RoCo to hold annual in-person 6×6 exhibition

Rochester Contemporary Art Center will hold its 14th annual 6×6 fundraising exhibition this year from June 5 through July 18, both virtually and in-person.

RoCo will accept entries for the exhibition through April 10. After an exclusively virtual 6×6 exhibition last year due to the pandemic, RoCo’s Executive Director Bleu Cease said he is thrilled to announce the return of an in-person 6×6 exhibition for the summer of 2021.

“We missed having our regular 6×6 exhibition last year, and are looking forward to being open to the public for 6x6x2021,” he said.

RoCo has been maintaining regular gallery hours with a limited capacity since September, and the East Avenue gallery will be open again this summer to celebrate the international small art phenomenon with the public. Despite the Jazz Fest and other festivals not taking place downtown, RoCo’s consistent exhibition programming and presence in the East End will return with extended summer hours, officials said.

Participants may drop off their artworks in person, or mail them to RoCo. All entries must be postmarked by April 12. Each artwork should be accompanied by a short entry form that can be downloaded at

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RoCo, Anthony House seeking artist for women’s rights project

Rochester Contemporary Art Center and the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House plan to collaborate this year on a site-specific public art project that will celebrate the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. The two nonprofits are seeking proposals for the art installation.

susan-b-anthonyRoCo’s public art program will give one artist in the Greater Rochester area and elsewhere the opportunity to envision, produce and exhibit a sculpture or multimedia work adjacent to RoCo that recognizes the anniversaries. The completed work will be on exhibit free to the community.

The program is part of Votercade 2020, a yearlong celebration of women’s rights anniversaries presented by the Anthony House.

“Through Votercade 2020, the National Susan B. Anthony Museum & House reaches beyond Anthony’s home on Madison Street in Rochester, N.Y., to highlight the importance of voting rights and civic discourse and to celebrate the ways Susan B. Anthony’s work is still relevant today,” said Anthony House President and CEO Deborah Hughes in a statement.

RoCo’s public art program is supported by the state Council on the Arts, the Community Foundation, the Mary S. Mulligan Charitable Trust, the Farash Foundation and members. Proposals for the art installation are due by Jan. 31.

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RoCo 6×6 to feature painting pig artwork

A 1,000-pound painting pig from South Africa will have artwork in Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s annual 6×6 exhibit.

Pigcasso was saved from a slaughterhouse as a four-week-old piglet by the Farm Sanctuary SA near Cape Town. The sow’s love of painting was discovered early on, and her painting endeavors have brought her fame and fortune, including a limited edition design deal with the Swiss watch manufacturer, Swatch.

Pigcasso sells her pieces online and through a gallery at the sanctuary and her art typically fetches between $500 and $4,000. The funds benefit the sanctuary, which serves to instill an awakened connection between farm animals and visitors, and aims to inspire a positive change in the way society views and treats farm animals.

RoCo is seeking 6×6 artwork for its annual event, and is extending a new community challenge to be a part of #roco6x6global. Individuals are being asked to challenge friends and family who live abroad to make one 6×6 artwork and tag their peers or repost the image to their favorite social media with the #roco6x6global hashtag.

RoCo and the Rochester literary community, including Writers & Books and BOA Editions, are encouraging self-proclaimed “non-artists” to enter an artwork inspire by or quoted from their favorite book, poem or play.

“Writers & Books has always been proud to partner with RoCo through community engagement,” Writers & Books interim executive director Joe Flaherty said in a news release. “6×6 gives lovers of literature the opportunity to combine words with art and create something unique.”

Artworks are due at RoCo by April 14 and will be for sale to the public for $20 each from June 1 through July 17. Proceeds benefit RoCo.

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RoCo accepting entries for annual 6×6 exhibition

Rochester Contemporary Art Center will continue its call for entries in its annual 6×6 “small art phenomenon” exhibition throughout the month of March, following Mayor Lovely Warren’s proclamation of March 2 as citywide “Make Art Day.”

