Tag Archives: Memorial Art Gallery

Re-Prints NOW AVAILABLE!

With such high demand we decided to re-print issue one of Art House Press! You can buy the re-prints at these exclusive locations:

Memorial Art Gallery Gift Shop

Parkleigh

Barnes & Nobles in Pittsford Plaza

And soon on the AHP website!

A PLACE IN THE SUN?

INSIDE PERSPECTIVES ON THE 2015 CLOTHESLINE FESTIVAL

By Christine G. Adamo

At 8:47 am on Sat., Sept. 12, a gentle rain tapped out what mimicked – for me – finger strokes on a keyboard. I shifted under the covers and smiled until I realized that, for the 400-plus artists from across N.Y. state who’d prepped for their first of a two-day showing at the 2015 M&T Bank Clothesline Festival, it might sound more like money trickling down a nearby sewer drain.

With coverage of the event pre-scheduled, I’d spent some time doing prep work of my own. I knew where I’d park. I knew where I’d park if my first option fell through. I knew what I’d wear: street-worthy shoes, merciful slacks, a cotton top that encouraged airflow and a bolero-style shrug – in case the weather was less than favorable, meaning hot and humid.

On Day One, there was no muscling of the car into a questionable parking spot. (I snagged one immediately.) Nor was clothing with built-in ventilation a necessity, seeing as the heavens stirred up something closer to cool and crisp. What did need to be added to the mix were a pair of waterproof boots, an umbrella and a cap with a brim large enough to keep my eyeglasses dry.

Not only was it raining; it was pouring. The deluge didn’t let up until well after closing time. Yet, billed enthusiastically by Memorial Art Gallery as a “Rain or shine!” event, Clothesline kept true to its promise. Upon entering the festival at University Avenue and Goodman Street, it was clear that so had its participating artists – and dozens of content-to-be-rain-drenched attendees.

After 59 years, Clothesline remains one of Rochester’s largest and longest-running fine art and crafts festivals. Its commitment to the community, as outlined above, is obvious. Entertainers, unaffected by the rain, kept playing. Food vendors, with slightly better shelter, stood fast. Artists, who anyone could easily forgive for closing up shop to preserve their original works, persisted.

What follows is an introduction to three such artists and insight into their individual perspectives on the Clothesline experience as either a newcomer, long-time participant or seasoned veteran. You’ll also find references to other, noteworthy artists who fall within those same categories.

The Newcomer – Dave Pollot, Oil-on-Thrift Artist (Booth 607/608)

Dave, who first showed at Clothesline in 2013, is a self-described “software engineer who spends his nights with a beer in one hand and paintbrush in the other, bringing new life to old thrift art.” He maintains a virtual gallery at Instagram.com/DavePollotArt and a dedicated artist website at DavePollot.com.

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - Dave Pollott

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – Dave Pollot

AHP: How long have you been a working artist?
Dave Pollot: I still keep my day job writing software, but my fiancée was able to quit her full-time job to focus on the business side of the art (I create and has) been doing this for two years now.
AHP: What is your medium of choice and what drew you to it?
DP: Oil on thrift (allows) me to have a ton of fun while keeping me challenged. Each new piece is different, so it never feels repetitive.
AHP: What year did you begin participating in Clothesline and why?
DP: 2013. It was always my favorite Rochester festival. The artists are incredible and it’s where I bought my very first piece of original art.
AHP: If Clothesline helps you sustain a living, as a working artist, how?
DP: We always have a great time with Clothesline and – historically – it’s always one of our best shows.
AHP: Do you modify your process or product to create art for Clothesline? If so, how?
DP: Not at all!
AHP: What are the biggest challenges a Clothesline exhibitor faces? What are the greatest rewards?
DP: The weather is definitely the biggest challenge, as we saw this year. The weather determines the crowd – and the crowd determines the show. That said, the attendees are some of the most enthusiastic, resilient and fun we’ve seen. That’s incredibly rewarding.


