Big Ideas. Small Venues.

Current Seen supports the region’s contemporary art community by bringing new curatorial voices and new artists together in Downtown Rochester. Our goal is to organize collaborative programs that help create a more sustainable and equitable art community. We’re dedicated to small & mid-sized venues and grassroots organizations.

Current Seen will continue to evolve post-COVID, and change in response to the key issues facing our community. The 2022 program focuses solely on Art Community Conversations, which we hope will inform and shape the next chapter of our art scene, as well as future iterations of Current Seen.

Local Media & the Arts: Another Rochester Is Possible
organized by Darien Lamen
October 22

The Spirit of Sankofa: Collaboration and Representation in the Arts
organized by Ya’qub Shabazz
October 29


In 2015, Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) inherited the “Rochester Biennial” from The Memorial Art Gallery. RoCo’s goal was to work with other small & mid-sized venues to build a multi-site contemporary art program in Downtown Rochester. For the 2017 edition RBNL, RoCo, VSW, and RIT City Art Space (then Gallery r) each presented exhibitions which investigated collaboration and influence. Curated experiences, a Placemaking Processional, and a series of progressive artist talks linked the venues.

In 2019 Current Seen brought together more community partners and create a contiguous string of contemporary visual art exhibitions, pop-ups, and public art along East Ave. and Main St. This geographic focus addressed the corridor as both a dividing line and a connective thread. Like the influential 4th Berlin Biennial was built upon the historic and complicated Auguststraße, Current Seen 2019 laced together programs near some of Rochester’s most recognizable addresses, and offered a new history of the corridor by Gerry Szymanski and Kyle Semmel. Like Rochester’s own Wall Therapy has mixed international and local artists to build a highly visible mural arts program, Current Seen featured artists ranging from the legendary British filmmaker John Maybury to regionally emerging artists exhibiting in their first solo exhibition post-graduation. Learn more about Current Seen 2019 in the archive page.

Current Seen has taken several forms yet remained dedicated to supporting Rochester’s small and mid-sized venues. Linked with First Friday, Current Seen is intended to foster collaboration, help spaces achieve greater collective impact, celebrate the act of curation, and aid artists in reaching new expanded audiences.

Want to get involved? Contact us if you’d like to help shape the future of this program.

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September 5, 2019
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