Why We Need to Support the Arts

On July 17, 2020, the world lost a true American hero, a fierce fighter for justice and humanity,  and an — unknown to many, including me — strong supporter of the arts, with the death of the Honorable John Lewis.

While reading about his life and legacy, I learned that he himself was a talented photographer who understood the power of a photograph to bear witness to the Civil Rights Movement, and the role of photography in the fight for change.  And that he was the author of the legislation that established the National Museum of African American History and Culture within the Smithsonian (a fantastic museum and highly recommended if you’ve never been.)

Lewis was also an avid supporter of museums and a lifelong patron and collector of art. In a recent article in Oprah Magazine, he said he couldn’t do without art. He said he became friends with African American artists at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and added: “Without their images, I don’t know what would have happened to many of us. Art can take you to another place—and their pieces said we could dream dreams and be a better people.”

He even published a graphic novel trilogy, “March”,  (in collaboration with artist Nate Powell and writer Andrew Aydin) detailing his lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, in which he shared this statement:

“Without the arts, without music, without dance, without drama, without photography, the civil rights movement would have been like a bird without wings.”

It made me realize how truly fortunate I am to have access to arts in my life, especially considering the incessant stream of ‘bad news’ we are all subjected to: increasing covid 19 deaths, the plague of locusts in East Africa, violent federal intervention during peaceful protests in Portland, daily Femicides in Turkey, and the minute to minute assaults on members of the BIPOC community happening all around us (to name a few of the ills of the day).

Art is our savior in times like this. Art provides us a mental escape, it enriches our days, it provides a positive way to express and heal ourselves, it touches others and connects us. Art is just so important.

Yet, in the few weeks since my last post, I myself haven’t made much art. I’ve felt burdened by the daily worries of what is going on with the world, my regular work schedule (which is getting busier and busier), and my efforts to both learn about race issues in America and be an active non-performative anti-racist. It’s a lot. But I feel the absence of art in my life and I want it back. It doesn’t have to be a ‘this’ or ‘that’ conversation.

One way to participate in the arts is to support organizations that are doing great work, and especially those that support BIPOC communities. One such organization is the Flower City Arts Center right here in Rochester, NY. The FCAC, or ‘the Center’ as we affectionately call it, offers arts programming to people of all ages and abilities, regardless of constructs like race and gender. They are now offering virtual classes as well as small instructor-led classes in all three program areas: photography, ceramics and book arts. They offer summer camps and after-school programming, and they support marginalized groups like women’s veterans and students of city schools where arts programming has been severely cut. But they are struggling in this economic climate, and need our help.

If you are in a position to support the arts through a financial donation, I highly recommend donating to the FCAC. I have personally been supporting their programs and appeals for over 15 years, and as a former artist in residence, former youth program teacher, former Board President, and current member and volunteer, I have seen first hand the positive impact their programs have on our community. In the spirit of John Lewis, standing up for the things that make a difference, using my voice to make change, and providing opportunities for others to join in that change, I ask for your help. Please consider a donation to the FCAC. Every dollar counts!


My Artist Talk is Live on YouTube!

On May 31, as part of the May Artist Talk Series sponsored by the Flower City Arts Center, I delivered a short lecture on my journey as a kallitype print maker. It was a great experience, and I was thrilled to be a part of it and to share this process that I really love!

During the talk, I showed some of my past alternative process work leading up to my  focus on kallitypes, plus I illustrated (through GIFs) the kallitype process, and shared recent work. I spoke for roughly 40 min and then there was another 20 or so minutes of Q&A.

Here is the link if you missed it and would like to watch:

The rest of the May artist talks can be seen on the YouTube channel for the Flower City Arts Center. Click here to see the recordings of presentations by Fernando Muller, Linda VanArtsdalen and Jonathan Merritt.

The Artist Talk Series continues in June with more exciting artists! If you’re interested to sign up and attend, they are free, but you do need to register. Click here to read more about the upcoming talks. To sign up, just scroll down on the page and click the ‘Register for this Class’ link!

