Many thanks for showing up to help guide the re building process at Rochester Art Center this past year. This community is stronger together and RAC is evidence that we can accomplish so much when we work collectively on common goals.

We started 2017 by asking for your support and participation to understand the financial challenges the institution faced. A financial assessment illustrated the pathway forward and an Artist Advisory Group was formed to ensure the arts mission remained strong while we implemented re structuring.

Since then we have decreased the looming deficit and balanced the budgets to help reassure our partners and funders that their investments in RAC will be responsibly directed to deliver arts and education experiences for all Minnesotans.

Each of you stood with us as we worked to build new partnerships and strategies that will ensure sustainability and growth for RAC long into the future. Thank you for staying the course……and for showing up to paint walls, work as greeters and docents, raise additional funds for exhibitions, and even mount the artwork. You have been by our side every step of the way and we are deeply grateful.

As we look forward in 2018 there are many exciting projects to look forward to guided by the steady hands of an able Board of Directors, Interim Director Brian Austin, Curatorial & Programs Associate Abby Gilmore, Event Manager Emily Chambers and Finance and Administration Associate Kalianne Morrison.

It has been a privilege to serve you all this past year. Many thanks for making it such a successful transition for your Rochester Art Center. Well done!

Lee Koch

Outgoing Interim Director

Rochester Art Center


As we usher in 2018, our team at RAC is embracing two complementary drivers – a continued focus on our financial stewardship alongside developing new programs, exhibitions and activities that engage our visitors, members and sponsors.

We clarified a path in 2017 that took hard choices and hard work, but that resulted in popular shows, new audience constituencies and greater collaborations with other community partners. I’m fortunate to be able to build on the foundation established throughout 2017 as we continue to structurally ground our commitments in a path towards continued fiscal responsibility. Our successful Annual Fund campaign was a validation of our efforts and we THANK YOU greatly!

While mindful of our commitments, we’re also excited to seek change and growth. Our incredibly resourceful Staff team – Event Manager Emily Chambers, Curatorial & Programs Associate Abby Gilmore and Finance and Administrative Associate Kalianne Morrison – is all in to serve our audiences and patrons. Together with our Visitor Experience Associates and docents, we are listening to audience feedback and working to deliver an experience with the arts that merits revisiting the RAC.

We’re also fortunate to be working throughout 2018 with Sheila Dickinson, our new Interim Curator of Art & Public Programs. Sheila has been involved with much of 2017’s exhibition schedule and has worked extensively with our Artist Advisory panel, an initiative we’re deepening in the months ahead.

Finally, our Board of Directors has continued to offer time, expertise and financial support across the breadth of the year and our initiatives.  We have benefited from their leadership and look forward to bringing on new members from whom we can also learn and grow.

As the new Interim Executive Director, I’m especially optimistic that we can – and will work towards – being a creative, artistic hub for our community of residents, visitors and observers. Rochester is poised to do many more great things – and RAC looks forward to being of service as we strive for our common goals.

Please join us on Thursday 18 January for the opening of our first exhibition of 2018, Eamon O’Kane: Intimate Expansive.

Happy 2018!

Brian T. Austin, Ph.D.

Interim Executive Director

Rochester Art Center