Gallery r 15 Year Retrospective

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15 Years Gallery




This publication was created to commemorate the 15 year anniversary of Gallery r, RIT’s metro showcase and learning laboratory for the arts, in the fall of 2014. Design & photography by Nicole Leclair & Mariah Texidor with image & story submissions from the Gallery r community.




1999 Year One


2000 Year Two


2001 Year Three


2002 Year Four


2003 Year Five


2004 Year Six


2005 Year Seven


2006 Year Eight


2007 Year Nine


2008 Year Ten


2009–2011 The Transition Years


2012 Year Thirteen


2013 Year Fourteen


2014 Year Fifteen


Concluding Thoughts



Providing a forum for creative and critical expression of the visual arts, Gallery r exhibitions present themes of social responsibility and artistic substance for Rochester Institute of Technology and the region’s cultural community. Striving to stimulate deeper appreciation for the arts, r challenges viewers to expand their understanding of diverse viewpoints and to acknowledge artistic content and creative exploration. Gallery r, CIAS’s metro showcase and learning laboratory, aspires to be the premier student operated venue for exhibiting, interpreting, and promoting a greater appreciation of contemporary art & technology in an urban location.




by Tom Lightfoot Chairperson, MST In the late ‘90’s, big changes were taking place for the visual arts on the RIT Campus. The College of Fine and Applied Arts merged with the College of Graphic Arts and Photography to form the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences (CIAS). Dr. Joan Stone was appointed as interim dean and then dean of the new college. Departments became schools with names changed to reflect the new reality. The Art Department became the School of Art. I chaired that school. One of my initiatives was to create a fine arts gallery in downtown Rochester. The outcome of an extensive search was the July 1999 lease signed by the university so that the School of Art gallery could exist within a first floor space at 775 Park Avenue. The century-old Part Avenue Doctor’s Hospital had been recently purchased and owner Michael Coriddi was starting an initial phase of renovation. My graduate assistant, Susan Lovejoy, proposed that the School of Art rent this affordable space for the School of Art’s gallery. Joan Stone assigned Zerbe Sodervick to the new directorship position. While landlord Mike Coriddi added a bathroom and brought the space up to code, it took an army of students, faculty, and college technicians to turn this long-abandoned hospital wing into a usable gallery. Carpeting and painting proceeded at a rapid pace along with organizing an office and storage space so that we could open for Park Avenue Fest, which took place July 31–August 1. By September, Gallery r’s branding was launched.

To further integrate the gallery into the school, Zerbe was asked to teach a class in gallery management. The School of Art also provided the workforce for the gallery with graduate assistant positions. These graduate students learned the ins and outs of running a gallery and more. Over the years, a significant number of these students went on to direct other galleries and art centers and gain positions at auction houses, corporate archives, and collections. Gallery r soon became a significant public face for the arts at RIT. While all of the schools were not involved in running the gallery, Zerbe made sure they were represented and invited to participate in shows. Through the years, RIT’s chairs, deans, provosts, and presidents have recognized the value of Gallery r and participated in numerous events, particularly the annual fundraising auctions. Senior shows, invitational exhibits, themed competitions, festivals, poetry readings, and music made Gallery r the place to be for many RIT students and faculty, especially on opening nights. As one success surpassed the next, the gallery outgrew its humble Park Avenue beginnings, becoming a college-wide gallery in its present location in the Neighborhood of the Arts.





1999 Exhibitions Prologues Interior Spaces The Latent Image Small Works

Events Park Avenue Festival


As you stroll through the Park Avenue Summer Art Fest pampering your taste buds with great food and your eardrums with fine music, make sure that you treat your eyes and your spirit to something special as well. The talent and creativity that can be found at Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Art moves off campus this weekend as the school celebrates the grand opening of Gallery r…For the Art of it. RIT University News





2000 Exhibitions Young Realists Front Room Proposal Offsite-Onsite RIT’s School of Art’s Fine Arts Studio Earth Elements RIT’s School of Art Alumni Ground Score Interludes Spiritual Art Water Color Invitational Disclosure in Mark Making

Events 101 Prints: A Gala Evening Rochester Gallery Night Park Avenue Festival


The Park Avenue Festival, a July tradition in Rochester, saw the first anniversary of RIT’s Gallery r. RIT University Magazine





