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Get To Know Us: Introductions

This is the first in a series of posts from the staff at Main Street Arts. We hope that this series will give a little insight into who we are, our backgrounds, and our interests. This will be an ongoing feature that will continue throughout the duration of our closure due to COVID-19.


 BRAD

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Bradley Butler, executive director and curator, drinking a beer in New York City

Hey! It’s Brad! I am the executive director and curator at Main Street Arts and I have been here since the gallery opened in 2013.

A meandering combination of work and school experiences brought me here. Oddly enough, I now work only 6 minutes from where I spent my first 23 years—I grew up on Clifton Street in Manchester. In high school I decided to pursue a degree in graphic design at Monroe Community College. I also worked at a print shop in Canandaigua after graduating from high school and worked there while going to college and afterward, for a total of 7 years. After 2.5 years at MCC—I stayed an extra semester to build a stronger portfolio—I decided to shift gears and pursue art education at Nazareth College. It was here that I took my first college-level painting class with one of my favorite painters, Kathy Calderwood. In her class, I became a painter!

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

Brad in his studio at RIT prior to graduation, circa 2010

After my first art teaching job —teaching 4th–6th grade kids— was cut from the budget, I decided to get an MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology so that I could teach at the college level. It was there that I worked with Zerbe Sodervick in an assistantship at Gallery r—at the time, this was a student run gallery located on Park Ave. I taught as an adjunct professor at RIT and SUNY Brockport, worked at Genesee Center for the Arts (now Flower City Arts Center), and had various non-art jobs before finding Main Street Arts.

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Installation shot of Sprawling Visions, the first show of 2020

Over the last 7 years at Main Street Arts, I have grown into my role here and appreciate its rewards and challenges. I feel lucky that I get to commute to work each day with my wife and that we share a tiny office together.


 SARAH

Sarah Butler the day she graduated from MICA

Sarah Butler, assistant director, the day she graduated from MICA

Hi, I’m Sarah, the assistant director of Main Street Arts.

I have been working here for just over three years — I started in January of 2017 — but I have been involved with the gallery in some fashion since it opened in 2013. I am married to Bradley, the executive director, and from the beginning I always volunteered to serve drinks at opening receptions, paint the gallery, and generally pitch in when needed.

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

Sarah, serving wine in the background during an opening reception

During the first four years of the gallery’s existence, when I wasn’t working here, Brad and I would take our dogs for walks in the evenings and we talked about all of the possibilities for Main Street Arts. I have felt a part of Main Street Arts from the beginning, even just through these conversations we had each evening. I am incredibly fortunate to now work here as we continue those conversations together each day work.

Sarah's studio

Sarah’s studio

My background is in graphic design. I attended Monroe Community College and graduated with an AAS in graphic design before transferring to Rochester Institute of Technology. During both my time at MCC and RIT, I worked at a local shop called Mobile Graphics. I graduated from RIT with a BFA in graphic design and eventually changed jobs. In 2010, I began working as a graphic designer at Finger Lakes Community College for the advancement department and worked there for 6 years. In May 2014, I decided to pursue an MPS (masters in professional studies) in the business of art and design through the Maryland Institute College of Art and graduated with my degree in mid-August 2015. Just one week after my graduation, I turned 30 and Brad and I took a great adventure down the California coast.

In addition to handling a lot of the behind-the-scenes happenings at Main Street Arts, I also design all of our marketing materials, website, and exhibition catalogs. I approach the world through the lens of a graphic designer. I am hyper organized, love schedules, and appreciate all things good design.


MARIA

Hello, this is Maria Galens, gallery assistant at Main Street Arts. I help out with whatever is needed to make the gallery run smoothly from painting walls and printing tags to re-designing the retail shop and communicating with retail artists.

A student working on a project from Maria's Winter Art Saturday class

A student working on a project from Maria’s Winter Art Saturdays class

I am also an art educator and teach art to kids through our Art Saturdays program, as well as veterans at the VA in Canandaigua. I thoroughly enjoy thinking about and creating art lessons for the variety of students I teach. For my education, I received my B.F.A. from Pratt Institute and went on to earn my M.S.Ed in K-12 Art Education at Nazareth.

