Installation view and opening artist talk of Mary Beth Magyar’s To Build a Nest, 2016, in our newly dedicated RAC2 Local Artist Series gallery.

Rochester Art Center continually strives to engage visitors of all ages in the creation, contemplation, and appreciation of the visual arts. As a non-collecting institution, the Art Center focuses on presenting temporary exhibitions throughout the year featuring established local, national, and international artists as well as emerging artists from diverse backgrounds, working in a variety of media.

RAC2 supports talented artists throughout our region. An accompanying exhibition and event program to our Emerging Artist Series—which is open to all artists living and working in the state—RAC2 focuses on supporting and developing creatives specifically in Southeastern Minnesota. Applicants from the following counties are welcome and invited to apply: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona.

With this dedicated series, RAC has broadened and diversified the creative opportunities for Rochester and surrounding area artists as RAC’s professional staff serves both a curatorial and mentorship role, working directly with artists on realizing their vision throughout the implementation of a new project and the creation of new work. This collaboration offers a professional, enriching experience for the artist, while providing the local Rochester community the opportunity to celebrate local artistic achievement.

We are excited to announce that this signature RAC exhibition and event series is moving from our former classroom gallery space on our third floor to our former Emerging Artist gallery space. We are thrilled to continue to support emerging creatives who are the principal creators of new work while deepening, developing, and widening the experience and impact for artists and our audiences through this demonstrative increase in visibility.

In addition, RAC2 is now open a variety of creatives; visual artists, musicians, composers, curators, authors, poets, performance artists, designer-makers and creative PlaceMakers. By opening up the mediums for which artists can propose new ideas, RAC is embracing new approaches in contemporary art. We are also excited to open the call for proposals up to other exhibition areas and alternative spaces in and around the building, including:

  • The Mayo Grand Lobby (performance);
  • Our back patio area and sculpture garden, facing Mayo Park (social engagement);
  • RAC Annex space in the entry;
  • Alternative spaces within the building (just propose a place).

Proposals are accepted online from October 20 – January 9, 2017, and are reviewed by a panel of local artists, community activists, and RAC staff led by Megan Johnston, RAC Executive Director.

From this review, ten creatives will be chosen to develop their projects.

Each selected artist will receive:

  • Each project will be awarded $1000 to include: an artist stipend of $500; and a materials and production stipend of $500;
  • Each selected artist will be given support towards the development of your artistic concept, including but not limited to: several one-on-one development meetings, budget and fundraising advise, production guidance, and other professional development opportunities;
  • Publicity and marketing of your project, including social media, print advertising and project collateral where appropriate and funding allows;
  • An opening or closing project reception;
  • The opportunity to apply your stipend towards an accompanying print publication with an essay by RAC curators about your work.
  • Related programming opportunities, including an artist talk (paid as part of the stipend) and opportunities to participate in RAC educational programming, such as Free Family Day (additional payment). * To facilitate community engagement, artists will be required to give a public talk as part of their award.

Application Materials: Deadline, January 9, 2017
Artists must complete the application form which requires the following:

  • First and last name, address, city, state, county
  • Artist Statement (250 words maximum)
  • Project Proposal (1,000 words maximum)

The following required materials should be saved in either Word or PDF format and
e-mailed to within 24 hours of completing the form, and on or before the January 9, 2017 deadline:


  • Submit work samples
    • Please submit images, audio clips, videos or writing samples documenting work completed within the last two years.
    • Note that video works should be hosted on Vimeo or Youtube, and sound works hosted on Soundcloud, and links forwarded for review. For this call, videos should not exceed 5 minutes, sound no more than 8 minutes.
  • Artist Statement (maximum 500 words)
  • Exhibition Proposal (maximum 1,000 words)
  • CV or Resume

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, and be a Minnesota resident living and working in one the eleven Southeastern Minnesota counties listed above.

You can apply, free of charge, online through

The deadline to submit your application and materials is by Midnight January 9, 2017. Artists will be notified by early January 2017.

To facilitate new and emerging artists, RAC will host a number of workshops to support you in making an application to both RAC2 and the new Art4Trails applications.

  • Thursday, November 10, from 6PM-7PM
  • Saturday, December 10 (afternoon session at the RAC Artists’ Resource Fair)
  • Thursday, December 22, from 6PM-7PM

For further information about the application process, please contact

  • Up to three proposals from the same creative or team of creatives are welcome, as long as each submission is a different medium.


2017 Art4Trails Announcement

Art4Trails is announcing a second year of public art installations for the bike trails near downtown Rochester, MN.

Art4Trails was developed in 2016 by the Rochester Arts and Culture Collaborative, with plans to expand collaboration on the project in 2017. Expansion of partnerships now includes Rochester Art Center, Rochester Parks and Recreation, Olmsted County Public Health, RNeighbors, WeBikeRochester, Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester and Rochester Downtown Alliance.


2016 Art4Trails installation by Andrew Arend, Flathead

Call for Art

Art4Trails is seeking proposals for outdoor, site-specific art installations at up to five locations along the bike trails near downtown Rochester. The art will be installed between May 1 and June 5, 2017, pending funding for the project. One proposal for each site will be selected, and the artist will be awarded $2,500 per site, $1,250 upon selection and $1,250 after installation. Applications open October 20, 2016, and close January 9, 2017 at 11:45pm.

Rochester Park and Trail System

The Rochester trails provide a convenient way to include activities such as inline-skating, biking, running, and walking – either for getting to work and back, or simply for recreation and exercise. Rochester has 85+ miles of bituminous or concrete-surfaced trails available for pedestrians, bikers, wheelchairs or strollers. Park and trail maps are available from the Park and Recreation Department in City Hall or on their website. Art4Trails site locations for 2017 sculptures can be found here.


