Memorial Art Gallery’s largest fundraiser and the area’s biggest celebration of the arts happens this weekend. The M&T Bank Clothesline Art Festival will showcase more than 300 artists in a two-day juried event on the museum’s grounds.
This year, festival goers have been tasked with an ask: donations of toiletries and personal care products like cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, razors and toothpaste, for their neediest neighbors. Through Sample Soap, an organization that has been distributing such products to the needy since 1990, patrons will be able to serve others in this collection drive.
The donations will support Sample Soap’s efforts to serve people without homes, refugees, runaway children, women and families in transition, AIDS survivors, survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and others experiencing trauma or hardship, organizers say. Drop-off boxes will be located at each of the two gate entrances for the festival.
The Clothesline Festival also has a first this year. It takes place after the completion of MAG’s Centennial Sculpture Park. Located outside the art gallery, the park features work by seven artists: Sanford Biggers, Deborah Butterfield, Pia Camil, Tony Cragg, Rashid Johnson, Jun Kaneko, and Nathan Mabry. The new installations join sculptures by Wendell Castle, Jackie Ferrara, Tom Otterness, and Albert Paley.
“The Centennial Sculpture Park exemplifies what MAG is—an ever-evolving, urban museum,” says Michael Marsh, MAG’s chief operating officer and interim director of the gallery. “The park beautifies our grounds, introduces people to great art, and enriches the visitor experience. We invite everyone to explore it.”
Art at this year’s festival includes photography, jewelry, painting and other handicrafts. The event also has opportunities to explore the museum, and access to live music and food trucks. This year’s Clothesline tee was designed by Luanne Redeye, winner of the Memorial Art Gallery Award of Excellence in the 68th Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition, MAG says.
M&T Bank has been the Clothesline Fest’s presenting sponsor for nearly three decades. Its support has crossed the $1.15 million mark, officials say. The bank has helped with infrastructure upgrades and with drawing major exhibits to Rochester.
“Investing in the arts strengthens and uplifts our community in so many profound ways. Our longstanding support for the Memorial Art Gallery began almost 30 years ago when we first sponsored the M&T Bank Clothesline Art Festival,” says Dan Burns, Rochester regional president of M&T Bank. “This essential event adds to the vibrancy of our region’s creative economy and serves as an important platform for artists to share their work with the community.”
More recently, M&T reinforced its commitment to the arts through the MAG-RCSD Expanded Learning Collaboration, a museum-based learning initiative. It is expected to serve nearly 600 students in second, third and fourth grades this year. Students visit MAG weekly for 90 minutes, discuss artworks at the museum and create their own.
“With our commitment to the Expanded Learning Collaboration, we’re bolstering the Memorial Art Gallery’s efforts to provide empowering educational experiences for Rochester students,” Burns says. “We believe this program will make a lasting difference for our community by connecting children to the arts and nurturing their creativity.”
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected].