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Chronicles of the Chronic

August 26, 2023 - April 3, 2024

Images from left to right:   May Ling Kopecky Self Portrait - Multiple Sclerosis and My Body, 2022  colored pencil, ink, and graphite on Dura-Lar and graph paper; 71" x 30"  ︎︎︎Image description: The portrait of a woman with brown hair is made of drawings of various parts of her body created using various techniques. Next to each drawing is a description of the portaied symptoms.   Benjamin Merrit Care is, 2020                                                              etching, aquatint, drypoint, sugarlift, spitbite; image 18 x 24”, full sheet 22 x 30”            ︎︎︎Image description: One black and white print, consisting of “care is” written in white on the top half, and a white rectangle on the bottom half. The text is sitting on a dark field of texture and gestural marks, the blank rectangle consists of faint texture.   Kym McDaniel Screenshot from Exit Strategy #1, Exit Strategies Series, 2017-2021  video series; 40:23 min  ︎︎︎Image description: Silver spoons arranged on a table

Chronicles of the Chronic

August 26, 2023 - April 3, 2024

Rochester Art Center, Main Gallery West

Curator: Zoe Cinel

Chronicles of the Chronic is a group exhibition that features regional, national and international artists whose experience of living in chronically ill bodies directly influences their artistic practice on a physical, emotional and creative level. 

This exhibition approaches the subjects of illness, pain and disability through the lens of intersectionality. It promotes care and visibility by prioritizing narratives of self-representations, advocacy and community building. The artworks presented reflect on the multi-layered and complex experience of living with chronic pain: How to communicate invisible bodily limitations and pain while coping with biographical disruption? What relationships does a sick individual develop with medications, caretaking and with the larger medical system? Where to look for healing when the illness is chronic? And most importantly, how does one turn the most isolating experience of all into a fertile ground of connection and belonging? 

Illness is commonly regarded as a private matter but when one member of the community is ill, the effects extend beyond the individual to relatives, friends, coworkers and more. So why is illness yet to be discussed as a communal matter rather than kept a taboo? When pain is chronic and perhaps incurable, this discourse assumes even more structurally urgent connotations for a society that strives to be inclusive. In a city such as Rochester, where care, health and illness are part of the daily experience for many residents and visitors, the Rochester Art Center offers an opportunity for all to embark in a transformative journey that normalizes conversations around pain with the ultimate goal of finding healing as individuals, communities and as a society. 

The exhibition features emerging and established artists, most of whom identify as women, non-binary, BIPOC or belonging to marginalized groups. Among the exhibiting artists, several were invited to participate by the Art Center Curator, and some will be selected through an international juried process by a diverse jury of curators, artists and healthcare practitioners. This open ended curatorial approach aims to increase accessibility and inclusivity. 

Image description: Two rocking chairs, one green and one red face each other in an empty, white gallery. A wood bench is in the back. Black, bold text overlaps the image saying: CALL FOR ART!


The Rochester Art Center invites artists who identify as chronically ill to submit work for a group exhibition. The exhibition will be on display from August 26, 2023, to April 3, 2024 in the Main Gallery West.

Fill out the application by clicking this LINK

About the exhibition

Living with chronic pain is a multilayered experience. This exhibition approaches the subjects of illness, pain, and disability through the lens of intersectionality. It promotes care and visibility by prioritizing narratives of self-representations, advocacy, and community building. Find more info about the exhibition and the jury in the call. 

The call is open to artists who

  • Self-identify as living with a chronic illness, intended as a set of conditions that impact the body (and therefore the mind) for an extended period of time. 

  • Whose work speaks directly to the experience of living with pain, or addresses the relationship with medicine and the medical system, or artists whose work advocates to dismantle ableism and promotes an intersectional approach to care and disability

  • We extend a special invitation to all chronically ill artists who self-identify as belonging to one or more historically marginalized groups as defined by race, immigration status, and gender. 

  • The call is open to regional, US, and international artists.


Deadline to submit artwork: June 15th, 2023, 12 am CT, (USA). (Late submissions will not be juried)

Selected artists will be notified by July 12, 10 pm, CT, (USA).

Accessibility information

For questions about the call and about accessibility accommodations email Curatorial Assistant Ivonne Yañez at

Click on the file type to download the call as PDF File | Microsoft Word Document | OpenDocument Text File

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