After several years of living abroad, Megan Johnston, feels right at home in Rochester — and not just because she’s a Minnesota native.
“Rochester is international and feels international to me,” Johnston, the new director of the Rochester Art Center, said.
That, in turn, makes her wonder if some of the arts and cultural initiatives she experienced while living in the United Kingdom couldn’t be repeated here. In the UK, access to museums and galleries is generally free to all, supported by public funding and private donations.
In some respects, Rochester mirrors that, she said, with its public funding for the art center and other cultural bodies. “I’m so grateful for the support of the city,” Johnston said.
“We know that if people are exposed to culture, they’re better people,” she said. “They have more empathy, they have visual literacy, these are skills we need for the future. So art is an investment in people. The UK gets that and I love that the city (of Rochester) gets that.”
Johnston would like to take that exposure to culture another step. When Johnston worked at the Great Plains Art Museum in Fargo, N.D., she said, every child in the public school system came to the museum every year.
“I’m very interested in presenting a proposal to the school board that every child in school goes to an art event every year,” she said. “Imagine what kind of people we would be helping to create.”
Current exhibitions at the Rochester Art Center:
“Existential Crisis,” by Akosua Adoma Owusu, through Jan. 3.
“Entwined” by Julia Buffalohead, through Jan. 3.
“Iluminame (Enlighten Me)” by Jose Dominguez, through Jan. 3.
Zenzizenzizenzic” by Eric Frye, closes Sunday.
“Burnt Matchstick” by Karl Unnasch, in the sculpture garden through June 2016.
—Washington D.C. area artists Zoe Charlton and Tim Doud will speak at the next (K)NOW session at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the art center. Both artists are on the faculty at American University. They will reflect on their experiences as artists and colleagues and the development of their respective artistic practices. A cocktail reception follows. Admission is free.
The art center is located at 40 Civic Center Drive SE, adjacent to Mayo Civic Center.