If you have any questions or comments please let me know! You can email me directly at kallitypegirl@gmail.com.

Artist Talk – this Sunday, May 31!

Hi everyone!

Just a quick reminder that this upcoming Sunday, May 31, is my Artist Talk, which is the final talk for the month-of-May-Sunday-Afternoon-Artist-Talk series sponsored by the Department of Photography and Digital Arts at the Flower City Arts Center. 

We will start promptly at  1:00 pm Eastern Time. For those of you in other time zones: this is 10:00 am Pacific Time / 11:00 am Mountain Time / 12:00 pm Central Time /  18:00 pm British Summer Time / 19:00 pm Central Europe Summer Time.

These talks are free and open to the public, no matter if you are local here in Rochester or somewhere else in the world. You just need to register so you can receive the Zoom link to join in: https://www.rochesterarts.org/classes/artist_talks_online_spring_2020/


My plan is to present for 30-40 min, show new work, talk about the kallitype process, what inspires me, and my current projects. Then we’ll have a few minutes for Q&A. We should be finished within an hour. I’ve really enjoyed the other artist talks in the series, and am excited to share my work and this process with you!

During the talk, I’m also hoping to show a few short kallitype process videos I put together on Youtube. I’m not confident the audio will work through Zoom, and depending on your connection the video may not be super clear, so I’m including this links here too in case you want to watch before, during or after!

PS – We are planning to record the session, and as soon as the full talk is available I will share a link to it here as well.

Do You Know About Rochester’s Darkroom Club?

Hi everyone!

I’m pretty fortunate to be part of an inspiring community of artists here in Rochester, NY. For almost 2 decades, I’ve been taking classes and making work at the Flower City Arts Center, learning various alternative photographic processes, and making friends. Does that seems weird? I’ll bet if you’re a traditional analog photographer who works in your home darkroom, you may often feel (and relish) the isolation of that dark space, which doesn’t feel akin to ‘making friends’…but at the Center, those of us renting the public darkrooms have come to know and respect each other, and we often share our work to get advice and share ideas.

It’s a great creative community, one that I cherish now more than ever, especially in this ‘age’ (it’s only been two months, but it feels longer!) of self isolation.

Darkroom Club – looks more formal than it is!

Prior to coronavirus, the Department of Photography and Digital Arts at the Center created a Darkroom Club. There’s no specific webpage for the club, but there is a Facebook page, and we were meeting once a month for a couple hours to mingle with each other, share our latest work, and brainstorm ideas for exhibits. It was awesome to be able to see everyone’s photos, hear their critiques, ask questions, and in general, feel inspired by each other’s creativity – often in the form of photo books, zines, prints, collages, etc.

Darkroom Club – sharing work

Now that we are all staying at home, we’ve had a gap of time with no physical meetings, and I was really missing them. Until just recently, when we started meeting via Zoom! Being able to see everyone’s faces, see their work (either by them holding actual prints in front of their laptop camera, or screen sharing through the app), and chat about what we are doing to stay positive, stay engaged, stay busy, and stay creative has been awesome. Really great.

I believe the Darkroom Club is open to anyone who is an active Community Darkroom user or darkroom enthusiast. (You don’t need to be a member, though most of us are). If this sounds like you, and you are craving some interaction, join us! And if you’re not on Facebook, let me know and I can connect you with the club admin!

Coming soon: Virtual Artist Talks!

Welcome to May! It’s definitely spring here in Rochester, per the calendar, and according to the flowers….but winter is still trying to keep it’s icy hold with flurries, overnight freezes, and more dull gray skies. Despite all that, one bright spot is that more and more arts organizations, museums, educational institutions and galleries are getting creative with ways for us all to engage with the arts online!