Artists 18 years of age or older living in southeastern Minnesota are invited to submit proposals individually or collaboratively. Students who do not meet the age requirement can participate by having a teacher or guardian sponsor a proposal. Southeastern Minnesota includes the following counties: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be judged based on artistic merit as evidenced by representation of past work, the proposal itself, and other supporting materials. A review panel consisting of working artists, curators, arts professionals, and a representative of the Parks and Recreation Department will review and select the winning proposals by January 30, 2017.

Selected proposals will enliven sites along the trail system in downtown Rochester, between 7th Street NW and 9 1⁄2 Street SE by Slatterly Park.

Artistic quality must be of the highest standard in regard to design, materials, craftsmanship, assembly, and appropriateness to the character of the site. This year artists are asked to engage with themes of interactive play, health, wellness and diversity. Projects must be in place on or before June 5, 2017.

Artists must consider the following criteria:

Artistic merit of proposed work, including:

  • Idea to be conveyed
  • Key theme(s) engaged, e.g. interactive play, health, wellness, diversity
  • Appropriateness of media to idea
  • Visual impact, including color, form and composition
  • Harmony/compatibility with physical and social setting

Feasibility of the proposed work including:

  • Durability
  • Public safety
  • Risk assessment (risk will be assumed by the artist)
  • Maintenance obligation

Ability of the artist to successfully complete the project including:

  • Training and experience
  • Evidence of careful financial planning
  • Technical competence

Review Process

  • Locations for artwork will be pre-selected and approved by the Rochester Parks and Recreation Department.
  • The artwork must be of appropriate size and scale to fit in with its proposed surroundings.
  • Art4Trails will contact key members of the community or special interest groups to alert them of possible incoming structures.
  • The artwork must fit within any established parameters and settings already in place.
  • Responsibility for securing all necessary permissions and permits, fabrications, installation, maintenance, and removal of the artwork is assumed by the artist.
  • Sites will be located along the bike trail between 7th Street NW and 9 1⁄2 Street SE by Slatterly Park, which can be found here.

Application Materials: Deadline, January 9, 2017

Artists must complete the application form which requires the following:

  • First and last name, address, city, state, county
  • Artist Statement (250 words maximum)
  • Project Proposal (1,000 words maximum)
    • What is the idea or concept of the piece? Describe what the project will consist of and/or look like.
    • How will it be installed on location?
    • With which key theme(s) does the artwork engage, e.g. interactive play, health, wellness, diversity?
    • How will it be installed on location?
    • What are your proposed installation and removal dates?
  • Site Preference (3 top choices), locations for 2017 sculptures can be found here.

The following required materials should be saved in either Word or PDF format and e-mailed to within 24 hours of completing the form, and on or before the January 9, 2017 deadline:

  • Budget Outline: The $2,500 award will cover artist’s time and associated expenses for design and fabrication of the work. Artists should factor these costs into their budget.
    • Budget should include; rental of equipment, cost of materials, artist fees, etc.
  • Artist Resume / C/V (one page maximum)

Examples of previous work:

  • Maximum 3-5 images or videos documenting work completed within the last two years. Images must be formatted digitally to the following specifications:
  • JPEG format
  • Each image must be less than 3MB in size.
  • Label each file with your last name, first name, and number as a title. The number signifies the order in which you want the slides presented
    • (i.e. Lastname_Firstname_01.jpg, Lastname_Firstname_02.jpg, etc.)
  • Up to three additional images, sketches, models or renderings of what the project will look like may also be included with the last name, first name, “Proposal” and number as a title.
    • (i.e. Lastname_Firstname_Proposal_01.jpg, Lastname_Firstname_Proposal_02.jpg, etc.)
  • Video samples of up to 3 minutes via links to Vimeo or another web-based video file.
  • Optional: include a separate Word or PDF document with descriptions of each piece (title, medium, size, etc.)

Submit your final application here and send required materials within 24 hours to before January 9, 2017.

There is no fee to apply. Materials will not be returned.

Site Information

Restrictions and considerations:

  • Installations must be at least 2 feet from the trail.
  • If the piece is meant to be interactive, it should be further from the trail to prevent crowds or standers by from blocking the trail.
  • Artist responsible for all maintenance and repairs if needed, e.g. vandalism.
  • Art should be appropriate for its location. Site locations for 2017 sculptures can be found here.

Duration of Installation

Duration is dependent on the proposal with a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year. Work is to be continuously displayed during this time. Rochester Parks and Recreation Department reserves the right to request that the artist remove or repair a work at any time during this period if circumstances require. At the end of the duration, the artist retains ownership of the work.


Artists will be notified about the result of their proposals via e-mail by January 30, 2017. At that time they will receive $1,250 of the award to purchase materials and work on the project. The final $1,250 will be awarded upon installation of the art. Inquiries about status of applications will not be accepted after the January 9, 2017 deadline.

Art Sales

The art can be for sale; however, the artwork will remain on display on the trail as per contract signing with the artist.

Capstone Event: Saturday, June 3, 2017.

Marketing the Capstone Event

Our marketing will include press releases and media interviews, posters at restaurants and coffee houses, and postings on our Facebook page, blog and on-line newsletter. We will ask other arts organizations to include our information on their websites, and we will submit information about the capstone event to publishers of regional on-line events calendars.


To facilitate new and emerging artists, RAC will host a number of workshops to support artists in submitting an application to both RAC2 and the new Art4Trails applications.

  • Thursday, November 10, from 6:00 – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, December 10 (afternoon session at the RAC Artists’ Resource Fair)
  • Thursday, December 22, 2016, from 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Additional Information

For further information about the application, please contact