Other, noteworthy newcomers to Clothesline include:

KANDACE LOCKWOOD, Potter

CHRIS GOODENBURY, Photographer – Clothesline exhibitor since 2014. Online at Facebook.com/CMGoodenburyPhotography.

MICHAEL P. SLATTERY, Fine Artist (Painting) – At Slattery Art, painting outside the lines is considered a fine art. “This (was) my first year at Clothesline,” Michael told Art House Press, “(where) I chose it to launch the Eve series. I work out of my 2,000 sq. ft. barn in Greece. The first floor with wood stove is my winter studio and (the) top floor houses my studio and library.” Slattery also recently showed on Artist Row at Rochester’s Public Market.


The Long-Timer
Laura Wilder, Artist (Booth 66/67)

Laura has exhibited at Clothesline for just under 20 years. She is a Roycroft Renaissance Master Artisan (Printmaking), a three-time (the maximum allowed) Clothesline Merit Award winner and a blue-ribbon recipient at this year’s Corn Hill Arts Festival.

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - Laura Wilder

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – Laura Wilder

AHP: How long have you been a working artist?
Laura Wilder: Thirty-three years. I started as a commercial artist, burned out after several years and then started my own business about 20 years ago.
AHP: What is your medium of choice and what drew you to it?
LW: Depends on the day. I’m mostly known for my block prints. I was drawn to that medium because I love the bold, stylized look of posters and prints from the early 1900s. I discovered William Nicholson’s prints and knew I had to try it, but block printing is so difficult that occasionally I have to take a break and do oil painting, which – compared to printmaking – is wonderfully direct. At the moment, oils are my medium of choice. In a couple months, it’ll probably be block printing again.
AHP: What year did you begin participating in Clothesline and why?
LW: I think 1997. I had recently become a Roycroft Renaissance printmaker and started my own business. I was looking to market my work. Clothesline and the Roycroft festivals were the best shows I knew of.
AHP: If Clothesline helps you sustain a living as a working artist, how?
LW: The folks who attend Clothesline have been absolutely wonderful to me. We artists worry about saturating a market by appearing year after year but, as I approach 20 consecutive years at this show, my sales and the wonderful feedback I get from collectors don’t seem to dwindle.
Many of them are repeat buyers. There are so many dedicated attendees that I have a successful show even in lousy weather – like we just had! I’m very grateful. Also, many of those folks now subscribe to my monthly e-newsletter, which has special offers that lead to website sales.

AHP: Do you modify your process or product to create art for Clothesline? If so, how?
LW: Every year I make sure to create one new print that shows a Rochester area landmark – with the Clothesline attendees in mind. These locally-themed prints are hugely popular. I also make sure to have something for all budgets (from $2.50 to $2,150 this year).
AHP: What are the biggest challenges a Clothesline exhibitor faces? What are the greatest rewards?
LW: I can only speak for myself here, but it isn’t finding lots of great customers; it’s dealing with weather. (To be sellable,) prints can’t get wet. And, with ever-increasing erratic weather, outdoor shows look more and more risky. Even a decent tent will eventually leak in relentless rain. A few years ago at least one Clothesline tent with concrete weights was actually airborne in a sudden gust of wind. So, we dropped a lot of money on a very good, waterproof tent this year. My husband/biz partner, Bob, made six 50-lb. tent weights and our prints stayed dry. The greatest reward is being able to meet so many of my collectors, in person, and hear from them how my art has made them (or a loved one) happy!

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Happy customer

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Happy customer


Other, long-time Clothesline participants you should know about:

YENFEN HUANG, Painter (Chinese-style)

REBECCA BARRY-KENT, Studio Artist – Rebecca, who’s represented by Gallery 54 in Skaneateles, began participating in Clothesline in 2001. “I started creating art dolls three years ago,” she explained, “using some repurposed copper and other bits and pieces (I’d collected) for years.” Being a closeted hoarder pays off; her whimsical dolls are entertaining. “It’s really cool when I see a smile (on) someone’s face,” she added, “and know it’s one of my pieces that put it there!”