For example, the Department of Photography and Digital Arts at the Flower City Arts Center has organized this series of upcoming virtual Artist Talks for the month of May:

  • Sunday, May 10, 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST – Fernando Muller (current FCAC artist in residence; this one already happened, but when the Youtube link is available, I’ll update this post)
  • Sunday, May 17, 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST – Linda Van Artsdalen (fiber and alternative photographic process artist – AMAZING work)
  • Saturday, May 23, 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST – Jonathan Merritt (current FCAC alternative photographic process artist and teacher – and the person who taught me kallitypes!)
  • Sunday, May 31, 1:00 to 2:00 pm EST – me! I’ll be talking about my kallitypes and showing current work.

These talks are free and open to the public, no matter if you are local here in Rochester or somewhere else in the world. You just need to register so you can receive the Zoom link to join in: https://www.rochesterarts.org/classes/artist_talks_online_spring_2020/

Each talk runs roughly an hour with approximately 30 min for the artist’s presentation and then time for Q&A. They are also being recorded, and I’ll make another post with the Youtube links once the series concludes.
I’m excited to be one of the presenters, rounding out the month with the final talk for May!  Please mark your calendars and plan to join me!

Alternate Paths Exhibit – Coronavirus Update #2

Well folks, we are just a day away from what was to be the closing reception for the Alternate Paths group exhibit (scheduled for this Friday, May 1st), but since we are still under the New York State on Pause executive order, it isn’t happening. Not tomorrow anyway…

Not gonna lie, I am feeling bummed that no one can see the work in person. But, to help share it virtually, in addition to the 7+ minute video tour I shared in the last blog post,  I’ve made a few mini videos spotlighting the work of each artist in the show. They definitely don’t do the work justice, but they are better than nothing! And if you’ve been following me on instagram, you’ve probably already seen them (albeit, chopped into pieces)…but here are links to all the full videos for reference:

Now that we’re at the end of our 7th week of self isolation, with non-essential businesses still closed, people are starting to feel the crunch, and artists are particularly hard hit, as educational institutions where we teach and take classes, galleries where we exhibit, studios where we make work, etc., are all closed. But many of us are still making work at home and selling our work online as best we can (more on what I’ve been doing in the next post!).

As a reminder, all of the works in this exhibit (except for the pieces by Bill Bates), are for sale. If you’re interested in helping us out by making a purchase, you can:

PS: we are still in talks with the folks running the Nu Movement Studio gallery to discuss extending the show so that ‘when things finally open back up’ (will this ever happen??), we can have a small reception before we de-install. Another idea is to do a ‘live’ virtual reception that you can see via video afterward…..Stay tuned!

Alternate Paths Exhibit – Coronavirus Update

Friday, April 3, was supposed to have been the opening reception for the Alternate Paths group exhibit…..but no.  As with the rest of the world, our community has been impacted by coronavirus, and though we are not exactly on lock down here in Rochester, NY, the ‘New York State On Pause’ executive order has required all non-essential businesses to close, and has prohibited public gatherings where social distancing measures aren’t possible. Thus, no opening reception.

The Alternate Paths promotional postcard

The show was installed a couple weeks back, on Saturday, March 14, which was just days before things started closing down locally. (Seems like ages ago now though….) We actually briefly debated if we should put the show up or not; the crisis was just emerging which made everything feel up in the air, but the studio was still open. So we decided to go for it.

Everyone pitched in and the show went up pretty easily in just over an hour. Considering we had work by five different artists, of all different sizes, and that we hadn’t seen each other’s work before we got to the gallery to install the show (thus it wasn’t pre-sequenced), this was a feat. And if you’ve ever installed a show before you can appreciate this!

Special thanks go out to Danielle at the studio who helped with tools and hanging, so we were all able to split up and take different walls. Here are a few photos showing us installing the show, the gallery lighting and the space.

As soon as the exhibit was up, in anticipation of the fact that we might have to postpone or even cancel the opening reception, I did a Facebook Live video of the show, and then made a short iphone video to share on Youtube (7:22 min).  We were all in agreement that if it made sense to cancel we’d cancel, but we still wanted to have a way to share the work.

