Main Event: Artbash extends its reach, raises $75K

ARTBASH attendees socialize and look at the art on display at the Rochester Art Center.

The commitment of Rochester Art Center'sleadership to engage with the community in novel ways continued at Artbash 2016, their annual fundraiser, Sept. 16 at the RAC.

Some 280 people attended the event and raised $75,000. Megan Johnston, executive director of the art center, said proceeds of this year's Artbash would be allocated differently from past years. She said 50 percent would fund arts programming at the center and 50 percent would go to the artists exhibiting work in the auction.

Highlights of the evening event included the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Awardto Judy Onofrio, an auction of the work of more than 40 regional artists, a riverwalk promenade to PlaceMakers, and an Afterbash at Paine Furniture.

KTTC-TV news anchor Tom Overliepresented the award to Onofrio, and spoke of her many accomplishments, which include the establishment in 1971 of the Think and Do Total Arts Day Camp, RAC's longest running educational program.

"She is a beacon of creativity and inspiration," Overlie said. "And has supported the development of hundreds of artists."


Accepting the award, Onofrio said, "I learned everything I know from the Rochester Art Center. I began the Total Arts Day Camp because I have a love of educating kids, but also of educating myself."

Her exhibit, "Unearth," artwork utilizing found animal bones, will remain at the center through December.

Exhibiting artist C. Anthony Huber, who attended the event with Susan Curtis, said the auction was "like an alumni show," because a number of the artists had exhibited previously at the RAC.

"It's a great eclectic collection," Huber said.

He and Curtis said they enjoyed watching Onofrio receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

"Judy is a force," Curtis said. "She has a passion for this community, an artistic nature, and a drive to create."

"She's always moving forward," Huber added. "Her creative process is like a burning fire."

Attendee Nicole Pierson, a member of RAC board, said she has come to the event several years.


"The art center has become a real hub," she said. "We really want the community using it. "Placemakers and the Afterbash at Paine Furniture is a reaching out into the community. We hope they come back and explore more."

First time attendees Maryand Scott Weldersaid they were attending the event for a deeper appreciation of the arts and cultural community in Rochester.

"We've recently become acquainted with the staff here," Mary Welder said. "They are really embracing the community. It's inspiring."

Attendees Karinand Frank Corlare relatively new to Rochester, but their family participated in and enjoyed Family Day this past year.

"There was lots of interactivity," Karin said, "and our kids learned through exploration. They loved it. They really got to see art in all its forms, not just a painting on a wall."

Julieand Steve Troutmanhave attended Artbash for the past 10 years. He is a past board president.

"Moving into this building, the RAC became more cosmopolitan," Julie said. "We want a world-class clientele to come to our city. We have a world-class contemporary art museum. We are very lucky."

For more information about the programs and exhibitions at the art center, visit .


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