Above: artistic research collected by TLP member Emily Augustin.

The Exquisite Mile:
Pollination As Pathway

Occurred Thursday, July 28, 2016

In partnership with Rochester Downtown Alliance (RDA), and local artist Sarah Beadle please join Rochester Art Center’s teen art group Tastes Like Paint (TLP) for a community art-making event inspired by ideas of pollination and artistic research within a one-mile radius of downtown Rochester.

The Exquisite Mile is guided by the goal to connect the Rochester community with a participatory activity within downtown Rochester. After exploring specific areas that could use reactivation or re-contextualization, we chose to highlight Rochester’s human and natural migratory relationships. Rochester’s main industry revolves around the Mayo Clinic, and is marked by millions of people constantly coming and going, whether employed there or receiving care. This relationship can be read symbolically as one of pollen and pollinators, and led us to consider a central question: how do the migrating pollinators of a place experience it?

Co-led by artist Sarah Beadle and RAC Deputy Director and Curator of Contemporary Art Susannah Magers, The Exquisite Mile evokes the art historical concept of The Exquisite Corpse, a collaborative game associated with the Surrealist art movement in the 1920s. Participants write or draw on a sheet of paper, fold it to hide their contribution, and then pass to the next participant to add to it—resulting in a collectively-created, spontaneous, and surprise work of art.

Incorporating these ideas of chance, the combination of disparate visual elements, and group collaboration, the members of TLP acted as artist researchers, collecting data and information over the past two months to inform the content and colors of the cards. The research was conducted within a one-mile radius of downtown Rochester, and focused on observations of pathways, systems, and sites –monumental and banal alike– unique to their experience of the city. Translated onto cards, with representative color on one side and information about what the color represents on the other, the information is shared, pollinating the minds and public of Rochester.

Departing from the traditional paint-by-numbers framework—one anchored by pre-determined form, shape, or pattern—but still emphasizing color and form in relationship to space, the process for The Exquisite Mile allows for the final product to evolve and be shaped by public participation. The structure relies on individual preference, and engages with the idea of the city of downtown Rochester as a still-wild civic space, changing, and shaped by those who move through it. The project also emphasizes that natural and civic spaces aren’t as separate as they appear to be.

Above: detail of wall to be painted behind Rochester Art Center and Mayo Civic Center, facing Mayo Park. Above: detail of wall to be painted behind Rochester Art Center and Mayo Civic Center, facing Mayo Park.

On July 28, 2016, as part of RDA’s Thursdays on First, The Exquisite Mile will culminate with a public participatory painting event in which people can choose a color card from TLP’s tent. TLP members and RAC staff will introduce the project in the heart of downtown Rochester, and encourage visitors to explore further south towards Rochester Art Center, Mayo Park, and the Zumbro River pathways.

The above wall adjacent to Rochester Art Center’s back patio, and facing Mayo Park, is accessible by the bike and pedestrian walking path from downtown Rochester along the Zumbro River. This wall was chosen as the site for the artwork because it is a crucial point of connection that is currently not as visible or utilized as it could be between RAC and RDA. We seek to make it less of a transitory space and one that encourages people to stop and spend some time in Mayo Park, as they visit Rochester Art Center, or during their bike ride or walk along the Zumbro River.

To participate, visit the Tastes Like Paint tent at Thursdays on First July 28, from 12 – 5 pm

            1. Pick up a color card.
            1. Head to Mayo Park, adjacent to RAC, and accessible via the Zumbro River parkway.
            1. Grab a paintbrush and contribute using the color from your color card to our exquisite corpse on the wall facing Mayo Park. 

Our collaborative-community creation will be on view through Fall 2016!