27 July 2020


Constellation Painted Terra Cotta Pot

RAC Summer intern Elizabeth created a beautiful painted terra cotta pot – and you can too! See the materials list and Elizabeth’s instruction below. Get ready to let your star sign shine with this personalized art project! 


Terra Cotta Pots (4.5 inch size are recommended)

Acrylic paint (dark blue, purple, silver, and gold)

Paint Markers 

Paint brushes (large to small) 

Water & Water Cup


Gather your  materials and set up your area for painting by placing newspapers on your table or do this project outside. Begin by painting your pot the color of the night sky – this could be dark blue, black, or a deep purple. Have fun with it and create whatever sky you’d like! Next, as that layer dries, consider your design. If you want to make a constellation you can find images online to pick your favorite constellation. Once the base coat is dry you can begin outlining your design. Consider making small sketches with a pencil that you can go over with paint once ready. Once you have chosen and sketched your design, use your paint markers and brushes to paint your constellation. You have to have a steady hand, which makes this a good time to use the paint markers. Once you have finished the design, let that dry. Then you are ready to add finishing details. Maybe you want to name your constellation, add glitter, small stars all around, you can do whatever you want. Once the pot is dry, plant a succulent in your new planter and keep it inside in a sunny spot in your home. 

19 June 2020

Artist Father Feature // Simon Huelsbeck

How has your practice changed since you became a father?

Everything has changed since I became a father and the center of gravity in my life has shifted. My work has always run parallel to my life and while not overt my experience as a father became a significant theme in my work. However, the effect on my work has not been entirely positive. For two years after the birth of my second child – I didn’t apply for a single exhibition or grant and my studio practice was sporadic. Now my kids, Oliver and Stella, are seven and eleven years old and are constant sources of inspiration. They are frequently subjects for my work and have been outright collaborators on several paintings. After all, in many ways they are better painters than I could hope to be.

How do you explore art with your children?

While we certainly weren’t as active, having children has never kept us entirely from attending exhibition receptions or artist talks etc. We are fortunate enough to have kids at a time when institutions and galleries have been supportive and even encouraging in their inclusion of families. I had the football hold down so that my babies felt like extensions of my own body and spent many an art evening with a baby (drooling) on my arm. We have always kept a bag of activities for art events that I hope haven’t been overly disruptive these many years; and now they have friends at exhibitions, more often than not. I love the way that kids respond to work. They don’t have the same preconceived notions of what makes art good. Having said all that, at this point they would rather do most anything than go to an art reception and especially the dreaded “artist talk”. I hope in the long run they might look back with a fonder view of it.

Is there a particular artist you are inspired by?

I just can’t do one when there are so many! Recently, I have been taking inspiration from a variety of figurative painters that create lovely twists (sometimes beautifully grotesque) in their work: John Went, Kerry James Marshall, Mia Bergeron, Radu Belcin, Lou Ros, Zoey Frank, Alex Kanevsky. Recently I’ve been doing a lot of sculpture and have been inspired by the figurative(ish) sculptors: Hank Willis Thomas, Urs Fischer, Robert Gober, Kiki Smith, and Roman Langlois.
And since this is about being a parent I am constantly inspired by the creative activities of my local colleagues and friends that manage to do so much and be fantastic parents like: Amarama Verncocke, Cassandra Buck, Matt Winkler, Sophia Chai, Sheila Dickinson, Beth and John Sievers, Kjellgren Alkire, Karl Unnasch, Niki Havekost, Katya Roberts, Pat Dunn-Walker, MaryBeth Magyar, Matt Holt, and many more.

What are you currently working on?
I am excited to be installing a sculpture for Art4Trails I’ve been working on for sometime this week. I am also doing of a portrait of a Mayo physician today for Lifeline – an exhibition celebrating local heroes fighting the Corona epidemic. I am also working on personal sculptures and paintings that include my kids as subjects. This has been an incredibly productive and busy time for me. Please see photos….