MICHELLE DaRIN, Sculptor, Jeweler, etc. – I’m a “creator of anything my mind can think up,” noted Michelle, who began showing at Clothesline in 2003 and maintains a dedicated artist website at MichelleDaRinJewelry.com.

 

The Seasoned Veteran – Stephen Merritt, Potter (Booth 40)

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - Stephen Merritt

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – Stephen Merritt

This artist, who’s more familiarly known as simply “Steve,” offers up glimpses of his elegant work and intriguing backstory at MerrittVessel.com. Most artists, he noted, quickly put the lessons they learn and ideas they generate at Clothestline to work. They look ahead to their next show – any show – with an immediate sense of how they can make it better.

He’s looking ahead to his own showing, in early December, at the Geisel Gallery in Bausch + Lomb’s Legacy Tower in downtown Rochester. There he’ll share exhibition space with his photographer son, Jonathan, who didn’t show at Clothesline due to inclement weather. Another show worth looking into, he says, is the 15th Annual Fine Craft Show & Sale at MAG on November 7 and 8.

“(It) features the works of great artists from across the country,” he explained, “who people from Rochester don’t normally get to see. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s really one of Rochester’s gems, I think, and not as widely known as it should be.”

Steve’s a Rochester gem in his own right. Read on to find out why.

AHP: How long have you been a working artist?
Stephen Merritt: I studied in Japan in the early ’70s and was there for two-and-a-half years. I returned to Rochester, my hometown, in 1972. That’s when I started (my career as) a working artist.
AHP: What is your medium of choice and what drew you to it?
SM: For me, of course, the medium is clay. Over the years I’ve worked in a variety of different clays. For the past 20 or so years, I’ve worked almost exclusively in porcelain and terra cotta.
AHP: What year did you begin participating in Clothesline and why?
SM: In 1972, as an emerging potter. Clothesline’s association with (MAG) has always given the show a cache that a lot of other craft shows lack. For as long as I’ve been doing the show, it’s a place where artists of all stripes – Rochester-area artists and others – come together and have a good time interacting with each other and their customers, while at the same time lending support to the Gallery’s mission. There’s a purpose (to it that goes) above and beyond just trying to sell your own work.
AHP: If Clothesline helps you sustain a living, as a working artist, how?
SM: This year notwithstanding, given the weather and its effect on the crowd, most artists can depend on the Clothesline as an effective way to show new work, make sales, cover expenses and, perhaps, make a little profit on the side.
AHP: Do you modify your process or product to create art for Clothesline? If so, how?
SM: I don’t. I know many artists will tailor their display to the nature of the crowd. My experience is that Clothesline draws such a diverse audience that I choose to present my work as I would in any other venue.
AHP: What are the biggest challenges a Clothesline exhibitor faces? What are the greatest rewards?
SM: Any art show, especially an outdoor art show, involves a lot of effort – both physical and emotional. It’s always a challenge for artists to feel completely satisfied with the presentation no matter how long it’s been planned and how well it’s been executed. (I) should mention the basic challenge of exposing yourself to the elements, which underlies all the great hopes and plans every artist lays out for the show: It can all go south in a hurry, when Mother Nature decides to have her way with us. The greatest rewards are, of course, coming through the show with success on the financial side and also that the work you have shown is admired and appreciated by (attendees). We don’t expect everyone to make a purchase, as nice as that would be. Everyone can’t afford a piece, but they all appreciate the effort that goes into the work that’s being show.


Other seasoned Clothesline veterans worth researching:

PATRICIA WILDER, Photographer

DICK KANE, Watercolorist – MAG Creative Workshop faculty member

RICHARD AERNI, Potter – Online at RichardAerni.com

 

Photography by Stephen S Reardon - 2015 M & T Bank Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery

Photography by Stephen S Reardon – 2015 M & T Bank Clothesline Festival at the Memorial Art Gallery

In the end? The artists we’ve featured – and mentioned – here come together, en masse, to set up pop-up stores, shops and galleries. Crowds come from all corners of Western New York (and beyond) to view their work, shop and take joy in interacting with them year after year. The result? Is an effort that helps these individuals and others like them establish and sustain long-term careers.

