The Yards Collective offers a space for community engagement and the networking of Rochester’s art scene. Our goal is to provide a platform for creative individuals to learn real world skills, or as we like to put it all the things they didn't teach you in art school! Our primary services and resources revolve around studio spaces that are available on a three month basis and residency programs that are both enriching and inspiring. We are also host to First Friday exhibitions, curated showcases, workshops, public critiques, and private rentals in our Gallery space and Lounge.
The Yards differs from other art spaces in that our central focus is to foster a supportive community for all creative ventures. Studio artists have 24 hour access and the opportunity to discuss, share, and develop their practice with other renters as well as access to the public. Members that have successful careers in the arts include Interstellar Lovecraft, Bee Paperhouse, and Color Punch Creative.
Rochester has a bustling and diverse art scene and our space is centrally located within The Rochester Public Market. Every Saturday morning we are open from 10-2, right upstairs from where you get your daily cup of coffee at Javas! Our foot traffic from the market is year-round despite the weather of an upstate New York winter, we enjoy the regular support of our community! The Yards Collective Art Space was founded in 2011 by Sarah Rutherford and Lea Rizzo, the space is now owned and operated by long time member and former intern, Kristina Kaiser.
Meet our Resident Studio Artists
As a conceptual artist, Rebecca "Reb" Ayse is fascinated with stretching the limits in traditional media. She likes to think that her work lies somewhere between the dark and dusty corners of her mind and the bright afternoon light on plants in her studio. Often dealing with the concept of fabricated truths, she pulls from spotty memories based in personal trauma, relying on process-heavy mediums. Experimental mark-making is a strong focus of hers, as she finds its description most telling of some of the rawest experiences she draws from. Her work takes material form in alternative process photographs, etchings, performance, drawings and installations. When she isn't in the studio she is working to promote accessibility to the arts through teaching affordable classes, curating free First Friday exhibits and sharing resources through her work as the media and public relations rep at Genesee Valley Council on the Arts.
Find her work online at www.reb-ayse.com
Jennifer Kircher Carr’s fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and is published in numerous literary journals, including The Rumpus, North American Review, Monkeybicycle, Prairie Schooner, Hobart, Alaska Quarterly, Jellyfish Review, and The Nebraska Review, where it also won the Fiction Prize. Her non-fiction is published in Edible Finger Lakes and Poets & Writers, among others. She is currently working on a novel and a collection of linked fiction, and teaches at Writers & Books.
Creating connections between past and present. Capturing the joy and pain of memories. By gathering found and consigned objects, Christie Nesbit creates harmony among items that don't seem to go together - a "beautiful chaos." She provides a second life for discarded bits which tell stories and history. Christie’s finished pieces evoke nostalgic feelings and wonder - because, when we are unsure of what lies before us, we can seek comfort from what has already been.
Christie has lived in Rochester since 2009 but grew up in Pennsylvania outside of Harrisburg. She has been passionate about art and art making since childhood. Christie has experience with a wide variety of mediums but her current infatuation is with collage and assemblage - the endless prompt. She is a Yards Residency alum. Christie lives in the North Winton neighborhood with her spouse, Emily; dog, Rocky Donuts; and rabbit, Cashew. Instagram: @byfiver
Marks work has a very graphic style. Whether he is shooting black & white or color, digital or film, he always looks for bold compositions and interesting subject matter. Mark specializes in street, travel, and surf photography which begs the question- how did he get involved in surf photography?
“Western NY is not exactly a hotbed for the sport (although there is a hearty group of lake surfers in the area). When I was young, a family from California moved to my neighborhood. They brought the style and culture of Southern California with them and I was immediately drawn to the sport and lifestyle.”
Mark began shooting on his first trip to Hawaii and then during subsequent trips to California, Mexico, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. When he’s not walking the beach, he is on the street capturing the seemingly mundane daily events that are so easily overlooked. Mark attempts to convey emotion through the click of a shutter and to frame the world the way he sees it. In the words of the American photographer Elliot Erwitt- “Photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Veronica Wilson is a native Rochestarian who marches to the beat of her own drum.