2001 Exhibitions Senior Illustration Exhibition Gallery r Artists Alumnae Present Visual Communication Digital Art Competition Senior Exhibition Glass Art RIT Alumni Exhibition Photography in Cuba The Triage Room: A Juried Student Competition About Water CIAS Goes Solo

Events Art Collaborators Park Avenue Festival


Every time there’s an opening, people come up to me and say that’s it’s just incredible. I know that people have high regard for it. The student work, the faculty work…it really commands an appreciation in this town. Zerbe Sodervick





2002 Exhibitions The Siggraph Art Gallery In the Kitchen Visible Words Poetry Reading Fine Arts Studio Senior Exhibition Senior Illustrators @ RIT Exhibition Tribute to Eloise Wilkins Alumni Invitational 2002 Far Away Places Constant Companion: The Artist Sketchbook An Anesthetic Heritage

Events Gallery r Benefit 2002 Poetry Reading Galleries Week An Evening of the Arts Park Avenue Festival Brick City Park Avenue Winter Festival


The first exhibit I and Signatures were involved with organizing was called Visible Words, and consisted of a wide range of art works that incorporated poems or other text. There were 3D works as well as paintings and photographs. I brought my old UB professor, the distinguished Black Mountain poet Robert Creeley, to read on campus, and arranged with Zerbe to have him visit Gallery r during the afternoon in order to judge the winners, who would have their works included in that year’s issue of Signatures. It went quite well, though I remember his wife Penelope rolling her eyes when he selected a collage that incorporated lyrics from Trent Reznor ‘s Hurt, suspecting Bob thought them an original poem.

John Roche





2003 Exhibitions Digital Image Making Words and Images Competition Visual Communication II School of Art Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition School of Art Senior Fine Arts Illustration Exhibition A Regional Juried Printmaking Competition/ George Roberts Retrospective Imaging City: 2003 Prints Competition Big Format Art Exhibition The Gesture in Art Wearable Art Size Matters Triangle Room Student Competittion

Events Park Avenue Festival IV Annual Gallery r Benefit Park Avenue Winter Festival


The show gives me a sense of community being surrounded by fellow artists…It’s a valuable experience because we learn practical skills that will help us be successful as professionals after we leave RIT. RIT News Release





2004 Exhibitions Inspired by Light School of Art Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition School of Art Senior Illustration Exhibition School of Art MST Teachers and Their Students Exhibition Small Art Student Competition School of Art Illustration Alumni Invitational Humor in Art Thought at Work School of Art Illustration Alumni Invitational Exulting the Mundane

Events Park Avenue Festival Blues II: Fifth Annual Gallery r Benefit RIT Brick City Weekend Park Avenue Holiday Open House


People come into Gallery r expecting surprises, experimentation… and I think for that reason there’s something really pretty special about that gallery. You can laugh at it, and be excited about it, but you can also go and think about it pretty seriously. Zerbe Sodervick





2005 Exhibitions School of Art Senior Illustration Exhibition School of Art Fine Arts Studio Exhibition Teachers and Their Students RIT Alumni Exhibition I RIT Alumni Exhibition II Site Specifics at r The Rochester Heart Gallery

Events Blues III: 5th Anniversary Benefit Signatures Magazine Publication Exhibition and Reception The Park Avenue Festival Park Avenue Holiday Open House


Save the date for ‘Blues 3’ – an evening filled with hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, and an exciting showcase of artistic talent from RIT faculty, alumni and students who have donated artwork for the Gallery r sixth annual benefit gala. RIT News





2006 Exhibitions Brazil Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition Senior Illustration Exhibition Teachers + Students + Art Gallery r Goes Solo Copenhagen Chair Festival 5” x 5” Competition

Events The Park Avenue Festival


My favorite Gallery r event on Park Avenue was one that brought together graduate students from Syracuse University with our grad students in 2006. We mounted an exhibition that was visually exciting and something memorable, including a TV interview that aired on “R” News. I helped facilitate the exhibition and I look forward to doing something like that again. Alan Singer





2007 Exhibitions Surreal Landscapes Senior Illustration Exhibition Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition RIT Digital Arts Competition and Exhibition Teachers and Their Students Solo Faculty Exhibition: Elizabeth Kronfield Personal Culture Fusion Inspired by Music The Rochester Homeless

