Inside the Artist’s Studio with Rachel Cordaro

“Leave room for inspiration and the mood to create will present itself.”

~Rachel Cordaro

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Katie Finnerty

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Katie Finnerty

Hi! I’m Rachel Cordaro, a Rochester NY native- born and raised. I grew up with great encouraging artistic parents. I am the youngest of three hilariously endearing siblings. I have been an artist my whole life. Dabbling in art shows I decided to make it a permanent career in 2010. I am best known for my vibrant and cheerful floral paintings using acrylics on canvas as well as my hand crochet neck ruffs! Most recently I am taking my career to the next level as I have been pursuing the textile world! Putting my floral prints on pillows, tablecloths and other home fabrics!

My home studio! Photography by Kate Finnerty

My home studio! Photography by Kate Finnerty

What makes me tick!??
I am extremely passionate about what I do. I have a super supportive husband and family. Rochester makes me feel inspired to do what I do. It is truly a platform for entrepreneurs and a rich art community. Painting and textile work for me is therapeutic and fulfilling. There is no better feeling than expressing what is inside of me onto canvas and creating for the world to see.

My favorite part of what I do is having the luxury to be the BOSS!! I work best that way. I can create at my leisure and it is fantastic. Also I love that my husband Cordell and I are both artists so we can be on the same page.

Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers to paint. "Flower Market" Original Painting by Rachel Cordaro. Photography by Katie Finnerty

Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers to paint. “Flower Market” Original Painting by Rachel Cordaro. Photography by Katie Finnerty

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Hannah Betts

Artist Rachel Cordaro Photography by Hannah Betts

Stop by Main Street Arts to see Rachel Cordaro’s paintings and neck ruff in the gallery. Visit Rachel’s website at and follow her on Instagram @rachelcordaroart

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Jessie Marianacci Valone of jmv ceramics.

From The Director: Post One

One of the things that I have dreamt of for a long time (over a year!) is to write a reoccurring blog post from my point of view as a gallery director and a curator. So far, I have only dreamed. I have not yet put the pen to the paper… or in this case, the finger to the key. This changes now, with the first post. I will call this series From The Director, and I hope it will offer insight into the behind-the-scenes activity at the gallery along with my own perspective on exhibitions, artwork, and the artists themselves. This first post is a bit of a preview of what is coming up this year.


Sarah Butler – Gallery Manager and Graphic Designer

First, I would like to announce that my wife, Sarah Butler, has joined us at Main Street Arts. She started at the beginning of 2017 as our gallery manager and is also taking on all of the graphic design projects  at the gallery. She comes to us with a Masters in the Business of Art and Design from MICA and a BFA in Graphic Design from RIT. I know I am biased but she is a wonderful addition to the gallery team! If you have not had the chance to meet her yet, please feel free to introduce yourself the next time you come to the gallery.

Trying to Understand the World

Trying to Understand the World

2017 is going to be a great year for exhibitions at Main Street Arts! Our first show, Trying To Understand The World has just ended and was very well received. It was a great way to start out the year on a high point. You can read a review by Rebecca Rafferty here, in Rochester City Newspaper.

I will be discussing our next show, Alternative Photographic Process in a full post soon. Until then, here are a few highlights of other shows that are coming up this year:

Left: Untitled (encaustic colorfield) by John Greene, Right: Solana, (oil and gold leaf on canvas) by Robert Marx

Left: Untitled (colorfield) by John Greene, Right: Solana by Robert Marx

April 8–May 12, we are ecstatic to have an exhibition featuring John Greene and Robert Marx! The exhibition is called Re-emerging Artists and as the name suggests, these two artists have emerged, become established, and are now “re-emerging” to a new audience and a new generation. The show will feature more than 50 paintings, drawings, and sculptures by the two artists.


Our upcoming national juried exhibition, Utopia/Dystopia will open on May 20 and will be juried by John Massier, curator at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo. The deadline for submissions is March 27, and we welcome submissions in all media. Learn more about this call on our submissions page.