Visit Simon’s website to learn more: http://www.simonhuelsbeck.net/

16 June 2020

Artist Father Feature // Witt Siasoco

How has your practice changed since you became a father?
Both of my kids, Rey (14) and Ella (9), have been influenced by my work as an artist, but more so as an art museum educator – they have grown up in art museums. When my daughter Ella was born, I was working at the Walker Art Center in the education department and barely making my own art. Her birth really pushed me to think about my relationship to art and examine why I was involved with object making. At the time I had a lot of deeply personal questions about artmaking and art institutions’ relationship to the immediate community. When Ella was born, I quit my job of 13 years to pursue studio practice.

How do you explore art with your children?

Despite my love-hate relationship with arts institutions, I frequent art museums often. One of my favorite places is the Kunin Collection of portraits at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Rey and Ella have grown up with me as an arts educator, so despite their tendency to drag their feet, they end up drawing with me for hours in the galleries. We also are blessed to have many artist friends that are always creating informal and formal enriching art engagements for them. Art is woven into our lives and many times I look at it as a part of our family’s unspoken rituals and spirituality.

Is there a particular artist that you’re inspired by?
There are too many to name just one. off the top of my head these artists have always been inspirational – Emory Douglas, Sister Corita Kent, Mark Gonzales, and Margaret Kilgallen. Through my work with the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council, I also had the opportunity to meet (and sometimes work side by side) with artists like Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Allora and Calzadilla, Kara Walker and Kerry James Marshall. These experiences greatly affected the way I work in community settings and helped me form how I approach making art. Also, I have been incredibly lucky to have a network of community-based artists locally that inspire and push me to do the work that I do. These artists include Wing Young Huie, Mike Hoyt, Xavier Tavera, Leslie Barlow, TaCoumba Aiken, and Seitu Jones.

What are you currently working on?
Since the murder of George Floyd, most of of my work has been focused on seeking justice through creating banners, protest signs, and murals. Outside of the current moment, I was commissioned by the City of Minneapolis to create large scale mural for the new Public Service Building in Downtown Minneapolis.

Learn more about Witt Siasoco on his website: https://wittsiasoco.com/

22 May 2020

RAC Art @ Home | Leaf Rubbings

Spring is in the air, a perfect time to use fresh leaves for art-making! 

RAC Education Manager, Amy, had to trim leaves from a flower arrangement, and thought: Oh! Time to do a classic leaf rubbing!” Supplies: fresh leaves, paper, crayons or chalk, a pen or a marker. 

Method: Experiment with how you want to arrange your leaves. Place a piece of paper over the leaves. Rub the broad side of a crayon across the paper, revealing the vein structure of the leaf underneath (crayons work wonderfully, Amy had to improvise using chalk pastels in this example). Add even more detail with a pen or marker if you like! Older children may want to decorate their leaf rubbing by adding text. Writing Prompts may include: “What is your favorite thing about Spring?” “Write a haiku style poem about leaves.” Or “How do leaves help plants grow?”

10 May 2020

We are wrapping up our Virtual Free Family Day: Celebrate Mom week-long event with an art project! Making tissue paper flowers is easy and fun. All you need is tissue paper, scissors and pipe cleaners.

Note: If you don’t have tissue paper, coffee filters will work just as well! You can even color them with markers if you’d like. String can be used in place of pipe cleaners.

-Cut the tissue paper into 4 or 5 squares or rectangles. They should be roughly the same size. 

-Stack your tissue paper pieces. Fold like an accordion all the way to the end.

-Wrap your pipe cleaner or string around the center of your tissue paper accordion and twist to secure.

-You can cut the edges of your tissue paper to be rounded or leave them as they are.

-Start pulling up each tissue paper sheet, one at a time & alternating sides, starting from the center.

-At this point, you can crinkle, fluff and pull any way you like to complete your flower!

Happy Mother’s Day from from everyone at RAC! Although we couldn’t be together for an in-person Free Family Day, we hope you enjoyed our week-long Virtual Free Family Day event.

9 May 2020

RAC Art @ Home: I Spy

What are RAC staff members doing with their kiddos at home? Playing “I Spy”! A family favorite at the Rochester Art Center, “I Spy” encourages parents and little ones to slow down and notice details in a broader plane. Method: Use the photo and prompts below, or create your own as a family. You can also adapt the I Spy game using photography coffee table books, kids’ picture books, or famous works of art! “I spy with my little eye….” 