An entry in RoCo's 2018 6x6 exhibition.
An entry in RoCo’s 2018 6×6 exhibition.

“Thanks to international and local artists, celebrities, designers, youth, self-proclaimed ‘non-artist’ community members and some new initiatives, we continue to up our expectations,” RoCo executive director Bleu Cease said in a statement. “With increased entries come increased sales, so that’s a winning combination for all.”

The annual exhibit runs June 1 through July 17 and last year featured more than 6,000 6-inch by 6-inch works of art. Warren, a past 6×6 participant, this year declared March 2 as a day to make art. The Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance will host a community art-making 6×6 party for children that day.

“I’m excited to declare March 2 ‘Make Art Day’ because encouraging the creativity of our children and youth is important to their development and to their ability to express ideas in innovative and meaningful ways,” Warren said. “The city appreciates the efforts of the Joseph Avenue Arts and Culture Alliance and RoCo in making Rochester a center of artistic excellence and excitement.”

On March 1, RoCo will host “Name That Artist,” a local art trivia contest. All 6×6 artworks are due to the gallery by April 14. Artwork will be for sale to the public for $20 each to benefit RoCo. Sales provide roughly 15 percent of RoCo’s annual operating budget.

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RoCo, Genesee Land Trust partner on new exhibit

Rochester Contemporary Art Center and Genesee Land Trust will celebrate the connection between artists and the changing nature around them in a new exhibition slated to open Feb. 1.

"Landscapes and the Unbuilt" will feature art such as this sculpture by Jennifer Schinzing. (Photo courtesy of RoCo)
“Landscapes and the Unbuilt” will feature art such as this sculpture by Jennifer Schinzing. (Photo courtesy of RoCo)

“Landscapes and the Unbuilt” will reflect artist interactions with land and natural places and will feature a diverse group of artists who span multiple generations and artistic mediums brought together by a common interest in the landscape and the environment.

The exhibition will run through March 16 at the East Avenue gallery.

“We want our collaboration with Genesee Land Trust to lead to creative ideas and meaningful discussions about our interactions with the environment—not just as artists, but as agents in the ever-changing landscape in which we live,” RoCo Executive Director Bleu Cease said in a statement. “‘Landscapes and the Unbuilt’ is a celebration of protected natural lands, those who work to preserve them and their timeless role in the creative process.”

An artist talk, at which each artist will discuss their chosen unbuilt location and how they approached creating new artwork for the exhibition, will be held at RoCo Feb. 2.

The collaboration brings attention to the protection of natural lands and waterways, not only for creative inspiration but for environmental conservation and overall quality of life as well. Genesee Land Trust preserves and protects natural lands and waterways that enhance the quality of life in the Greater Rochester region, providing wildlife habitat, locally grown food and connections to nature.

“Land forms the foundation of our lives—from habitats for wildlife, trails for recreation, nature that improves our health and wellbeing and inspiration for creative spirits as celebrated with our partnership with RoCo,” said Gay Mills, executive director of the Genesee Land Trust.

To encourage people to get outside this winter, RoCo and Genesee Land Trust are sponsoring an Instagram exhibition and competition. The community is encouraged to share an image of their favorite unbuilt landscapes on social media using the hashtag #unbuiltrochester. One photographer will be awarded a naturalist-hosted tour for four of a special, privately protected property.

The “Landscapes and the Unbuilt” exhibition grew out of an exhibition concept proposed by Rochester-based landscape artist and preservationist, Connie Ehindero.

“We need artists’ visions and voices,” Ehindero said. “We need natural spaces, unbuilt places where the soul and creative spirit can expand and soar. It’s an ancient connection, one not always present in our modern world.”

Genesee Land Trust is a nonprofit land trust organization that was founded in 1989. The organization has conserved more than 5,500 acres of natural lands and waterways in its three decades.