From Kathy Calderwood's Studio

From Kathy Calderwood’s Studio

Another exhibition of note, is our Upstate New York Painting Invitational at the end of the summer. It will open on August 26 and will feature painters in a variety of media and styles. I have been doing studio visits with painters in the region and will continue to do so as the exhibition begins to come together.

Visit our website and stay tuned to our social media outlets to learn more about these shows and the others that are coming up on both floors at Main Street Arts. We also have new artists in residence coming through the gallery for one or two-month residencies and a regular schedule of workshops.

We hope to see you at our next opening on Saturday, February 25, 4–7pm for Alternative Photographic Process. An exhibition of sketchbooks by Genine Carvalheira-Gehman and Andy Reddout also opens that same day in our second floor gallery space.

Meet the Artist in Residence: Jacquelyn O’Brien

Jacquelyn O’Brien is an artist in residence at Main Street Arts. She’s working in one of our two studio spaces during the months of January–February 2017 (you can stop by the gallery to see her studio and works in progress). We asked Jacquelyn a few questions about her artwork, life, and more:

Jacquelyn O'Brien in her residency studio

Jacquelyn O’Brien in her residency studio

Q: To start this off, tell us a little about your background.

A: I’ve always been a visual person and art appreciator. I’m in love with the visual world and the work it produces. I got my undergraduate degree at the University at Buffalo State College in Sculpture, did a residency in Belle, MO between degrees, and then went to graduate school at the Rochester Institute of Technology, earning a degree in Studio Arts Sculpture. I am the oldest of five children and grew up in a single parent home with my mom. I think this is what made me a feminist. Being my mothers daughter has made me the way I am, being raised by a strong, independent woman.

Jacquelyn O'Brien, "Glitter Queen", cedar, glitter, yarn, 3' x 4', 2016.

Jacquelyn O’Brien, “Glitter Queen”, cedar, glitter, yarn, 3′ x 4′, 2016.

Jacquelyn O'Brien, "Influence Each Other", 3' x 3', cedar, yarn, fiber, 2016.

Jacquelyn O’Brien, “Influence Each Other”, 3′ x 3′, cedar, yarn, fiber, 2016.

Q: How would you describe your work?

A: I would describe my work as being a blending and multiplicity of materials. I combine materials that are traditionally “masculine” or “feminine”, harkening to the mixing of gender identifications in our current culture. My work uses the influence of color, weight, scale, gesture, politics, and materiality.

Cunt Cushions by Jacquelyn O'Brien

Cunt Cushions by Jacquelyn O’Brien

Fabrics in Jacquelyn's residency studio

Fabrics in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Materials for Jacquelyn's embroidered hoops

Materials for Jacquelyn’s embroidered hoops

Q: What is your process for creating a work of art?

A: My process varies depending on what I’m working on to fulfill the individual needs of each piece. If I’m casting concrete, my process requires more planning in the way of mold making, supplies, armatures, and calculating weight. As a result, I would sketch in a very detailed way, with schematics and details that would help me efficiently create a piece. If I’m making a fabric work, like an embroidery or cunt cushion, I can take more risks and employ more off-the-cuff choices. I always do a small, messy sketch of what I’m thinking about and where I want the work to go before any piece is made. I also like to pin samples of materials on my cork board to see them all together.

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn's residency studio

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn's residency studio

Preparatory materials in Jacquelyn’s residency studio

Q: What are your goals for this residency? 

A: My goal for this residency is to focus on the more time consuming, lighter work that contributes to my heavier, bigger work. I’m working on three large embroideries that have political content stitched upon them. I am in process of constructing a 4×4 foot embroidery that requires me to build out a custom hoop, so that will be an interesting new endeavor!

Jacquelyn at work in her residency studio

Jacquelyn at work in her residency studio

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m the founder of a group called the Politits Art Coalition and we have a lot coming up in the next few months. In March, the PAC is showing their work at Gallery Q on College Street in Rochester. Then we’re curating a Women’s Work show in the same month at The Yards Collaborative Art Space. We’re having a show at The Yards featuring work by the six members of the PAC in April as well. Also, I will have a solo show this summer! Stay tuned for dates and locations.

Jacquelyn and Carolina

Jacquelyn and her studio helper Carolina

Q: Where can we find you?

