Artists’ Talk, Reception Planned for “Urban Alchemy” Exhibit at O’Keefe Ross Gallery

April 5, 2024

St. John Fisher University will host an artists’ talk and reception for the mixed media exhibit, “Urban Alchemy,” now on display at the Patricia O’Keefe Ross Gallery, located in the Joseph S. Skalny Welcome Center.

Art on display at the Urban Alchemy Exhibit.

The reception, which will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, is made possible through the support of the School of Arts and Sciences at Fisher and RocGrowth, a community of 3,000 members supporting new leaders and innovators in Rochester.

The exhibit features the work of Rochester artists Magnus Champlin and Richard Colón. Curated by Richard Glaser, a well-known entrepreneur and community activist in Rochester, the show is a love letter to Rochester, exploring how two artists see the exceptional where others might see the mundane—finding magic in graffiti on a dumpster or the flock of crows roosting on trees. 

“When I was invited to curate and produce an art exhibit for Fisher, I was asked to feature Rochester and build bridges between the University and the city. The campus is six miles from downtown and much further from the urban core in other ways,” Glaser said. “This challenge would involve a certain ‘alchemy’ and I immediately thought of my friends and talented creatives, Richard and Magnus. Their adoration for the city runs deep throughout their artistry and they also have demonstrable success educating and inspiring young people.”

Champlin is an illustrator and creative with a design studio located in downtown Rochester. With a head full of random factoids, and a sincere wish to create unusual and captivating pieces to inform and delight, his work goes from the small to larger-than-life.  His work can be seen in various places throughout Rochester, from the illustrated signage at the Seneca Park Zoo and murals in the Rochester Museum and Science Center, to fun art drops left for people to find. Aside from his creative work, Champlin is on various boards and projects to help strengthen the local communities in Rochester.

Colón is a street photographer born and raised in Rochester. His main focus has been to capture the beauty of urban streets and the architecture that Rochester has to offer as well as views that most have rarely seen. His work has been featured in Coffee People Magazine as well as at Ugly Duck Coffee. He also released his first ever photo zine, “Vibe-ography,” in 2022. He is the founder and curator of Behind the Glass Gallery, which showcases work by underrepresented artists in the heart of downtown, and he is a member of the steering committee for ROC Arts United.

The exhibit includes a selection of Colón’s photographs juxtaposed next to large- and small-scale murals and installations created by Champlin. There is also a gold-framed blank canvas for gallery attendees to add their own art. Three more canvases will be placed on campus and in Rochester, creating a connection through the shared experience of making art.

“I am proud of how we created something new, refreshing, and positive for the Fisher community,” said Glaser. “I also believe this project will reverberate throughout Rochester since it is open to the public and will feature elements that will engage the city.  Our future is bright and full of gold.”

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public.