I Spy // Yo espío

Two letter As // Dos A

The number four // El numero cuatro

Three flowers // Tres flores

Puzzle Piece // Pieza de puzzle

How many yellow items can you find? // ¿Cuántos artículos amarillos puedes encontrar?

How many animals can you find? // ¿Cuántos animales puedes encontrar?

How many art supplies can you find? // ¿Cuántos materiales de arte puedes encontrar?

8 May 2020

Leah Joy Bee at her mural Adventure Magic, 2019

Mother Artist Highlight | Leah Joy Bee

1. How has your art practice changed since you became a mom?
I have a son, Abram, who encourages me to paint, and sometimes he joins in as well. My art practice is a million times more fun as a mother, and I think it shows in my Organic shapes and colors.

2. How do you explore art with your children? 
Abe joins me for kids camp each year, we paint at home, we create art projects for outdoors too. Art is the foundation of our life together.

3. How do you balance running an arts-based business with motherhood?
With grace. I ask for help when I need it. I have a loving partner, very helpful parents, and a community of friends who help raise my son. We are missing that community right now, I’m hopeful we will all be together again soon.

Check out Leah’s Art Studio where she offers interactive group experiences, instructional based painting and design sessions, private events, and fundraisers for organizations in our community! https://canvasandchardonnay.com/ She is also offering at-home art kits!

6 May 2020

From This Side of The Sun, 2019 at The Castle

Mother Artist Highlight | Katya Roberts

1. How has your practice changed since you became a mom?

Having kids has the potential to both challenge and enrich perspectives. Therein lies the possibility for growth. I have grown tremendously as an artist since becoming a mom. It has looked different during different seasons of their developmental stages. Today, their presence and curiosity invites me to slow down. Their energy and spirit of adventure broadens ways of seeing and calls me into a world of alternate possibilities.

2. How do you explore art with your children?

I invite my children to experience my work, it gives me insight into seeing things the way they do and into how one might interact with the work. Their honesty is unfiltered and their gut responses to the work come from an observant and intuitive place.

We often go on nature discovery walks and collect items we might find interesting. Sometimes we go and just listen, or jump over a brook back and forth. There is spontaneity here where the walk might turn into something else entirely, like the time we ended up cleaning up trash from a wetland area.

3. How do you plan to celebrate mother’s day this year?

My husband and kids usually plan the entire day and I just get to come along for the ride. I like surprises and a chance to decompress. The artistic parallel to this is practicing letting go, going with whatever happens next, and trusting. Last year’s mother’s day adventures included a steamboat ride on the Mississippi. I have a hunch this year might be more simple with a picnic outdoors somewhere and maybe some hammock time in the backyard.

Images from at Traverse Rochester Art Center, 2018

You can learn more about Katya Roberts on her website www.katyaroberts.com and view her permanent Art4Trails sculpture Unbroken behind the Rochester Art Center in Mayo Park. Roberts is featured in a new book The Motherhood of Art by Marissa Huber & Heather Kirtland.

5 May 2020

RAC Art @ Home | Chalk “Paint”

Want to take your sidewalk chalk game up a notch? RAC Education Manager, Amy, created this vibrant sidewalk chalk “paint” using common household items. Supplies: Colorful chalk, hammer, plastic zipper bag (such as Ziploc, Glad or other), cloth rag, water, flour, dish soap, paint brush and containers. 


Place chalk pieces of like colors in a plastic zipper bag.

Cover the bag with a cloth rag and gently tap the chalk pieces with the hammer to crush them. This method was inspired by Amy’s years in the food service industry, crushing candy pieces by hand to go into ice-cream treats! Older children may do this step with adult supervision. Crush only one color at a time for best results.

Place the crushed chalk in a container. Pictured here are small dipping sauce containers from restaurant take-out, but a squeeze bottle or other sized tub with lid is fine. Raid that recycling bin for options!