But what of the festival itself? In 1956, MAG explains, the first Clothesline Festival truly did feature artwork and paintings hung from clotheslines, swaying in the breeze. At the time, a handful of local artists participated, but nearly 60 years later the festival has grown and morphed into the gallery’s largest fundraising event.

Photography by Stephen S Reardon

Photography by Stephen S Reardon

Daylong entertainment, food vendors and free family art activities, as well as museum entry (included with the $5 admission price), makes it a memorable weekend in which the work of a diverse cast of artists is available for viewing.

Clothesline has garnered five City “Best of Rochester” reader awards and is said to draw serious shoppers like nobody’s business – rain, shine or otherwise.

Learn more at MAG.Rochester.edu.

 

JASON BARBER AND THE FADED PAST

BY HOLLY JENNINGS

Jason Barber- a photographer and core team member of Rochester’s Wall\Therapy– describes his experience watching a mural go up in the city:

“While I was watching the mural being painted, all of these people kept stopping by to watch. A drug dealer, a couple from Pittsford riding their bicycles along the canal, a group of 12-year- olds, and a local mechanic were just some of the people who stopped to stare up at the artist working.”

An active member of the art community and also a devout Christian, Jason’s response to the motley crowd that gathered around the mural contains a spiritual component.

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon - Jason Barber

Photography by Stephen S. Reardon – Jason Barber

“One mural pulled all of those different types of people to the same spot. I can’t help but think of the church, and the fact that any pastor would want that kind of congregation.”

As a Christian, Jason uses art as a way to minister to the people within the inner city, and he is very active within Rochester’s art world; in addition to volunteering with Wall\Therapy, he has served as a volunteer and Vision Collective Board Member at The Yards Art Collective, has worked as an Art Day School teacher’s assistant at the Memorial Art Gallery, and has served as a Young Millennials Board member to assist the MAG in connecting with a new generation of art lovers.

Jason graduated with a BA in Art History from SUNY Purchase College and spent two years as an assistant curator at the the Oxford Gallery here in Rochester. He was volunteering with Wall\Therapy when asked to be a member of its core team. As a newly-appointed core member, Jason does a little bit of everything, including social media, scouting potential locations for murals, searching for funding streams, doing raffles, selling merchandise, and acting as an artist’s assistant.

Wall\Therapy’s purpose is to inspire and to bring people together, and in Jason Barber’s case, the project has succeeded twice over. Jason’s involvement in Wall\Therapy combines two of the things he is most passionate about: his love of the arts and his love of the city of Rochester.

Jason’s Rochester roots run deep. His relatives have resided within the Maplewood area of Rochester since the 1920s; Jason grew up on Avenue D. His uncle and grandfather owned the Orange Julius in Midtown Plaza, and his mother worked helping others within the Department of Social Services.

“Downtown is my reality. Kodak Park, bowling alleys, smokestacks and strip malls are a part of my everyday existence.” And though Jason is relatively young, he has seen Rochester change a great deal over the years. Houses that friends grew up in sit abandoned.

Photo Provided - Backyards: Overcome By Nature

Photo Provided – Backyards: Overcome By Nature

Buildings in Kodak Park have tumbled. Recent census reports have deemed Rochester one of the most segregated cities in the nation. In spite of these bleak realities, Jason remains optimistic about the future of the city he loves, especially in regards to Rochester’s burgeoning art community.

“This is a strong and growing community of great artists, and it gets bigger and bigger every year. There are more and more skilled artists, and they’re really effecting change in the city. We’re seeing art everywhere now – there are other mural movements going on. Art on buildings. Local artists doing signs for coffee shops. Marty’s had Rochester artists do their walls for them. There’s a huge transition happening in the arts, and everybody’s connected. It’s a big giant community of distinct groups working together to help one another grow.”

