Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Art and Design is moving its gallery space to the Sibley Tower Building in downtown Rochester, where the newly named exhibition venue will invite the public to engage with RIT through creativity.
The new RIT City Art Space, opening in the fall, will be located at 250 E. Main St. on the first floor of the Sibley Building. It will add a new art, educational and event spot to the Midtown/East End district at the corners of East Avenue, Main and Franklin streets — visibly connecting the university with a redeveloping part of the city. It also marks a significant return to downtown Rochester for RIT, which relocated its main campus to Henrietta 50 years ago.
“I’m excited to see that this important development for the College of Art and Design, the university and the city of Rochester is coming to fruition,” said RIT President David Munson. “We have so much creative richness and ingenuity that we wish to share with a vibrant downtown that is enjoying an economic and cultural renaissance.”
While RIT City Art Space — like the college’s former Gallery r — will continue to serve as a gallery and exhibition venue for College of Art and Design students, faculty, alumni and visiting artists, the new space in Sibley Square will provide a creative platform for other events and programming that will increase outreach and engagement with alumni, K-12 populations and the downtown community at large.
“I am thrilled that we’ve secured this tremendous new exhibition venue and gathering place in the heart of the city,” said Robin Cass, interim dean of the College of Art and Design, formerly known as the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences.
“We envision RIT City Art Space as much more than a showcase for the remarkable work coming out of our college,” said Cass. “It will also be a platform from which we can engage with the Rochester community through culture and creativity. Our faculty and students have a great deal both to offer and to gain from such partnerships.”
John Aäsp, gallery director for the college, said it will be “exciting to add RIT’s creative energy to a historic location that’s being revitalized in downtown Rochester.”
“Gallery r opened its doors almost 20 years ago as a place for the Rochester community to gather and interact with RIT’s talented students, faculty, alumni and more,” said Aäsp. “We look forward to opening our doors even wider as we transition to the new RIT City Art Space.”
In addition to further demonstrating RIT’s commitment to experiential learning and social engagement — part of the university’s new strategic plan — the new location will give the college and university a high-profile presence at highly popular events such as the KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival — for which RIT is an educational sponsor — and the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival.
It also will enable the college to engage alumni who have positive associations with RIT’s downtown campus many years ago and the college to develop programming and educational opportunities for underserved, at-risk and continuing-education populations.
In the meantime, students in the college’s interior design program plan to use the move as an opportunity to develop innovative solutions for flexible space usage.
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