Maria Galens' daughters, Penelope and Josephine

Maria Galens’ daughters, Penelope and Josephine

I have 2 children, Penelope – age 6, and Josephine – age 3, who are little budding artists and love to draw. I always have paper and markers available around the house so they can draw anytime they feel the desire. My ambition to create my own artwork has ebbed and flowed since becoming a mother, due to time restrictions and exhaustion, but I have managed to work on smaller projects, like small paintings and embroideries.

A painting in progress by Maria

A painting in progress by Maria

I recently started a larger acrylic painting that I am excited about! My children enjoy watching me draw and paint and it is a real joy to be able to pass onto them the artistic skills and creative thinking of being an artist!


RACHEL

Hi, I’m Rachel! I am the literary arts coordinator at Main Street Arts and you can normally find me at Sulfur Books, the Main Street Arts owned bookstore.

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator

I completed my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (with a focus in Russian) at the University of Rochester and went on to complete my master’s in English Literature there as well. During my time at the university, I can say that it was the internships and volunteering opportunities with Open Letter Books—a Rochester-based press that publishes literature in translation whose books we carry at the store—that left the greatest impression on me. I learned how prevalent contemporary literature in translation is, why we should all be reading living authors, and diversifying what we read.

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

The wall of Literature in Translation at Sulfur Books

While I was completing my master’s degree, I began freelancing for City Newspaper covering the literary community, and interviewing visiting authors. I was granted the opportunity to write a cover story about literary translators in Rochester who bring women’s voices to the spotlight. These translators’ roles are so significant to creating diversity in the literary arts. Marginality in literature has always interested me—the other or the subaltern; who speaks and who is spoken for. Throughout both my graduate and undergraduate careers, I focused on voice and representation. I spoke on two panels in New York (the New York Public Library and Columbia Teachers College) on women and madness in literature. After that, I presented at the University of Johannesburg and co-presented at the Catholic University of Portugal—each on Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera, through the lens of ecofeminism.


 

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.


Keep an eye out for next week’s Get To Know Us blog post, when we’ll let you know what we’re all reading!

 

From the Director: End of 2019 Edition

As I sit here and prepare myself to write this end of the year blog post, I find it hard to believe that a whole year has actually gone by; 2019 was a whirlwind of a year for us at Main Street Arts!

Installation shot from our residency alumni exhibition in April, featuring 43 former artists in residence

Installation shot from our residency alumni exhibition in April, featuring 43 former artists in residence

In our first full year as a 501(c)(3) non profit arts organization, we have been humbled and encouraged by the support of so many of you through our fundraising efforts. Your contributions help us to keep offering a variety of arts programming to our immediate community, our region, and beyond. Through our first Artist at the Table event and Residency Alumni Exhibition in April, we raised enough funds to start offering financial support to artists in residence. Starting in January 2020, we will be able to fully fund one resident per quarter and offer partial funding to accepted artists in residence in need. We welcomed 22 artists in residence in 2019 from 13 different states and 1 Canadian province. This is the most artists we’ve had come through the program in a single year!

Bill Stewart on the night of his opening reception for "Eccentric Energy"

Bill Stewart on the night of his opening reception for “Eccentric Energy”

"Perception of Time" included artwork by Carol Acquilano, Jim Garmhausen, Sue Leopard, Richard Margolis, Nick Marshall, Nancy Wiley, and Beckett Wood

“Perception of Time” included artwork by Carol Acquilano, Jim Garmhausen, Sue Leopard, Richard Margolis, Nick Marshall, Nancy Wiley, and Beckett Wood

2019 was also a great year for exhibitions at Main Street Arts.  From group exhibitions like Perception of Time, which explored our relationship to the concept of time; to solo exhibitions like Eccentric Energy, which highlighted the career of well-known Rochester sculptor Bill Stewart. We had a total of 16 exhibitions in 2019, 8 on the main floor and 8 in our second floor gallery space.

Sprawling Visions, January 11–February 14, 2020 — Reception: Saturday, January 18, 4–7 p.m.

Sprawling Visions runs Jan. 11–Feb. 14, 2020 — Reception: Saturday, Jan. 18, 4–7 p.m.