Wall\Therapy is a great example of Rochester art lovers coming together to effect change within the city. During one incredible week, artists from Rochester and across the country descend upon the city and turn the outside walls of office buildings, garages, and shops into large-scale canvases for expansive murals. Over the past five years, the murals have varied in style and theme. Together they have turned neighborhoods into communal art galleries. A majority of the murals are in underprivileged areas, and Jason believes recent economic hardships have contributed to the advent of particular movements within the art world in Rochester and other places.

“Art collectives and mural movements are all over the place, and they are all related to the hard times we’ve had since 2008. Whenever there is a time of struggle, art flourishes. It’s historically proven.” (Case in point: graffiti art has proliferated in the city of Athens in Greece over the past five years. Artists use their paintings as political commentary, and to express sadness over the demise of Greece’s economy.)

Jason is an artist himself. He uses photography to pay homage to the city he loves. Though he dabbled in photography a bit in high school and college, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Jason started taking cell phone snapshots of the sights he viewed each day living and working in the city. He began posting his images on Instagram, most of which were shot a mere block or two away from popular High Falls, in impoverished neighborhoods most people don’t want to step one foot in.

Photo Provided - Backyards: Vacant Lots

Photo Provided – Backyards: Vacant Lots

As his Instagram following began to grow, Jason began to focus on using his photography as a way to shine some light on the city’s marginalized neighborhoods, though Jason does not actually refer to his work as photography.

“I don’t see myself as a photographer, and I don’t see my shots as photography. I see myself as an artist and as someone of deep faith who is capturing the world as he sees it in the most authentic way possible. I try to be authentic but compassionate to these neighborhoods.”

Although Jason’s photographs are part nostalgia for the city that was, they mainly serve as a witness for the way things are now. So many of his Instagram shots are of abandoned places: overgrown driveways, roofs covered in moss, broken windows, a mural of High Falls on the side of a vacant home. An Instagram comment beneath a photograph of mounds of dirty slush in front of stark city buildings under a winter blue sky reads “You make it look so pretty!” And he does. He finds beauty in the city’s detritus. These are the forgotten neighborhoods.

One of Jason’s favorite shots is of Rochester’s iconic Kodak Tower, its pinnacle shrouded behind clouds. On Instagram, it is labeled “Faded Past.”

Photo Provided - Faded Past: Kodak Building

Photo Provided – Faded Past: Kodak Building

Jason reflects on how people might observe Rochester from the top of one its skyscrapers: the Genesee River meandering through the architecturally stunning University of Rochester, the expansive bridges, the bright green of the grass in the baseball stadium, the sparkling lake on the distant horizon. But Jason sees individual neighborhoods, each one distinct from the next, most of them overlooked by those who view Rochester as a pretty view from the top.

When Jason describes those involved in Wall\Therapy, he says that these are people who are “a lot more aware of the issue within our city. They put murals into neighborhoods that are marginalized.

Photo Provided - Backyards Series

Photo Provided – Backyards Series

They see the segregation and hang out with people in those neighborhoods, and are actually involved in the inner city community.” The arts have an uncanny way of bringing people from all walks of life together, and of making people see things from a different perspective. Jason Barber’s photographs represent his own inner struggle with what the city has become, and they compel the rest of us to see Rochester the way he sees it: beautiful, but broken.

Wall\Therapy will soon come to an end, but planning for next year’s event starts soon. Jason says that if you want to get involved in Rochester’s exciting and growing art community, volunteering to help out with Wall\Therapy is a great place to start.  

Jason’s Instagram feed can be found here.