Events Park Avenue Festival Gallery r Benefit Park Avenue Winter Festival




Designing posters and marketing materials for Gallery r was la quintessence de the creative experience. I loved swimming in the creative zone! Muriel DeMartino





2008 Exhibitions Mapping Photography in Dubrovnik Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition Senior Illustration Exhibition Words & Images Students & Their Teachers Gallery r Goes Solo: Luvon Sheppard ARTECH The Political Puzzle Black & White Showcasing New Media

Events Park Avenue Festival Gallery r Benefit Park Avenue Winter Festival




Gallery r gives students the invaluable opportunity to plan, curate, design, and execute exhibitions in a professional environment. I believe this experience promotes teamwork, strengthens individual project management skills and instills confidence in students, enabling them to be leaders in their future careers. Jessica Erickson





Ten years ago

this summer...

The lights were on, the sculpture show was installed and Park Avenue merchants generously offered flower

arrangements and refreshments to their ‘new neighbor’ – Gallery r.


The Reinvention of Gallery r by Greg Barnett Former Director of Operations for CIAS

In 2008, Zerbe and I were becoming increasingly concerned with a number of issues at the original Park Avenue location of Gallery r. We had clearly outgrown the location (parking and traffic flow) and were struggling to deal with a space that was just not functioning well on a number of levels. After reviewing the situation with RIT’s Risk Management team along with Finance & Administration, I was given the go-ahead to begin scouting for a new gallery. As word started filtering out that we were looking, Bill Edwards (an alumnus of SPAS) contacted me regarding the College Avenue location. Bill was in the process of relocating Lumiere Photo and the Spectrum Gallery from Monroe Avenue to the heart of the Arts District. He had done a considerable amount of research and felt that College Avenue (adjacent to Village Gate and the Memorial Art Gallery) was going to be a prime location. I stopped down to take a look at Lumiere, which was under construction, and the vacant space directly next to it.

As they say, the rest is history. I was able to sell CIAS and RIT on the location and began the process of working with the landlord to design and build the space. Although there were budget constraints and other issues to deal with, I felt that we struck a good balance between size, layout, and accessibility. The gallery was divided into two exhibition spaces (along with a storage/workroom in the back) allowing for conventional wall hung display as well as video and multimedia. An added bonus was access to a loading dock and concrete floors that could support large sculpture and installation pieces. One of the key selling points that enabled the project to go forward was that Gallery r would become a showcase for all of the disciplines within CIAS. That, combined with its existing reputation within RIT and the Rochester arts community, ensured that it would go on to become one of the area’s premier exhibition spaces. It was a privilege to have been able to play a role in the reinvention of Gallery r into what it has become today.

My first reaction was, “This is it!!” Although it was nothing more than an empty section of warehouse/former industrial space, it was the perfect blank slate for designing and building the new Gallery r. The location was ideal, plenty of parking, walking distance to other galleries and restaurants, fantastic landlord, and an enthusiastic supporter of RIT and owner of the gallery right next door!


Our first gallery really was funky. It was such a strange place. When people went down there, the fine arts people really liked it. Like the galleries in New York, it was up to par with RIT’s image. We tried to make it more official-looking, but it so contrasted the campus. Zerbe Sodervick


kind of bizarre, strange…That first gallery wasn’t

Gallery r’s new location would share an entrance with Lumiere Photo at 100 College Avenue.

The in-progress exterior of the new College Avenue location.

The in-progress interior of the new College Avenue location.


Throughout the transition period, the Gallery r staff spray painted the trademark “r� in every place they could! 56

An off-site exhibition hosted by the Geisel Gallery, Bausch & Lomb

An off-site exhibition hosted by the manufacturing center of Bausch & Lomb

An off-site exhibition hosted by President Destler at Liberty Hill









2012 Exhibitions The CIAS Faculty/Student Invitational Redefining PCP: Poetry, Craft, & Performance School of Art Senior Illustration Juried Exhibition School of Art Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition School of Art/Teacher Invitational: A Celebration of Creativity & Teaching I Know You Through Pictures Vol. II Explorations: Recent Work from the School of Design CURE The Industrial Design Process An ID Process 3DD Graphics Defined Blurring Lines: Gareth Fitzgerald BeeEye installation The Print Club of Rochester’s Annual Membership Exhibition Patti Ambrogi: Geography of Desire/The Women Own Butler: False Memories Process: From Ideation to Realization