While I may be biased in saying this, 2020 is full of great exhibition programming as well. Starting off the year is Sprawling Visions, a 26 artist invitational of paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and photographs by artists from our region and beyond. Over the past 3 years of having our open call for work, many artist’s submissions have gone unanswered. I would consult the list to find artists for exhibitions we were planning and if there was a fit, I made contact. If not, the submission stayed active. This exhibition is an effort to answer that call and moving forward, all submissions to the open call will be answered twice per year. This exhibition will take place on both floors of the gallery.

Sneak peek at a painting that will be included in "Painters Painting Painters" by Rochester artist, Brian O'Neill.

Sneak peek at a painting that will be included in “Painters Painting Painters” by Rochester artist, Brian O’Neill.

In February, we’ll have another large group invitational on both floors with Painters Painting Painters. The exhibition consists of 22 artists from the Finger Lakes, Rochester, and Buffalo areas.  Each artist was tasked with making a painting of another artist in the exhibition and the result is a unique look at the variety of figurative painting being done by artists in our region. Additional work by each artist will also be shown, keep an eye out for the full list of artists to be announced soon!

Installation shot from "Silent Voices…Silent Rooms", Robert's solo exhibition in February of 2019

Installation shot from “Silent Voices…Silent Rooms”, Robert’s solo exhibition in February, 2019

We will also be adding a ninth exhibition to the main floor exhibition calendar in 2020. In December, we will have a special solo exhibition of new work by Robert Ernst Marx, which celebrates his 95th birthday!

ASAE students in grades 1–3 discuss ceramics as they look at this year's "The Cup, The Mug" exhibition

ASAE students in grades 1–3 discuss ceramics with instructor Pam Viggiani as they look at this year’s “The Cup, The Mug” exhibition

ASAE students in grades 4–6 show off artwork they made, inspired by Sylvia Taylor's "Pink Cloud" installation.

ASAE students in grades 4–6 show off artwork they made, inspired by Sylvia Taylor’s “Pink Cloud” installation.

The After School Art Experience at Main Street Arts has grown in it’s second year, as we now have two different sections, one for kids in grades 1–3 and another for kids in 4–6. We hit the ground running at the start of the 2019-2020 school year with twice the amount of students in each 4-week session over last year. So far, the students have discussed and made artwork based on a solo exhibition by Sylvia Taylor and they have seen artwork from around the country by a total of 156 artists in our Small Works and The Cup, The Mug exhibitions. This unique program  gives kids the opportunity to thoughtfully engage with the artwork in our exhibitions. They learn about the artists, their ideas and processes, and they make artwork based on what they are learning. We are proud of the program and thank instructor Pam Viggiani for cultivating a deeper appreciation for art in the kids in the program each week.

Mixed media leaf composition project at the Canandaigua VA

Mixed media leaf composition project at the Canandaigua VA

Weekly art classes at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center have been taught by gallery assistant and artist, Maria Galens. She has been doing weekly art sessions with the veterans consistently since February and will be continuing on into 2020. While we have been providing art workshops at the VA since 2014, this is the longest consecutive stretch of classes taught and we are thrilled to be there!

Assistant director, Sarah Butler and literary arts coordinator, Rachel Crawford at Sulfur Books on the first day of being open, Small Business Saturday

Assistant director, Sarah Butler and literary arts coordinator, Rachel Crawford at Sulfur Books on the first day of being open, Small Business Saturday

We hope that by now, you have all heard about the latest addition to Main Street Arts. We now own a bookstore on Main Street in Clifton Springs! Sulfur Books opened at 18 East Main Street on Saturday, November 30th and we couldn’t be happier. Sarah Butler, assistant director, Rachel Crawford, our new literary arts coordinator, and myself spent the month of November tirelessly renovating the storefront. In just 32 days, we moved the entire inventory of Explore! The Bookstore—which MSA board vice president Anne Mancilla gifted to us—built-out, painted, restocked, and rebranded the store.

