Rochester Public Library measures art by the square foot – Post Bulletin
Sometimes thinking inside the box can spur creativity. This is certainly the case with the Rochester Public Library’s Square Foot Gallery art exhibit. He currently features depictions of everything from an eye weeping ocean tears to a watering hole in the desert.
The exhibition calls on Olmsted County artists of all ages to submit works that fit within a single square foot. Each exhibition presents the works of 24 artists who fall under a certain theme. The current exhibit, which can be seen in the youth services section of the library until September 15, 2022, features works of art with the theme of water.
Eric Tarr, Library Associate of Rochester Public Library Youth Services, coordinates the Square Foot Gallery. He has worked at the library for about eight years.
“Libraries are a great environment for learning, sharing and creating,” he says. “And the library learns, shares and creates along with the community.”
The concept for the Square Foot Gallery, which began showcasing artwork by local creators in 2018, was born in part because several library staff in the youth services division have a background in art. and appreciate the positive effect it can have on the community. Seeing “underutilized” display cases in the youth services section of the library, they did the math, got creative, and came up with the concept of the 12-inch by 12-inch format. In total, the gallery hosted 15 exhibitions. This represents approximately 360 works of art.
Although Square Foot Gallery went on hiatus during the height of the pandemic, it was relaunched in April 2022 and has since featured broad themes like art that connects to the color yellow. Each new exhibit features eight works of art representing three age groups: 5-12, 13-17, and 18+. Works are chosen for display based on adherence to technical guidelines, artistic merit, craftsmanship, originality and completeness of application.
“The library’s mission is to welcome everyone to connect and learn,” says Heather Acerro, manager of youth services at the Rochester Public Library. “Part of creating a welcoming environment is showcasing and celebrating our community. Having an active art gallery space provides an opportunity for community members to see themselves exposed and become part of that community space.
“Square Foot Gallery also responds to strategic library and city priorities, including building connections, providing cultural opportunities and encouraging creativity,” Acerro said.
The works displayed in the current exhibition bear titles such as “Pirate Sunset”, “Sparkly Mermaid Water”, and “Dimensional Stream”. Artists have used everything from colored pencils and acrylic paints to wire and pebbles in their creations. Part of the beauty of the exhibition is how it presents works of art from very different age groups side by side. The way the pieces create a dialogue with each other regarding their common theme is compelling.
“I most appreciate submissions that embrace the creative process,” Tarr says. “Whether that means artists getting really creative in their interpretation of the theme, or collaborating with friends and family to create artwork together, or really sharing something of themselves by more of their works.”
As Tarr works to develop each new theme for Square Foot Gallery, he says he tries to keep it “open and inviting.”
“I often yell at the office that I need help coming up with a new idea, and someone yells something back. It’s very sophisticated,” he jokes.
The library is currently accepting submissions for the Square Foot Gallery’s upcoming exhibition through September 15, 2022. The theme for submissions is “Birds”. The application file is available at
. He encourages contestants to “just fly away”.
Applications can be submitted in person or by email for consideration. The Birds exhibition will run from October 6 to November 17, 2022.
“We appreciate the effect and impact that art can have on the community,” says Tarr. “It’s an important resource for communication and connection, and it addresses several organizational priorities established by our community.”
He is also quick to point out that the gallery and its art are “fun, uplifting, serious and important, and so many other things. And that’s for everyone. »