Add a little bit of water, a pinch of flour and a small amount of dish soap to the crushed chalk. Exact measurements will vary depending on the amount of chalk and size of container.

Give a quick stir, place lid on container and shake to combine.This should dissolve the chalk into a chunky “paint”. Too thin? Add more flour. Too thick? Add more water.

Use a brush to paint on the sidewalk or driveway. Remember to dip your brush into a cup of water in between colors to rinse it. We also tested it on a scrap of heavy weight paper, and discovered that it produced a nice water-color effect.

4 May 2020

Mother Artist Highlight | Shah Noor Shafqat

RAC: How has your practice changed since you became a mom? 

Shah Noor:  My practice as a mom artist totally changed as I am always super busy. I hardly get any time to work on my projects so I started to work at night after my kids’ sleep. My art practice is now always based on my experience as a mother. Most of my work is based on motherhood and my kids.

RAC: How do you explore art with your children? 

Shah Noor: I have always loved nature and the way I explore with them is we spend time outdoors appreciating nature and taking inspiration from it as an artist.

RAC: How do you plan to celebrate mother’s day this year?

Shah Noor:  My daughter always surprises me by making a nice mother’s day card! Not really sure because of the current situation. But a little ice cream cake ceremony from Cold Stone might be something we end up doing.

This Artist Highlight is part of a week-long Virtual Free Family Day: Celebrate Mom! Shah Noor Shafqat has recently been awarded a SEMAC Emerging Artist Grant and will be exhibiting at the Rochester Art Center when the building reopens. Check out Shafqat’s installation Intimate Gravity, part of past exhibition Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code. 

3 May 2020 

Drawing Prompts

Today, We are kicking-off our  week-long Virtual Free Family Day by introducing the concept of using prompts to create art. If your child is set up with paper and crayons, and immediately looks to you saying, “Mom, I don’t know what to draw!” we’re here to help.  

Visual Prompts exploring identity:

Who am I?

When I grow up…

When I’m alone

Someday I will…

My family 

Visual Prompts exploring objects:

My favorite thing in my room

Draw something round

Draw something square

Draw something blue

Draw a chair

What do you see in the kitchen?

What is your favorite toy?

Visual Prompts exploring art skills & imagination:

Invent an object – What does it do?

Use only two colors

Try using only one color

Draw a landscape

What do you see in the mirror?

Draw to music

20 April 2020 |  Meet The Staff

Zoe Cinel | Associate Curator

How long you’ve been at RAC OR when you joined us: My connection with RAC started in 2018 when I was commissioned to create G-enga, an interactive sculpture inspired by the human genome and the game Jenga. I love that now I get to work my dream job in the curatorial department right next to where my sculpture is installed!

Short Bio: Originally from Florence, Italy, Zoe has called Minnesota home since 2015. When she is not working at RAC, she teaches and makes art with the collective CarryOn Homes.

What is your favorite thing about RAC and why? RAC to me is a canvas open to infinite possibilities and a welcoming place for the whole community. Also, I love the piano! 

What has been your favorite RAC exhibition? All the exhibitions at RAC are engaging in their own way but working on the exhibitions from the ROOTED Program has been an exciting chance for a transplant like me to better know the amazing artists working in Rochester!

What is the strangest talent you have? I am a terrible cook but I am weirdly good at making friends with people who are really good cooks!

What is one interesting fact about you that no one else knows about? I believe in horoscopes.

How do you practice self care in stressful situations such as COVID-19? Cooking and taking walks has been a good way of channeling the stress. Also getting my extended family together for “online family meals” where we video call and eat from three different countries and time zones has been a way to feel connected even from a distance.

Interview by Ana Gotmer, Events Manager

19 April 2020 | RAC Art @ Home: Zen Tangle

Fun for all ages! Rochester Art Center Education Manager, Amy, explores color and pattern in an easy “zen tangle” style of drawing. Sharpie Permanent Marker on card stock.

Method: Draw one continuous, overlapping line. Connect the starting point to the end point. Fill the fields the line created with color and pattern!

Click here to see the video.

Click here to add your own text