally sound. The board, comprised of members and community leadership, provides strategic direction, governance and policy oversight, outreach and networking, and fundraising support to the Executive Director, staff and community.

More information on current directors and board activities available On Our Wiki.

Ramesh Advani, Finance Committee (2018 to present)

Ramesh is a senior finance and operations executive with experience in the non-profit, public and private sectors including financial services, high tech medical and materials manufacturing industries. With a successful career at Ciba Corning (currently Novartis) and at Fidelity Investments, he is currently the interim Chief Financial Officer for The Centering Healthcare Institute, an innovative health care nonprofit improving health by transforming care through Centering groups. As former Director, Federal Grants Management in the Patrick Administration, he was responsible for operational and financial oversight of $3+ billion in federal grants received by MA. Ramesh was MA’s first Indian American Selectman from 2003-2009 and is involved on a pro bono basis with SCORE Boston and Mass Challenge as a mentor and counselor to social impact entrepreneurs and other causes. He holds a Masters in International Business from the University of South Carolina and a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Mike Dawson, Finance Committee Chair (2018 to present)

Mike’s passion for design, construction and collaboration have been steady influences on the variety of paths that he has followed. Trained at RPI as an architect, Mike moved to the Boston area in 1996 where he worked for HMFH Architects in Cambridge, MA and then Miller Dyer Spears Architects in Boston, MA. In 2001 he volunteered to participate in the construction of a school in Mozambique and then backpacked through much of East Africa. On his return Mike quickly became involved in another exciting cultural collaboration, hired by Liberty Street Restoration to work on the Yin Yu Tang house where he became the Project Superintendent. Yin Yu Tang is 4,500 sf centuries old Huizou merchant’s house re-erected as a permanent installation at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.

Owner of Dawson Design Build, Mike has been a member of Artisans Asylum since 2015 after learning about it during the design and construction of the maker space his company did for the Cambridge Friends School. The spirit of collaboration, the amazing things that people make and create at Artisan’s Asylum make it an exciting place to continue to have as a home base. Mike has become a dedicated advocate and volunteer in the community striving to finds ways to share the spirit and vision here with kids and people of all ages and backgrounds.

Steve Derezinski, Real Estate and Finance Committees (2019 to present)

Steve holds an S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from MIT Sloan. Prior to MOxST, Steve was Founder and Director of Georgia Tech’s VentureLab. He was President of the MIT Alumni Club of Atlanta, and has served on MIT’s National Alumni Association Board of Directors. He is active in the Clean Energy community.

Steve is Co-founder of Metal Oxygen Separation Technologies, Inc. and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. A quintessential serial entrepreneur, Steve has formed eight companies from University IP that raised $43M in startup capital including $25M in venture investments form Silicon Valley, Boston and Atlanta Venture Capital firms. Over the years Steve’s ventures have been awarded and managed $23M in government contracts. He has helped launch over 80 startups which have cumulatively raised over $250M to date.

Jacob Larocca, Member Liaison (2018 to present)

Jacob is an Electrical Engineer with a penchant for Sci-Fi, Props, and Costumes. He has been making things since he could put together two Lego bricks, and hasn’t stopped since. Jacob works in many mediums, including Duct Tape, 3D printing, and foam. When he’s not making things at work or at A2, he can be found playing his trombone or tap dancing.

Jacob has been a member of Artisans asylum for more than 6 years, and has seen it grow in some incredible ways. He absolutely loves learning from the community here, and is looking forward to serving the membership in his role as Member Liaison!

Rachel O’Neil, Board Chair (2016 to present)

When not climbing rocks (or walls) Rachel can be found at Artisan’s Asylum refurbishing home décor and furniture. She’s inspired to bring out the best in home furnishings, keep quality furniture out of the waste stream, and personalize living spaces. The moment Rachel discovered Artisan’s Asylum, she immediately felt like she belonged, welcomed by a judgment-free zone.

Chris Otey, Real Estate Committee (2017 to present)

Chris is an experienced early-stage venture capital and business development professional in biotechnology and agriculture technology sectors. With a PhD and MBA, Chris has led or been deeply involved with numerous venture investment transactions, many of which have led to strategic transactions, IPOs, or M&A events. He has actively worked with and conducted due diligence on biotechnology and agriculture technology companies. He plays an active business development role to create new opportunities for organization and investment portfolio companies. Chris holds a PhD from California Institute of Technology and MBA from the University of Massachusetts.

Molly Rubenstein, Development Committee (2018 to present)

Molly W. Rubenstein joined the leadership team at Artisan’s Asylum in 2011, serving in the course of four years as Director of Operations, Director of Education & Outreach, and Executive Director. She is overjoyed to return to Artisan’s Asylum as now as a Board Director.

Molly is passionate about helping people to break down boundaries between work, learning, and play in order to help them build fulfilling lives.

Since leaving Artisan’s Asylum in 2015, she has been supporting the development of spaces, curriculum, and systems-level change to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in low-income countries around the world. She currently serves as Innovation Ecosystems Manager for MIT D-Lab.

Michael Shia, Director (2016 to present)

Michael is the founder of Education Volunteer Exchange (EVA) and owns Cambridgeport Consultants. He matches tech talent with needs in schools, and helps small emerging biotech companies to develop sustainable growth plans. When not helping these small companies to succeed, he can be found at Artisan’s Asylum, helping staff and members to succeed. A motorcycle enthusiast, Michael is an avid rider and mechanic.

Ted Sirota, Director (2017 to present)

Ted is an avid maker. He spends almost all of his time at the Artisan’s Asylum. When he’s not making something awesome, he’s working hard on improving the project that is the Artisan’s Asylum. As president Ted’s main goal is improve the overall experience of the membership. Whether that means hosting more events, fixing broken machines, or simply sitting down and listening to what people have to say. The president’s role is to connect the membership to the staff, the board, and the community at large. If you’ve got ideas about how to improve the Artisan’s Asylum feel free to let him know.