Veronica is a decorated Navy veteran and served in Naples, Italy and Keflavic, Iceland. For eleven years she was CEO of a successful IT firm that she founded while living in Washington, DC. After selling her company she attended the Coaches Training Institute and became a certified Success and Life Coach. Combining her business knowledge, military experience and a variety of coaching tools and resources, she consults as an Expansion Specialist with a limited number of clients. Currently, she is consulting with NFL Super Bowl Champion Roland Williams for his organization the Champion Academy Extreme Mentoring and Empowering Initiative, which is the largest mentoring program for at-risk youth in the city of Rochester.
Through drumming, Veronica is raising her vibration and shifting energy.
AKA The Darling Rage
Molly is an abstract artist and proud Rochester, NY native. She uses paint, ink and other mixed mediums in her work. Her pieces focus on the juxtaposition of light and dark; of vulnerability and boundaries. The bold and vibrant paintings she creates use layers of color that are partially hidden underneath layers of black in order to explore the hidden complexity of emotion and human experience that lies beneath the surface of everyone's skin.
She sees her explorations in abstraction as an exercise in process: artifacts that show the covering and uncovering of hidden depths.
You can see more of her work here:
Rachel Anna DeVona is a visual artist living in Rochester since 2014, working with paint, torn paper, cardboard and fabric; the “stuff” of her world that composes each creation. These items have found a heartbeat for art that may have otherwise been thrown away.
Schooled in the traditions of fine art at SUNY New Paltz, she returns to them time and again to give voice to artwork born of passion for colors, textures, and the latent possibilities of the objects and forms around her.
Relationships are found everywhere and Rachel brings both patient craftsmanship and explosive gestures to her work to explore them. She is both old school and new school. Rachel very much enjoys the journey of making each piece.
Find her work online at www.rachelannadevona.com
Eliza’s practice begins in the library. Her research investigates topics of feminism, history of women's roles in society, body image, and conceptual art. Personal experience, coupled with extensive ideation, determine which materials she will use for a project. She prefers non-conventional art forms, using materials as a means to an end rather than an influence.
Eliza received her BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in May of 2018.
Geoff Graser writes journalism, essays, memoir and fiction. Home base is Rochester, NY. He holds a Master’s in Journalism from Syracuse University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Bennington College. His work has appeared in USA Today, Washington City Paper, Rochester’s City Newspaper and Democrat and Chronicle, Medium.com, Santa Clara Review, The Big Brick Review and r.kv.r.y. When not tending to his mildly absurd obsession with the Buffalo Bills, he's working on a book about artists and mental health. Check out his writing at geoffgraser.com.
Creating music is Art, Creating sound is Engineering. Musicians treat the tonality of their instruments as though they are an amalgamation of mystical qualities, only to be accentuated by the rarity and vintage of its components. Guitarists love Vacuum Tubes, Germanium Transistors, Paper in Oil Capacitors, Lead Solder, Bucket Brigade Integrated Circuits, and pretty much any technology invented before 1980. Baja has been known to fall for that romantic nostalgia. However he must remind himself sound is engineering, not art.
Baja is on a Cartesian journey to reconstruct my knowledge of electric guitar sound from the variable magnetic field produced by a vibrating string through every, resistor, capacitor, tube, transistor, and transformer. Baja has come to the realization that his appetite to create will outgrow his desire to keep finished projects.
The excellent artwork enclosing exciting engineering is created by his wife, Sowolu. Let's be honest with ourselves, fellow guitarists; we only ever buy something if the paint job is cool. Instagram: @bajafm
Lisa Rickman aka “Sowolu”
Sowolu is a lifelong photographer, writer and painter whose work is a combination of storytelling and portraiture expanding across a plurality of disciplines from her multifaceted background in journalism, marketing and research writing. Since 2010 she has worked with a multitude of local media, businesses, private clients and photographers on a wide range of projects.
Sowolu draws inspiration from her dual heritage and a strong research foundation to create pieces delving into symbolism, myth and psychology. Her current works are studies of ancient art and mythology using modern palettes and styles. You can usually find her in the studio she shares with her guitar-nerd husband during The Yards’ Saturday Market hours from 10am-2pm, and visit her site @Sowolu.
