Our Mission

We create dialogue & build community through contemporary art.

Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) is a venue for the exchange of ideas and a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) that was founded in 1977. As a center for thoughtful contemporary art, RoCo provides unique encounters for audiences and extraordinary opportunities for artists.

To support this mission RoCo:

  • Offers thoughtful contemporary art programming of all disciplines.
  • Presents the work of both renowned and emerging artists from New York State and beyond.
  • Provides exhibition, educational and networking opportunities for artists.
  • Actively seeks unique voices and new audiences from diverse backgrounds.
  • Initiated and administers First Friday Citywide Gallery Night for the City of Rochester.
  • Fosters collaborative partnerships with other arts organizations and artists.
  • Builds community by bringing artists, patrons, students, teachers and enthusiasts together.
  • Is a gathering place for artists, audiences, and the local community.
  • Is a neighborhood anchor for artistic activity and unique encounters in downtown Rochester.

A Message from our Director

On behalf of our staff and volunteers, it is my pleasure to welcome you. Over the last four decades, RoCo has grown from a small 300sq. ft. storefront to our Downtown location on East Avenue. We've exhibited and supported thousands of artists of all disciplines, played a significant role in the 'artist-run space' movement of the 70s & 80s, and partnered with many organizations to help grow the art community in our region.

I am honored to serve as director of an organization with such a rich history and an important place in the New York State art community. I work with an amazingly dedicated team. We're all committed to developing programs and collaborations, supporting the creation of original artworks, bringing new artists to Rochester, and increasing RoCo’s long-term capacity. As we celebrate our 40th Anniversary season, and the important milestone of 1,000 members for the first time ever, I hope you'll join us. Please consider becoming a member and helping us advance contemporary art in downtown Rochester.

–Bleu Cease, Executive Director/Curator

Visit Us

Hours

Wednesday - Sunday 12 - 5pm / Friday 12 - 9pm. Visit us on First Friday!

Parking

Street parking is free on weekends & after 6pm. Or use the East End Garage.

Accessibility

Our main gallery is fully wheelchair accessible.

Photos

Photography is allowed and encouraged.
Instagram: @RoCo137

Bag Policy

Bags/backpacks can damage art. You may be asked to leave your bag at the front desk.

Groups

We'd love to host your group for a tour or special event. Call us: (585) 461-2222

Our History


RoCo was founded as the Pyramid Gallery

In 1977, a small group of artists led by Tony Petracca, John Kavanaugh and Albert Robbins joined together to exhibit their artwork, present an alternative to museums and commercial galleries, and expand the cultural offerings in the region.

Early on, the crew faced considerable obstacles. Only days after the grand opening there was a significant fire that left the small Monroe Ave. storefront and many artworks damaged. Fundraisers were held and walls were rebuilt. Thanks to the perseverance of the founders and their fellow artists, the Rochester art community has been the beneficiary ever since. After formalizing the organization began to receive New York State and foundation funding and soon began to play a significant role in the artist-run space movement of the era. Still there was uncertainty and challenges. The Culture Wars and shifting foundation priorities altered the funding landscape. Through the decades and several different locations, RoCo’s individual members have provided a stable base for the organization. This significant community support has enabled RoCo to survive and thrive when other small art centers have struggled and even closed their doors. In recent years RoCo’s membership and stature has grown significantly. Now as we celebrate our 40th Anniversary, we've achieved outright ownership of our facility and are approaching 1,000 members for the first time in the organization’s history.

1977

Founded

A small group of artists joined together to exhibit their artwork and expand the cultural offerings in the region.
1988

Village Gate

After several moves, we relocated to the 3rd floor of Rochester's urban mall in the Neighborhood of the Arts.
2001

East Avenue

We rebranded and moved into our current location in downtown Rochester's East End neighborhood.
2017

We Own It!

Thanks to the support of over 400 donors, we paid off our building!

Our Facility

Learn about 137 East Avenue. Written by Landmark Society of WNY.

Erected in 1924 by developer John J. MacMaster, the two-story building was designed “to be equal in attractiveness to the up-to-date Fifth avenue shops in New York city,” according to a contemporary newspaper story.

