Past Events:

Why We Need Art, Culture and Diversity in Rochester?

When: Saturday, June 8th, 2019 2:00-4:00pm
Where: Douglass Auditorium 36 King Street, Rochester, New York 14608
Parking: Side Lot & Free on street parking

“Artists Talk” is a monthly series panel discussion that focuses on topics from the viewpoint of the Artist that impacts the Artist.

Our first program will feature an all Women panel of accomplished and dynamic Artists from the Rochester Region who will discuss the importance of integrating the arts, culture, and diversity, within the Greater Rochester Area. We believe everyone benefits when great minds get together to engage on diverse topics and cultural experiences.

Featured Artists on this panel:

Olivia Kim
Dulce Ruiz
Cocoa Rae

Faith Gruver

Shelby Zink

This event will launch Rochester Artist Collaborative’s “Women Artist Initiative”.

Women Artists, are most often times discriminated against, under appreciated, and overlooked. Our first will feature a complete panel of Women Artists stimulating cross-cultural interaction and exchanges with diverse thinking.



Featured Panelists:

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About Olivia Kim

Olivia Kim: Olivia Kim is a figure sculptor based in Rochester, New York, USA. She specializes in the ever-changing architecture of human body language, capturing split-second moments in bronze and cast glass. Over the past decade she developed a new art technique involving the practice of world dances and physical training to understand the profound dynamics of movement. She graduated cum laude with Divisional Honors in Ceramic Sculpture from the School of Art and Design, New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University of Alfred, New York in 2001. In 2004 she completed four years of post-graduate studies, receiving her Certificate in Realist Figure Drawing and Sculpture, and Prize for Best Sculpture at the Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy. From 2005- 2010 she learned techniques in bronze casting in Carrara and Pietrasanta, Italy, and produced public and private commissions in sculpture and mural painting. In 2010 she moved back to Rochester, New York, continuing to make sculptures in cast glass, bronze and terracotta. Past projects are dancers from the Bessie Award and Tony Award-winning Garth Fagan Dance Company. Most recently Olivia made 13 Bicentennial Frederick Douglass sculptures for the City of Rochester, NY and for Garth Fagan Dance with the help of over 150 community volunteers. More about the project can be found on the following website: www.douglasstour.com Olivia’s artwork is displayed publicly and privately in Europe, Australia and the USA. Alongside gallery and commission work, Olivia teaches classes in Anatomical Figure Sculpture to Medical Illustrators at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

What does diversity in the arts mean to you?

“I believe that diversity is integral to being human. We are not limited to how we are made or where we come from. We are constantly changing. The arts celebrate the scope of our being-ness, our perception of ourselves and the world around us. Just do you. You add to the spectrum of our world culture, which is ever-changing and beautiful in its complexity. When you do you, there comes a point when diversity doesn't need to exist as a concept anymore. We are simply here, being ourselves!”

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About Dulce Ruiz

Dulce’s love for painting began when she was a child. Armed with paper, crayons, and markers she would draw for hours starting a love for all things creative. Since then she has nurtured her talent by learning to work with many mediums: acrylic, watercolors, jewelry, garden sculptures, pottery, and murals..

“I love making things, and my adventurous spirit keeps me striving to become a juggernaut of creation. I enjoy nature, gardening, geometry, theories about existence, music, deep conversations, connecting people, and dancing.

When she’s not working professionally she continues to hone her craft through teaching art and using it as an enticing vehicle to elicit change.

“I love all things creative and I want to continue creating work that aligns with telling the stories of our ancestors, celebrating the gifts we have today and building a better world for those to come.”

What does diversity in the arts mean to you? Diversity in the arts to me, means seeing artwork that centers on the stories of people with different experiences and cultures. It also means prioritizing and broadcasting ability diverse, neurodiverse, gender diverse artists, and artists of color, so that we can experience the many facets of lived experience, expand our empathy, foster greater capacities for connection, and bring light to the things that need to evolve in our society.

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About Cocoa Rae

Cocoa Rae Davis: Born in Rochester, NY

Lives in Rochester, NY

"I am a photographer who creates captivating portraits of unique and diverse people and captures their true essence. My style consists of vivid colors, Afrocentric shapes and vibes, as well bold lighting techniques. My goal is to create a new style of photography that promotes a positive body image and self love."

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About Faith Gruver

Faith Gruver:


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About Shelby Zink

Shelby Zink: Shelby Zink is a multidisciplinary designer and public health advocate based in Rochester New York. Shelby is an alumna of Syracuse University Industrial and Interaction Design program and received her Bachelors of Industrial Design in 2015. Her work resides at the intersection of design, community health and analytic insights; creating in a variety of mediums ranging from physical products to digital design, community organizing, and health education tools. Shelby has recently co-founded a new group called ALL CAPS which is a collective dedicated to amplifying voices and supporting the prosperity of BIPOC Womxn, trans, & non-binary people in the creative field. She is also a member of the National Design + Diversity 2018 Fellowship Cohort which supports underrepresented designers making social change in their community. shelbyzink.com

Discussion Moderator

Natasha Chen Christensen:  

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About Natasha

Artist Bio: Natasha Chen Christensen is a sociology professor at Monroe Community College. She earned her PhD from UCLA in 2012 with a specialization is in race/class/gender/sexuality, deviant subcultures, and sociology of the body. Her intense curiosity about people causes her to ask a lot of questions, which makes her academic discipline a perfect fit and a good excuse for her nosy tendencies. She's an avid fan of both the visual and performing arts, and is excited to serve as moderator for this panel of dynamic women.

What does diversity in the arts mean to you?

Diversity in the arts means representation of the myriad facets in people's identities. Diversity provides insight into other people's experiences in terms of culture, identity, and everyday life. There are multiple ways of thinking of diversity in terms of the artists, the subjects, and the themes/meanings in the work.