Top left: Explore! The Bookstore prior to renovation; Top right: The bookstore during renovation; Bottom: Sulfur Books

Top left: Explore! The Bookstore prior to renovation; Top right: The bookstore during renovation; Bottom: Sulfur Books

Rochester-based author, Brian Wood reading from his new book, Joytime Killbox at the Sulfur Books grand opening event

Rochester-based author, Brian Wood reading from his new book, Joytime Killbox at the Sulfur Books grand opening event

The existence of Sulfur Books is the reason that we are now launching literary arts programming and we have many exciting programs and events to be announced. Be sure to follow Sulfur Books on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We will be launching the full website soon. Stay tuned!

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

The Main Street Arts crew: (left to right) Sarah Butler, assistant director; Maria Galens, gallery assistant; Rachel Crawford, literary arts coordinator; and Bradley Butler, executive director and curator.

From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of all of us at Main Street Arts, I would like to thank everyone who came to see an exhibition, attended an event, took a workshop or joined us for a residency. If you are interested in making a year-end contribution to Main Street Arts, you may do so on our website: MainStreetArtsCS.org/support. A donation of any amount will help to support our unique programming and keep us growing into the future. We look forward to seeing you in 2020!

Introducing Literary Arts Coordinator, Rachel Crawford

Rachel

I want to thank all of you for welcoming me to the Main Street Arts family as the new Literary Arts Coordinator. As I get to know Clifton Springs, I find that so much of the charm I love about Western New York is present and thriving—and I’m humbled to be part of the work Bradley and Sarah put into integrating the arts here. It’s remarkable that they see literature as integral to the arts and I couldn’t be more excited to share our upcoming events with the rest of you.

For the sake of providing a little background as to what literature means to me and what my experience entails, I completed my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature (with a focus in Russian) at the University of Rochester and went on to complete my master’s in English Literature there as well. During my time at the university, I can say that it was the internships and volunteering opportunities with Open Letter Books—a Rochester-based press that publishes literature in translation—that left the greatest impression on me. I learned how prevalent contemporary literature in translation is,  why we should all be reading living authors, and diversifying what we read.

IMG_3133

While I was completing my master’s degree, I began freelancing for City Newspaper covering the literary community, and interviewing visiting authors. I was granted the opportunity to write a cover story about literary translators in Rochester who bring women’s voices to the spotlight. These translators’ roles are so significant to creating diversity in the literary arts. Marginality in literature has always interested me—the other or the subaltern; who speaks and who is spoken for. Throughout both my graduate and undergraduate careers, I focused on voice and representation. I spoke on two panels in New York (the New York Public Library and Columbia Teachers College) on women and madness in literature. After that, I presented at the University of Johannesburg and co-presented at the Catholic University of Portugal—each on Zimbabwean author Yvonne Vera, through the lens of ecofeminism.

But these are just my interests—I want to know what you’re reading: science fiction? nonfiction? Or maybe you’re revisiting Little Women to prepare for the newest film adaptation. I know some people who solely read specific genres of graphic novels or who casually flip through the New Yorker every week. Maybe you listen to books during your long commute or during a run. I want to talk about all of that with you.

For those of you who may be curious, I’m currently reading Joytime Killbox—a collection of short stories by Rochester-based author Brian Wood (which hits shelves October 15th).  (Joytime Killbox is published by BOA Editions, also based in Rochester.) I’m also  reading On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, a melancholic and mournful rendering of a difficult relationship with a parent. (Of course, there’s a stack of books on my nightstand waiting to be read.)

IMG_0923

With Main Street Arts, I want to bring literature from independent publishers (especially our Western New York neighbors) to the forefront of our growing literary community. Moreover, I want to facilitate an inclusive space where readers can meet authors and poets and discuss what makes a work of fiction or poetry engaging. We will be hosting author visits, poetry readings, fiction workshops, a book club, and film screenings.—so stay tuned for more programs like these, yet to be announced.

Finally, a few fun facts about me: I’m the mother of a thirteen year-old boy who goes to the School of the Arts in Rochester, New York. We try to be adventurous about food, music, art, and by traveling whenever we can. I love a good glass of bubbly. My son and I enjoy camping––there’s no sound I love more than the Adirondack loons at night, paired with the stars during a new moon. But more than anything, I love meeting new people and exchanging ideas. As the saying goes, I’ve never met a stranger—so please come say hello to me at Sulfur Books!

Sincerely,

Rachel Crawford