ALTERNATIVE MUSIC FILM SOCIETY

Rochester’s ‘Alternative’ Avant-Garde: The point at which Alternative Music Film Society, MAG and fine art converge

BY CHRISTINE G. ADAMO

In The Transformation of the Avant-Garde: The New York Art World, 1940-1985, Diane Crane explains that “artists working outside of styles are generally, although not invariably, acting as entrepreneurs” focused more on their own production, techniques and output than the advancement or dissemination of existing artistic concepts or canons of knowledge.

The avant-garde artist, while equally intent on doing more than just assuage or engage the public, advances that concept.

“He or she is attempting to paint in a way that no one else has painted before,” Crane adds, “but by using the body of artistic knowledge that already exists.”

In this way, they help define and educate others about their style. So it is with the Alternative Music Film Society.

AMFS’s most recent screening – held April 23 in Memorial Art Gallery’s 290-seat auditorium – was Records Collecting Dust. The 2015 film traces the origins of LP collections curated by some 30 underground or avant-garde musicians: Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys), Danny Benair (The Quick), Lisa Francher (Frontier Records founder), Clifford Dinsmore (Teenage Time Killers) and others.

Prior screenings included rockumentaries, docudramas and concert films made early or late in the careers of Daft Punk, Roxy Music and Sigur Ros – revealing the fine point at which AMFS, MAG and the art world converge.

“We love the (AMFS) because it’s a work of passionate participants in Rochester’s music scene,” submitted Jonathan Binstock,

Photography by John Schlia - Christopher Amann, Andrew Chinnici, Jennifer Sciarabba and Jonathan Binstock (Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the MAG)

Photography by John Schlia – Christopher Amann, Andrew Chinnici, Jennifer Sciarabba and Jonathan Binstock

who was named director of MAG on July 7, 2014, holds a master’s degree and PhD in art history and was most recently a senior vice president and a senior advisor in modern and contemporary art for Citi Private Bank’s Art Advisory & Finance group in New York City.

“With this series, (AMFS and its patrons) share their love of music and documentary film with us and create another forum for the appreciation of creativity at the MAG.”

AMFS’s co-founders are Christopher Amann, Andrew Chinicci and Jennifer Sciarabba.

“As the owner of (Lakeshore Record Exchange), my entire life is immersed in music,” Chinicci explained.

Photography by John Schlia - Andrew Chinnici, Jennifer Sciarabba and Christopher Amann

Photography by John Schlia – Andrew Chinnici, Jennifer Sciarabba and Christopher Amann

“In a sense, I was fortunate enough to be able to live in this sort of suspended state of late adolescence – early 20s – where music is a big part of your life.”

Consequently he made a habit of screening music-related films in his free time.

“After watching dozens and dozens of them at home … it just dawned on me one night: It’s rare you ever get to see documentaries or performance films in a theatre. It happens once in a while with something that’s fairly high profile but, on the whole, it’s rare.”

As Crane might say, the trio built AMFS around an existing canon of knowledge captured on film and packaged it for public consumption – further defining alternative music and giving audiences an education in underground and avant-garde musical performance.

“It’s a universal story, usually: somebody telling how they got connected to music and why they (pursue) it,” said Sciarabba, aka Jen V., creator of “New Wave Wednesday” (WBER-90.5FM).

“It’s so great to hear how people are connected to music and, really, connected to art – what their vehicle is. Because, most of the time, you find out from these particular musicians that they’re not just musicians. They are artists and they are tapping that creativity (to channel it) in all different kinds of ways.”

Concert films, Amann noted, offer a rare glimpse behind performance. Assemblages of backstory, preparation and audience reaction, they’re rich in texture, context and community. The relationship between AMFS, MAG and art is equally rich and complex.

“It’s all art – it’s all creativity,” said Meg Colombo for MAG.

“What I see, when people are here for the movie,

Photography by John Schlia - AMFS at MAG

Photography by John Schlia – AMFS at MAG

is that there’s instant connection …. It’s that ‘I get it!’ feeling that, I think, people are pulling from the movies and relating to each other.”

“(Art is all about) connecting with your society.”