In the end, the studio closed about a week later, and though the show is up now til May 1st, there’s no way to see it in person. We are still hopeful things will improve so our ‘closing reception’ (scheduled for that Friday, May 1st) will give us the chance to celebrate the work together, in person, with all of you.  We are also talking about possibly extending the show a little longer, and I’m working on making more videos to highlight the work of each artist. Stay tuned for more details!

In the meantime, hope you are all staying safe and healthy out there!

Save the Date! “Alternate Paths” Opens Friday, April 3

I’m super excited to announce the upcoming exhibit Alternate Paths, a group show featuring new work by photographers Pat Bacon (photogravures), Marianne Pojman (fiber prints toned with tea, coffee and sepia), Bill Bates (lith prints), Jon Merritt (cyanotypes) and me (kallitypes). It will open at the Nu Movement Studio with a reception on Friday, April 3, 2020, and will close with a (2nd) reception on Friday, May 1, 2020.

For this exhibit, I asked a few of my friends whose work I admire if they would be interested in doing a group show…we started talking about the concept in the fall of 2019, and after they all expressed interest, I went back into the darkroom to make some new negatives and test my old chemistry. I was pleasantly surprised that all of my silver nitrate, ferric oxalate, developer, fixer and toner was still good, after it had sat all summer with no love!  So I was able to get right to work with a new group of images, this time focusing on doors, windows, architectural details, and because I can’t help it, more botanicals! Here are a few draft prints that I’ve been working on:

A few of my recent works

Have you been to the Nu Movement Studio before? It’s a great little space that is typically filled with yoga and other fitness classes by day/night, which uses their wall space to support local artists. Exhibits are installed roughly a month before the opening reception, so artists get exposure for a two-month span through folks attending classes and events, and through the two receptions that the gallery allows the artists to run.

A couple views of the Nu Movement Studio with different exhibits

They don’t charge to use the space, don’t take any commissions on sales, and they assist the artists with printing of statements and labels and with the installation of the show.  They have receptions for their exhibits on the first Friday of each month, usually from around 6 to 9  pm. It’s a pretty rare opportunity for artists, and one that is greatly appreciated! Here’s some info on where they are located:

I’m hoping to share another post as we get closer to the exhibit, but for now, just a little teaser to get you to mark your calendars!


Using Photography to Foster Community

About 5 years ago, a small group of co-workers and I put up a photo exhibit in a big empty room (the ‘Purple Room’) at our work, featuring a theme of “Nature”. Our goal was just to highlight work by the few of us that regularly take photos, and add some visual interest to a big empty space. We thought it would be a one-time thing, something fun to do since there was lots of wall space left unadorned after a building expansion.

But the space was large, and there were initially only 6 of us who knew we had work that fit the theme, so in the spirit of wanting to fill the space, we invited everyone in the company who might also have a nature photo to join us. We were pleasantly surprised when a number of other employees submitted work, and together we showed something like 30 images! Little did we know, but we started something GOOD!

Our first exhibit, focused on Nature

We followed the “Nature” show with one featuring Architecture, and another group of employees joined us! It felt like we had hit on something that was really resonating, building morale, and providing another reason to get together once in a while and celebrate each other.

Attendance at our exhibits is always great!

A year later, we had had 3 exhibits and there was a buzz around the building when the shows would open, and a curiosity among everyone as to what theme would come next. It was an exciting time!

Then, some of my co-workers nominated me for an award for the work I did to establish regular exhibits, including building a photo committee, reviewing all the submitted photos, ordering prints, helping folks with matting and framing, making tags and promoting the show internally using our own in-house social media. Basically, creating something everyone could participate in, in some way, either as a photographer or a viewer.  And after back to back nominations (two years in a row), I was honored to win the annual IDI Billing Solutions IDIology Award!