Events Grand Opening of Gallery r Rochester’s Fringe Festival




Putting up a video installation, with 6 projectors, is normally very stressful. The Gallery r team made sure everything went smoothly, and BeeEye played flawlessly for the entire duration. They even added the smell of honey, by placing two frames of comb on gold platters and lighting them dramatically. Cat Ashworth





2013 Exhibitions FLUIDITY: A Student/Alumni Competition CONTINUANCE: A Selection of Alumni Painting Senior Advertising Photo Exhibition School of Art Senior Illustration Exhibition Richard Hirsch School of Art Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition School for American Crafts Senior Exhibition School of Art: Artist/Teacher Invitational (MST & Alumni) Alumni Invitational/New Work Regional Colleges Invitational: Faculty Artists Season of Festivals: Frank Cost 82nd Annual Print Club of Rochester Member’s Exhibition School for American Crafts Graduates The Creative Process: From Ideation to Realization

Events RIT Fringe Festival Reception for Sponsors Book Signing: Scott Meyer & Richard Hirsch Book Signing: Season of Festivals



On my first official day of work, I took the time to wander through both spaces in the gallery and acquaint myself with the current show: A Season of Festivals, a series of continuous panorama photographs by Frank Cost. Imagine my surprise when I found myself in one of his pictures! I met him personally at the closing reception for the show, and his down-to-earth attitude and laidback nature helped me to feel more comfortable at my new job.


Angela Freeman





2014 Exhibitions Unexpected Imagery Relevant Influence SPAS Senior Advertising Photo Exhibition School of Art Senior Fine Arts Studio Exhibition School of Art Senior Illustration Exhibition School of American Senior Exhibition: Glass & Metals Artist/Teacher Invitational: A Celebration of Teaching Trienta y seis Puntos de Vista Memory City r in Print Notables Alchemic Elegy: Doug Manchee Arena @ Gallery r Great Expectations: RIT’s MFA Programs New Media Retrospective

Events Fringe Festival r Little Window Project I r Little Window Project II WITR @ Gallery r


Some of my best memories of Gallery r have been watching the reactions of children who visit the gallery. Kids with their big voices in the reverberant space asking “What’s that?!”, “Wow! Look at that one!”. There’s such honesty there, which is a wonderful advantage to having a university gallery positioned within the city. Doing inventory over the summer, I discovered a stash of balloons, so I try to always give them out to the kids who visit, hoping that gesture will give them the idea that this isn’t a silent intimidating place, but a friendly place for exploring and learning. I’ve seen Gallery r inspire a wide range of people, but the kids who visit will always be my favorite.

Laura Lee Jones


Gallery r is... ...environment Spacious, while intimate, an adaptable space where students sample and realistically model the viewing and potential purchase expectations existing between artists and their art viewing public. ...proximity Location within the gallery-rich ROC community provides students with a competitive platform for discovering, comparing and practicing the accouterments and styles of successfully managed art galleries. ...opportunity Taking advantage of outreach opportunities in the ROC art viewing community with artistic display options that garner positive first impressions between novice gallery managers and the art-viewing public. Always a friendly, nurturing mix of students with faculty, family, friends – old and new – and visitors that support the educational and social objectives of RIT in the Rochester area. Glenn C. Miller


Here’s to you, Zerbe! For the past 15 years, you’ve tirelessly worked to make Gallery r the wonderful place it is. Countless students, faculty members, and artists have gained so much from your efforts. All of the elements of this book - the stories, photographs, and exhibitions - wouldn’t have existed without you! On behalf of the RIT community, thank you for your dedication to this amazing hub for the arts!

John Retallack



A Note From the Editors As two seniors who have only known the Gallery r of College Avenue, it was so wonderful to explore the gallery’s dynamic history. We began this project as an assignment for the Imaging Workflows class, but it quickly became a labor of love as we spent countless hours with Zerbe recalling stories from the past 15 years at Gallery r. A huge thank-you goes out to Zerbe and the Gallery r staff, who have supported our efforts throughout the semester by helping us locate photographs, stories, posters, and event tickets! Finally, we thank Merlin Digital Printing Solutions for their assistance and printing services for the production of this book.