A: You can find my work on my website You can also find me on Facebook at Jacquelyn O’Brien : Art, on Etsy as AFeministKillJoy, and on Instagram @dogmomm. If you’re looking to see my work in person it is always up at Dichotomy Rochester, located at The Yards. There is a changing display with work for sale. You can email me at

Embroidered hoops by Jacquelyn O'Brien

Embroidered hoops by Jacquelyn O’Brien

Rude Embroidery Workshop with Jacquelyn O’Brien
Saturday, February 18th, 12pm–3pm | $35 per person

Create your own sassy embroideries with fiber artist Jacquelyn O’Brien! In this workshop you’ll play with colored embroidery floss, funky beads, fun fabrics, and fringe to make four-inch “rude embroideries”. 

No need to be polite in this workshop, your rude embroidery can say what you really want to say! Laugh and have a good time while stitching out your innermost thoughts and feelings. 

Call, email, or visit our website to reserve your spot.
(315) 462-0210 |

Are you an artist looking for new opportunities? Apply for a residency at Main Street Arts! Artists in residence will have 24-hour access to a large studio on our second floor (with great natural light), the option to show work in the gallery, and the opportunity to teach paid workshops. Housing is available. Submissions are reviewed and residencies awarded quarterly.

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Jessie Marianacci Valone: jmv ceramics

My name is Jessie Marianacci Valone and I am a potter and owner of jmv ceramics.  I grew up in the Finger Lakes area and currently live in Bristol, NY with my husband and two labradors, Lola and Buxton.

IMG_2832 IMG_0387_2

With a focus on utilitarian pottery forms, I strive to create beautiful, well crafted, functional forms that people will enjoy and use for display and engagement in the home and day to day life.

I began my artistic career in graphic design but have been working in clay for about 5 years now.  I became hooked when I took an elective class at school and wound up spending the majority of my time in the clay studio.  I switched my major the next semester and have been working in clay ever since.  I enjoy working with my hands and have an appreciation for the handmade. 


I completed a year apprenticeship at the Rochester Folk Art Guild in Middlesex, NY as well as three summer internships with Kate Symmonds at Coach Street Clay in Canandaigua, NY.  I recently graduated from Alfred University with my BFA and have been working as a studio potter ever since.

I create my functional pottery forms with the potters wheel and  hand alterations, using a cone 6 porcelaneous clay body.

When I am creating a new piece I begin by sketching out forms
and surface designs ideas.


I then make paper cut outs to further investigate the form before moving to the wheel and creating it in 3D.


I use simple glazes to accentuate the generous and sturdy form and quiet the surface, allowing for a focus on form without distraction.

I also use a variety of colored slips and tools to create different surface designs.  This allows for the surface to be painterly yet still influenced by my graphic design background.

IMG_1040 jmv1

The surfaces are pleasant, calm, stable, sturdy, generous, and clean. The work gives off a cool, refreshing feeling through the color palette I have chosen.


The colors are these of natural elements; skyline, beautiful clouds, reflections in the lake, smooth river-stones in the creek-bed, waves crashing on the shoreline, reflections on the water or the inside of
a seashell. These are all places I pull inspiration from.

 IMG_9698outerbanks 060

The forms are sturdy, strong, generous and made for use. They are designed to be pleasant to look at and to function well. I hope that even the smallest of details such as the way the handle fits in your hand or the angle of the lip are pleasant areas for use.



Craftsmanship and handwork are important aspects of my work.
I find tremendous value working with my hands along with the physical demands and intellectual choices I make in my practice
keep my work exciting and keep me continuing to work. I strive
to advance my skills as a potter through the process of research, planning and repetition.

I work in a production based practice while still maintaining a
high level of quality, thought/context and energy in the work.


Bringing something new and thoughtful into the world generates sense of meaning and fulfillment.  There are so many avenues you can take with clay and the opportunities are endless, this keeps me striving to create.

Stop by Main Street Arts to see work by jmv ceramics in the gallery shop! Visit Jessie’s website at Like her Facebook Page and follow her on Instagram @jmvceramics.

Take a look at our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by Brooklyn artist Anne Muntges.