RoCo is located in a neighborhood that’s experienced a dramatic transition over the past 100 years. Early 20th-century photos of the East Avenue/Scio Street area show a vastly different landscape, that featured mostly houses – not commercial buildings! Read more...


Our Team

Bleu Cease, Executive Director / Curator email
Carly Cook, Volunteer 6x6 Specialist
Brent Joseph, Design Volunteer
Kaitlin Keyes, Gallery Assistantemail
Demi Monachino, Gallery Assistant
Nicole Oliver, Volunteer 6x6 Specialist
Claudia Pretelin, West Coast Liaison
Siena Pullinzi, Intern
Jess Scipione, Volunteer Membership Coordinator
Seriously Amazing Occasional Volunteers:
Mary Alkins
Wes Boyce
Chris Frank
Stephen Hill
Leslie Lindler
Jeffrey Nicholson
Dave Pisher
Julie Wilkins
... and so many more!
Colleen Buzzard, Artist & Curator
Bleu Cease - Executive Director / Curator
Mark Cleary - Vice President, Business Owner
Andrew Q. Conroy, Educator
Stewart D. Davis - Vice President, Attorney / Collector
Ann Konar - Secretary, Educator
Frank Logan, Marketing Consultant
John E. Lovenheim, Retired Business Owner
Constance Mauro - President, Artist
Shree Pandya, Physical therapist & Educator
Jerry Wells, Financial Services Executive, Financial Freedom Group
Craig J. Zicari, Esq., Attorney, Harter, Secrest & Emery (retired 2016)
Wendell Castle Artist
Rome Celli Realtor, Collector
Anne Havens Artist
Grant Holcomb, Retired Director, Memorial Art Gallery
Cinda Kelly, Artist
George Leopard, Owner, Linc Management
Janet Lomax, Journalist
Robert Marx, Artist
Antonio Petracca, Former Director of Pyramid Gallery
Eric Rodriguez, Program Manager at Xerox
Vicki Schwartz, Community Volunteer
Elaine M. Spaull, Ph.D., City Council / Executive Director, Center for Youth Services
Mimi Tilton
Pat Tobin, S&T Bank
Allen Topolski, Artist / Professor, University of Rochester
Eric I. Zeller, Retired Business Owner

Get Involved

Volunteer at RoCo

Weekly Volunteer

We're looking for energetic, friendly, and skilled individuals who are enthusiastic about contemporary art. Volunteers will help out with a variety of project including administrative work, art installation, distributing information, and organizing events. We aim to build long-term relationships with dedicated volunteers and prefer those who can commit to 6.5 hours per week. If you're not available this often, but would still like to get involved, send us an email anyway. We might have the perfect project for you.

Call or Email us:
tel: (585) 461-2222
email: info@rochestercontemporary.org

We need you!

6x6 is an incredible fundraiser and huge community initiative. We're seeking energetic, friendly, and skilled individuals to help make this annual, international small art phenomenon a success!

Volunteers will assist with a variety of tasks including art installation, greeting visitors, helping with artwork sales, promotion etc.

If you would like to be a part of 6x6, please contact us:

tel: (585) 461-2222
email: info@rochestercontemporary.org

Intern

We're also looking for professional and reliable for a year-long internship position. The ideal candidate is working toward a career in arts administration, non profit management, public relations, marketing, curation, or exhibition design. Applicants must possess written and verbal communication skills, work well under pressure, have excellent time management and organizational skills. Applicants should also exude maturity, have a clean and professional appearance, and possess excellent interpersonal skills.

Interns will have the opportunity learn about: Greeting visitors, gallery admissions, general administration, artist and project research, event organizing, social media and promotions, art installation and art handling .

Requirements:
• Applicants making a commitment of 18 hours per week for a full year will be considered first
• General computer skills and familiarity with Macs. Proficiency with Adobe CS are a plus
• Writing, editing and proof-reading skills
• Internship is unpaid, college credit is offered with cooperation of school officials.

RoCo interns gain professional workplace experience in a fast-paced. Interns are involved with all aspects of running and growing an active arts organization with a long, rich history. Different schedules can be accommodated in exceptional situations. Please send your resume, brief statement of interest, and availability to:

RoCo Internship Program
137 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14604
tel: (585) 461-2222
email inquiries and questions to: info@rochestercontemporary.org

Contact

Thank you for visiting.

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