‘Sowolu’ is a Germanic rune symbolizing the Sun, the ultimate life force. This rune stands for wholeness and a sense of well being that is founded in the Suns’ energy, oneness and the cyclical aspect of life and the universe.
Nancy J. Pigno is a dancer/choreographer turned writer/creativity coach. She is a teacher by day, and creative superhero by night. (Also by day, if we are being honest here.) Nancy trained as a Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach, Modern Day Muse Facilitator and is a Certified Positive Psychology Practitioner. She offers up a "Muse-a-Palooza" of writings, workshops and projects that honor and support the creative process. Love letters for the creative spirit, anyone? They are called "Museletters," of course, and it's the project that Nancy is currently working on when she isn't being distracted by other creative shiny things.
Wood Shop Manager
JT Pirog is a carpenter and wood shop renter at The Yards. His practice is mainly focused in turned wood forms and vessels. His pieces combine precise geometrical shapes and cuts with natural elements of the wood material such as cracks, bark edges or bores made by insects.
Kristina Kaiser is the creative mind behind Hohm Designs, living and creating in Rochester, NY. In 2013 Kristina earned a BFA in Studio Arts: Painting with a dual major in Art History from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Kristina is widely exhibited in the Rochester area and has participated in a group showcase at Oakland Terminal Art Gallery in 2015. She has also worked with WXXI and Rochester Cocktail Revival for event decor consulting. Current positions include Director and Business Owner of The Yards Collective Art Space LLC and member of Politits: Art Coalition.
Acting as an art administrator Kristina has developed programming to help support and encourage emerging artists to reach creative success. The most acknowledged program developed by Kristina is the Yards Collaborative Residency established in 2013. In March of 2018 the vision of collaboration continued, the residency was featured by the Memorial Art Gallery for a one night event featuring the artists from the January 2018 session.
Mary Ethel Rockcastle covets many formats of creative expression. Mary returned to Rochester in 2015 after graduating from Parsons the New School for Design with a BFA in illustration. She is a trained oil painter but mostly works in the fiber world these days. She makes home wares and decorative works under the moniker of Sablecraft and blogs her personal makes and garments at www.sablecraft.com. Mary is also a florist working in her family business, Rockcastle Florist. Her work is modern and has a sense of humor that anyone can bring to their home. When not knee deep in fiber or flowers, Mary can be found sipping coffee with her dog in her lap watching bad reality television.
Gary T Redlinski
Gary describes himself as an artistically inclined Army veteran who enjoys traveling, family and meeting with and helping people.
Originally from Buffalo, NY and now residing in Irondequoit, Gary is retired and enjoys creating art in a variety of media, including photography, jewelry design, woodworking, pyrography, graphic design, ceramics, painting and writing.
J. J. Pelechaty
In JJ's collage world, go analogue or go home. Born with a pair of scissors in her hand, JJ lives to cut and paste. She blurs the lines of reality by placing unassuming subjects into unexpected situations with her collage. She's been featured in zines and publications throughout the US including the National Collage Society’s 2019 calendar, Edinburgh Collage Society’s ‘Vinylism’ exhibit in Scotland and ‘The Collage Garden’ in Hong Kong, NYC, Moscow and The Netherlands. JJ hosts a weekly radio show as well as a YouTube channel with the same theme of her art, "putting pieces of ourselves together makes us whole". By combining music, collage and enthusiastic folks who love art, she's created a surreal world anyone would want to live in. JJ lives and works in Rochester, NY.
Youmee Lee is a multi-faceted artist, designer, and filmmaker. Through her allegorical approach in the pictorial space, she is exploring physical vulnerability and transitions between different cultures. Her identity as a deaf Korean American woman is an integral part of her work, in which she is constantly figuring out how to bridge gaps between multiple worlds through shared humanity. Art is a communicative medium where she elicits her own whimsical imagination, experimenting with narrative storytelling. So far, she has been intertwining fine arts, illustration, and moving images into her intricate body of work. She has completed her art residency at the Yards (Rochester, NY) in June of 2018.
Apart from art, she enjoys traveling overseas, cooking different cuisines, reading in coffee shops, and watching insightful documentaries. She is a fierce advocate for social good, and she intends to use art to serve that purpose.