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Past Exhibitions

Each year, Rochester Art Center presents a wide array of contemporary art exhibitions. These exhibitions offer visitors the opportunity to connect with art by local, regional, and nationally working artists. 

Melissa Ianniello: Wish it Was a Coming Out

August 3, 2022 - January 29, 2023

The Rochester Art Center in partnership with the Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St. Paul presents a solo exhibition of photographs and interviews created by Italian artist Melissa Ianniello (b. 1991, Naples, Italy). Produced over the last four years, and starting from the artist’s own journey as a lesbian in Italy, the ongoing series Wish it Was a Coming Out, investigates the taboo of being older and gay in Italy, a country with a history and a culture deeply rooted in religious and traditional beliefs.


Proto Language | Chris Delisle

December 14, 2022 - March 5, 2023

Proto Language refers to a notion that there is an ancestral parent language which all other languages are derived from and that, as human beings, we understand and respond to symbols on a deep cognitive level. Why are some people innately drawn to certain symbols as opposed to others? What archetypes resonate beyond cultures, languages and history? Drawing inspiration from history, mythology, human psychology, and the observation of human nature, the artworks in this exhibition aim to represent Delisle’s quest for the intricacies of what constitutes our actions as individuals, communities and civilizations.


Faces of Recovery | Keith Lawrence

November 9, 2022 - February 19, 2023

Faces of Recovery is a solo exhibition by self-taught artist Keith Lawrence featuring portraits of individuals impacted by addiction. Inspired by his own journey through addiction and recovery the artist sought to capture moments of struggles and hope in recovery with the ultimate goal to support his community.


Rochester Looking at Climate Change

September 9, 2022 - January 22, 2023

Climate change is upon us! In the exhibition Rochester Looking at Climate Change, 20+ artists respond to a crisis that affects the future of the entire human race. Organized by artist Layne Noser, this exhibition draws attention to climate change through the creative works and unique perspectives of Rochester based artists.


Có nắng vàng trên bàn tay nhỏ (All the light in your hand) | Genie Tran

July 9 - October 5, 2022

Có nắng vàng trên bàn tay nhỏ (All the light in your hand) focuses on the chaos and tenderness of memory and identity. Influenced by the artist’s family albums and branded advertisement archives, the exhibition features large sheets of handmade paper filled with collages of personal and found images, objects and texts. The collages represent a generative cycle of remembering and moreover, a record of time expressing a living desire for love and connection. This exhibition is sponsored by the MFA Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. The artist was selected through a jurying process led by Rochester-based writer and anthropologist Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara.


home ~ exploring, mending, reimagining | Cecilia Cornejo Sotelo

May 21 - August 21, 2022

“home ~ exploring, mending, reimagining” features, for the first time in one single location a multimedia body of work, composed by quilts, audiovisual collages, and participatory artworks, that artist Cecilia Cornejo Sotelo has produced since 2019 with various communities in southeastern Minnesota.


Poetry Despite/Music Despite

April 5 - August 7, 2022

Co-presented by Iraqi & American Reconciliation Project and the Rochester Art Center, Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) connects artists across time and place, from World War I to the “Global War on Terror,” from the US to Iraq. In this exhibition, conceived and organized by Iraq war veteran and artist Aaron Hughes, music, poetry, and large-scale prints come together to facilitate connections between the current state of endless war and its historical antecedents. These connections acknowledge the recurring traumas of war and, conversely, the human connections that happen despite the pain.



May 12, 2021 - July 3, 2022

"Counterspaces" is a collective healing project for Rochester community members who have been impacted by the existing and increasing acts of racialized violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). The artwork displayed was created by students that have attended guided workshops led by Professor Yuko Taniguchi and Dr. Angie Mejia. These workshops have been intentionally designed to provide a counterspace for POC at the University of Minnesota Rochester. Curated by Zoe Cinel.


Women Through Their Eyes | Carlota Gay

July 13 - October 30, 2022

Carlota Gay's "Women Through Their Eyes" is a solo exhibition featuring a series of watercolor portraits accompanying a singular acrylic painting on polytab fabric.


Building Collections to Connect | Ruth Mikos

June 30, 2021 - November 28, 2021

Ruth Mikos is a contemporary painter who lives and works in Rochester, Minnesota. Her thought-provoking paintings pay homage to times gone by and the intangible nature of memory. Her distinctive personal style emits joy, nostalgia and longing for a simpler time.


Ghosts of the Negative | Jocelyn Suzuka Figueroa

July 28 - November 14, 2021

Ghosts of the Negative is an intimate examination of a complicated family archive: a collection of photos taken by my great-grandfather, Satoru. He was a photographer for the Japanese army during the invasion of China in World War II. His purpose in the occupation was to document the impressive might of Japan’s military for the homeland: the creation of propaganda. Instead, Japan’s subsequent loss to the United States cast a shadow of shame and disgrace over the images.


Virtual Galleries

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Homecoming Queen: The Wonderful World of Utica Queen

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75th Anniversary Exhibition

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