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Permanent art installation beautifies landscape of the Metropolitan

Scott Small's Dancing Bear sculpture is permanently displayed at the Metropolitan in downtown Rochester. (Photo provided)
Scott Small’s Dancing Bear sculpture is permanently displayed at the Metropolitan in downtown Rochester. (Photo provided)

A sculpture by former Rochester artist Scott Small has been permanently installed on the grounds of the Metropolitan.

Dancing Bear, a large bronze sculpture dedicated to Small’s late mother, Rochester artist Edith Lunt Small, commemorates her love of animals and her contributions to the Rochester art community through the years. The free public artwork is presented by Gallina Development, in partnership with Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo).

Small, who died in May 2017, was an internationally renowned and accomplished artist whose work spanned various mediums including painting, woodworking, sculpture and clothing.

“Edie was a great friend and supporter of RoCo and the local art community here in Rochester,” RoCo Executive Director Bleu Cease said in a statement. “We are proud and honored to be part of Scott Small’s public art installation. The Rochester community can now reflect on the whimsy and artistic flair of one of our favorite artists, Edith Lunt Small.”

Scott Small, who now lives in Maine, was born and raised in Rochester and began his career in Philadelphia selling through galleries and commissions. The majority of his work has been commissions including oil portraits, landscapes and sculptures.

Dancing Bear was gifted to RoCo in July 2017 by the Small family and Small said he is “humbled and honored that Rochester has accepted this sculpture and delighted that the innocent excitement about life, represented by this sculpture, will be present to inspire future artists like my mother who share her enthusiasm.”

The bronze sculpture is part of a larger collaboration between RoCo and the Metropolitan.

“We are excited to permanently install Dancing Bear with the City of Rochester as part of the newly redesigned landscape at the Metropolitan,” Gallina Development President Andy Gallina said. “Thanks to our partnership with Rochester Contemporary Art Center and the Small family, Scott Small’s sculpture will be dancing in loving memory of his mother for many years to come.”

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RoCo to feature works from Rochester illustrator

Illustrator Dave Calver's new graphic novel, "Limbo Lounge."
Illustrator Dave Calver’s new graphic novel, “Limbo Lounge.”

Rochester Contemporary Art Center next month will host a new exhibition of works by Dave Calver.

The exhibition will open with a reception Sept. 6 and will feature an artist talk and book signing Sept. 8.

Calver, a Rochesterian who recently moved to Palm Springs, Calif., is known for his unique illustrations; his iconic snow-people have been used since 2002 to promote the Lincoln Square Business Improvement District’s annual Winter’s Eve event in New York City.

Calver has said originally he was encouraged to draw inspiration from different artists. He was influenced by German expressionist films and industrial imagery, as well as Art Deco to some extent.

“My style has evolved over the years into something that is more my own,” Calver said in a statement. “When I look back at some of my work, some of it is very ’80s, influenced by some of the trends of the time such as the furniture and design movement called Memphis.”

In addition to his Winter’s Eve banners and artwork, Calver has illustrated book and magazine covers, billboards and subway posters, as well as a holiday card for the New York Rangers hockey team. Calver continues to produce new illustration work, graphic novels and a horror film. He recently was included in Taschen’s “100 Illustrators,” chosen as the best of the best from more than 600 illustrators, in its popular “Illustration Now” series.

Dave Calver's illustrations will be on exhibit at Rochester Contemporary Art Center beginning Sept. 6.
Dave Calver’s illustrations will be on exhibit at Rochester Contemporary Art Center beginning Sept. 6.

Calver’s latest project is a newly published graphic novel called “Limbo Lounge,” where newly dead people in Limbo await their fate at a bar while surrounded by bored interlopers from hell. Signed copies of the book will be available during the exhibition of the same name.

“In his over 40 year career, Dave has become known as one of the best living illustrators. He has published in a variety of major magazines and newspapers including Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and The Washington Post,” said Bleu Cease, RoCo’s executive director and curator. “His distinctive work invites you to explore the wonderful worlds that he produces, creating a bridge between illustration and fine art.”