Me with my IDIology award

Fast forward through the years, and as our building was renovated, IDI’s leadership team decided to carve out a dedicated gallery space, with a proper rail-hanging system and spot lighting, just so we could continue showing our work! On top of that, almost half of all employees have participated in at least one exhibit, and we’ve exhibited a variety of themes, including Travel, Animals, People, Black & Whites, Action Shots and Seasons. The gallery is even featured on the company website as one of the perks of working at IDI!!

A couple shots from recent exhibits in our new gallery space (at left, “Animals”, at right, “Black and Whites”)

Then last year, we were asked to expand our exhibits to another wall which is part of IDI’s entry area and visible to all visitors. We’re using this space to focus on individual employees, calling it an ‘Artist Spotlight’. So at any point in time, we have two exhibits going on, the greater gallery group show and the mini individual show! And now that we’ve had numerous exhibits, fellow employees have started to develop bodies of work, noting the themes they are most drawn to, and improving their skills by taking more and more photos.

Me with my mini Employee/Artist spotlight exhibit at work (November 2019 to January 2020)

And just last week, we installed our 9th exhibit, featuring Macro images, and it looks fantastic! Leading up to it, groups of us met at lunch time to talk about taking macro images and to play with macro lens attachments for our phones, and most of us ended up making new work just for this theme. (Themes are suggested by and voted on by all employees….)

A group of us at the soft opening of our 9th exhibit, “Macros”

I am grateful for my fellow committee members, without whom these exhibits wouldn’t happen, and hugely thankful for the support of our company; I feel lucky to work at IDI, and for these experiences which are so fulfilling, allowing us to get to know each other better. Photography has provided us a way develop a sense of community  and a connection beyond the regular comradery of just working on projects together. And I look forward to the next years as we continue to come up with new themes and encourage even more employees to get involved!

The Post-Holiday Pop-Up Shop Update….

Here we are about to enter the last week of January, and I am just finally feeling like there is some breathing room from the holidays. After my last post, there was a frenzy of visiting with family in from out of town, special dinners, holiday events, shopping, ice skating, and trying to enjoy the season, the spirit and the company of those we rarely see. I had actually taken the week of Christmas off, hoping to feel less rushed and “hecticized”, but then work picked back up, and as soon as we crested the New Year, I was back to busy days followed by meeting-filled evenings….and now here we are. Really, where does the time go??

With that said, I want to keep this blog as sort of a historic look at all the things that have spun off from my artist residency, and since the Pop-up shop back in Dec was such a cool event, I feel I have to add another post about it.

Promo poster that I had made for the event

First off, the morning of the Pop-up, our local Fox news stations “Good Day Rochester” morning show did a series of short pieces where they visited some of the businesses that would be participating in the night-time holiday market, and Kelli Berg, owner of Warehouse 127, was profiled. She talked about some of the items that were for sale in her shop, and she highlighted me as the featured artist, showing my photo book and talking about my kallitypes. A very exciting and unexpected plug!

With my mini exhibit

Unfortunately though, as the day went on, that evening was probably the coldest night of the year, definitely the coldest of December, with wind chills in the single digits, light snow and wind. And though the stretch of Railroad Street where Warehouse 127 is located is usually busy during the day-time market days, foot traffic for the night-time market was minimal, and we didn’t end up with very many shoppers.

Here you can see the table where I had loose prints, matted prints and books, the sliding magnetic doors where my framed prints were (above), and the entrance area of the shop (below)

That said, being inside the beautiful and festively-decorated space was warm and cozy, and I was so happy to have a chance to show and talk about my work with complete strangers.

Talking about my work with shoppers

I ended up selling one photo book and one loose (unmatted/unframed) print, and that was enough to make the effort of carrying everything over and setting up worth it. But I’m not sure I’ll do another….maybe I can be convinced to do one more in the spring….but we’ll see.

The interior space of Warehouse 127 with the 20-foot tall Christmas tree, and my Photo Book on display

For now, I am really thankful that Kelli invited me to participate, and I hope there is more to come from the connection in the future!