“If you think about it,” Chinicci posited, “music is an art form just like painting or photography or sculpting or anything else. Most people don’t perceive it that way because music is consumed more by the masses than other forms of art are – just like movie-making is.

“In that sense, I think it’s a perfect marriage to have a movie-themed series at a gallery because it’s an art form that you are kind of showing the process of: How it’s made and what goes into it. And, as Jen said, most of the artists are artists in a bigger sense.”

Adam Ant is one example, painting and sketching long before becoming a new wave/pop music icon. Bryan Ferry, of Roxy Music, is another. Art school was a vehicle through which they met other artists and collectively adopted music as their medium.

“The film The Origin of Post Punk focused not on one band but on the movement of music that happened after punk,” Chinicci explained. “It started out as this very basic form of rock ‘n’ roll, but what it did was show young people that you didn’t have to practice an instrument for years on end and be technically proficient to make an artistic statement.

“What started out as just purely, straight-ahead, basic rock ‘n’ roll exploded into all these different forms: everything from electronic to avant-garde rock to noise to everything.”

That “everything” falls in the art rock category, describing work by artists as diverse as 10cc, David Bowie, Daft Punk, The Human League, Kraftwerk, Roxy Music, the Velvet Underground and Frank Zappa. This subgenre of rock dates to the late 1960s – when avant-garde efforts collided with classical form to spawn art-based, experimental music.

AMFS celebrates its two-year anniversary in May, opening in April 2013 with a free concert that brought the UK’s China Crisis to MAG for its first-ever Rochester performance and drew fans from Toronto, NYC and LA. The band is returning for a June 13 concert at Montage Music Hall.

“Here’s a place where not only is art happening, but (it’s created) in different ways,” Sciarabba said of MAG. “Seeing a band play here and planning that (was) something that, probably, most people would never experience. It was wonderful being able to do that.”

The AMFS did that by structuring its series like an installation piece on a limited run, bartering its way into a six-month contract with the gallery in exchange for an A/V facelift.

“We hoped to recoup our costs of the donation we made, but it was a donation,” Chinicci said. “So, it wasn’t like, ‘Well, we have to get our money back.’”

Amann and Chinicci pulled $5,000 out of their own pockets and replaced MAG’s aging video system with an HD,

Photography by John Schlia - Christopher Amann and Andrew Chinnici talk in the projection room before the film begins.

Photography by John Schlia – Christopher Amann and Andrew Chinnici talk in the projection room before the film begins.

theatre-grade JVC X30 digital projector and a HDMI-, LAN port- and legacy A/V connection-equipped Sony BDP-S590 Blu-ray/DVD player that has built in Wi-Fi and is 3D and iOS/Android remote control capable.

“Either way,” Amann added, “we knew we’d walk away doing something good for the art gallery – and they’d have a projector system they could use for years to come.”

The AMFS planned to work off use of the auditorium with the trade but, by the end of those first six months, MAG extended its run. AMFS recently hit another turning point, doing away with a $10 ticket price to screen films for free and remove lingering barriers of entry for movie goers.
Chinicci’s co-founders laud his tenacity, hunting down films of all genres and types with alternative music as his constant muse.

“We try to program films we think will be interesting and that we think the audience will like,” he said. “We do do avant-garde stuff and we’ve done fairly mainstream stuff, as well. (But) you can never tell what sort of reaction you’re going to get … in terms of attendance.”

In collaboration with one another and the gallery, the founders of AMFS blend their unique skills, creative talents and perspectives on a monthly basis – lifting the veil on the process:

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In the same way they let audiences peek behind the curtain to watch musicians hone their craft, they give Rochesterians and out-of-towners a view of MAG from the inside out.

Upcoming free screenings include Genesis: Sum of the Parts (2014, 124 min.) on Thurs., May 28, and Can’t Stand Losing You: Surviving the Police (2012, 79 min.) on Thurs., June 25, at MAG (500 University Ave.). Learn more at AlternativeMusic.com.