A selection from the 420 art pieces published in Calver’s new graphic novel will be exhibited in RoCo’s Lab Space, and Calver will speak about the project during his artist talk.

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RoCo to exhibit ad industry’s ‘On the Side’ artwork

raf-on-the-side-header18_3kRochester Contemporary Art Center and the Rochester Advertising Federation have partnered for the fourth annual On the Side exhibition.

The show will feature rarely seen personal works by some of Rochester’s most well-known graphic artists, photographers and designers. Unique to RoCo’s programming, the three-week long exhibition offers a fresh collaborative exhibition format.

The title of the exhibition stems from the personal work that many members of the local advertising community complete outside their traditional working hours. Current members of the Rochester Advertising Federation can submit work for display through Aug. 17.

Since its 2015 debut, On the Side has grown into a signature event and exhibit for the two organizations. More than 30 artists had work displayed during last year’s exhibition, and organizers expect more artists and advertising professionals this year.

“In a few short years, On the Side has become a new tradition for the Rochester art community,” said RoCo Executive Director and Curator Bleu Cease. “On the Side gives many members of the creative community an opportunity to exhibit a different side of their creative output, and it also gives the public a chance to experience the personal artwork made by some of the region’s most talented advertising and marketing professionals.”

The On the Side exhibition will be on display at RoCo from Sept. 6 through Sept. 22.

“The exhilaration of having my personal work hang in the RoCo/RAF On the Side show is just the kind of jolt every commercial artist needs to remind them that beneath all of the layers of professionalism, customer service, deadlines and revisions lies the raw creative passion that led them to the field in the first place,” said Kurt Brownell, owner of Kurt Brownell Photography.

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RoCo to preview 6×6 artwork

6x6An online preview of Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s (RoCo) annual 6×6 event will begin Friday in advance of the exhibit’s opening June 2. Some 6,600 entries were received this year, the largest number since RoCo limited entries to four per person.

Now in its 11th year, the small-scale artwork comes from all over the world; this year art was received from Katmandu, Nepal. The in-gallery preview has extended its hours from 1 to 9 p.m. May 28 through June 1. Artwork in all styles, genres, types of media and in 2- and 3-D will be for sale for a flat $20 to benefit the gallery.

Artists names are anonymous until purchase.

“We are amazed by this year’s turnout,” said RoCo Executive Director Bleu Cease in a statement. “It is always fun to receive artworks from all around the world, yet when the total number of artworks takes a big jump up, we were surprised and thrilled. As always, we are so grateful for everyone’s generous contributions to 6×6 and look forward to the opening reception on June 2 and an exciting 6×6 season ahead.”

Louise Slaughter's final submission to 6x6.
Louise Slaughter’s final submission to 6×6.

Just before her death, the late Rep. Louise Slaughter sent in her 6×6 entry of the downtown train station, “Memory of the old and rejoicing in the new.” It will be given a place of prominence during the exhibit and will not be for sale. The train station will be named in her honor.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren have submitted works of art for the exhibit, as have Monroe Community College President Anne Kress and St. John Fisher College President Gerald Rooney.

Attendees at the June 2 Opening Party and Artwork Sale may enter a raffle to win one of the first 20 buyer positions beginning at 7:30 p.m.; all others can begin purchasing works of art at 8 p.m. Both the raffle tickets and the colored dots signifying that an artwork is sold can be purchased on June 2 from 4 until 7:30 p.m.

As RoCo’s biggest fundraiser, 6×6 runs through July 16, with special hours during the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.

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Rochester marks Douglass’ 200th birthday

The Frederick Douglass monument in Highland Park will be moved to a more accessible location  at the corner of South Avenue and Robinson Drive this spring. (Photo by Carvin Eison)
The Frederick Douglass monument in Highland Park will be moved to a more accessible location at the corner of South Avenue and Robinson Drive this spring. (Photo by Carvin Eison)

Dignitaries, business leaders and community members gathered Thursday at Hochstein School of Music and Dance to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth. It was the first event in a yearlong series to commemorate the 19th-century African-American abolitionist’s legacy.

Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass is a public art project, exhibition and community-wide reflection that is a partnership between lead organizers Rochester Community Media Center and Rochester Contemporary Art Center, or RoCo, in collaboration with the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and a range of community partners who have come together to form the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee.

Wardell Lewis ushered in Thursday’s event by playing a long-lost piece on the piano, titled “His Name Shall Live Forever,” followed by an excerpt from an 1857 Douglass speech, performed by North Star Players’ David Shakes.

A video greeting from Kenneth Morris Jr., the great-great-great grandson of Douglass and founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, thanked the individuals and organizations involved in the yearlong celebration.

“As we near Frederick Douglass’ bicentennial celebration in 2018, it is important for residents to know that there was no other city that resonated in the life of my great-great-great grandfather more than Rochester, N.Y.,” Morris said.

Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo was on hand to announce the movement of the Douglass monument that currently sits in Highland Park to a move publicly accessible location at the corner of South Avenue and Robinson Drive this spring.

rctv-logo-fchromagreen“The Sidney Edwards’ statue of Frederick Douglass is significant both as historic and cultural touchstones, and as a celebrated work of art,” said Carvin Eison, project director and general manager of RCTV. “But perhaps more importantly, at a time when statues in many parts of our country are provoking angry divides and tearing communities apart, this statue is a uniting force for good—as Douglass was for our nation—bringing us together in a common purpose.”

The 8-foot-tall bronze monument was installed in 1899 and is the first civic monument in the country to honor an African-American man.

Dinolfo and Rochester’s Deputy Mayor Cedric Alexander proclaimed 2018 the “Year of Frederick Douglass.” Later in the program a surprise announcement came from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office, proclaiming February as Frederick Douglass month.

Feb. 2 through March 18, RoCo will present a curated exhibit, “No Soil Better: Art & the Living Legacy of Frederick Douglass,” featuring new works by nine artists that reflect on Douglass’ legacy. A public Artist Talk is scheduled for Feb. 3, and RoCo will host facilitated discussions on Feb. 8 and 15 to bring Douglass’ work and philosophy into the public sphere through a contemporary lens, posing the question “What would Douglass do?”

roco“The Sidney Edwards monument gives form to this incredible man and is a wonderful work of art,” said Bleu Cease, RoCo executive director. “In recognition of Douglass’ bicentennial, we’re commissioning works by nine contemporary artists from across the region and New York City to create works for the 21st century inspired by Douglass—inspired by his legacy—and really taking a critical look at how we as a city, and perhaps more broadly as a nation, look at and remember this remarkable man and his influence.”

The third component of the project is the convening of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee. Under the leadership of Rochester Community Media Center and RoCo, and in collaboration with the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee is a group whose members have a wide range of missions and interests  but are all dedicated to honoring the Douglass legacy throughout 2018.

David “Sankofa” Anderson, a longtime storyteller and contributor to African-American heritage, will serve as chair emeritus of the committee.

“Monroe County is proud to be a sitting member and strong supporter of the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee,” Dinolfo said. “As a fitting tribute to Rochester’s legendary civil rights trailblazer, we look forward to joining together with residents and families all across our community in 2018 to celebrate Frederick Douglass and his lasting impact on our nation’s history.”

The committee has designed a series of events honoring Douglass throughout the year.

“Frederick Douglass is one of the greatest historical figures in our country’s history,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in a statement. “His leadership of the abolitionist movement—and humanity—are renowned throughout the world. This significant anniversary gives us another opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices he made during his extraordinary life in his tireless fight to abolish slavery as well as his contributions to the women’s suffrage movement, while shining a spotlight on our city. We are grateful for all of the dynamic partners who have joined together to form the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commemoration Committee and we look forward to honoring the legacy of Douglass together in Rochester.”

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