3 reasons why Shop One is cooler than you think

So if you have spent any time around RIT’s campus or ventured into Global Village, it’s likely that you have heard about or seen Shop One. Let’s be honest though, how many times have you just walked right past it thinking it’s probably not your type of store. Here are our top three reasons why Shop One is just so much cooler than you ever expected:

1. It’s the revival of the original Shop One, which began the Craft Movement.

So unless you are an art history aficionado, those words will mean very little to you and you might even be looking forward to reason number two of this list. But just wait – it’s actually a neat story.

Shop One, here on RIT’s campus, is actually a revival of the downtown Rochester Shop One which opened in 1953 as the first retail gallery outside of New York City that exclusively sold hand-made, one-of-a-kind pieces of craft and art. Alongside Manhattan’s America House, Shop One in Rochester was vital in starting the Craft Art Movement in America.

Today, we have the revival shop, right here on our campus. Now isn’t that just a cool living piece of history? It’s definitely not something most universities can brag about.

2. It’s not your typical retail gallery.

Walking into a museum gift shop, you often find huge areas labeled “local artist.” Try asking one of the store employees about the artist, and you’ll often hear that yes, indeed, this piece was made by a local artist. Try asking more. That question is usually met with awkward silence. Now this isn’t a point to harp on museum gift shops around the country as surely there are many very well educated employees, however, Shop One makes this a priority.

Wendy Marks, director of Shop One, says that what really sets RIT’s Shop One apart is their constant effort to “highlight RIT talent and familiarize people with the work and the artists.” The store currently has four student and one adult sales associate who can gladly answer any and all question about the work they sell. Additionally, as you can see in the photo below, all around the shop, you can find plaques that give you more information about the artist/designer and their work.

3. It’s focused on the RIT family and network.

As mentioned above, when you walk around Shop One, you will find many information plaques. If you stop to read them, you might be surprised to find out that most of the artists are RIT alums. In fact, about 90% of the products are made by RIT alumni from programs such as industrial design, fine art, and jewelry making (just to name a few). It’s such a great experience to go into the store and think “Wow, I didn’t know that was made by a former RIT student!” – it truly makes you see just how influential RIT graduates become in their respective industries.

In fact, Shop One continually assists in bridging the gap between student and alumni. Just this past month, Shop One set up a table featuring RIT Industrial Design alumni work sold at the store during the program’s annual Design Autopsy show in Bevier Gallery which featured the work on notable alumni.

Shop One also participates in the “Length of Service Program” which rewards significant anniversaries of tenured professors by allowing them to select certain goods from Shop One. Rather than a pen with their name printed on them or a plaque that will get shoved to the back of an office, RIT professors get to receive beautifully designed and crafted products that support the RIT alumni.

To find out more about Shop One, you can view their website here, or just stop by in person!

A “Leap Into The Dark”: Vision or Reality?

On First Friday last week, Gallery r opened their new collaborative exhibition. The works of two artists with different expertise in their respective mediums have been joined together to create “Leap Into The Dark”. This fusion of Bradley Butler’s paintings and Mitchell Messina’s sculptures tells an uncommon tale. It is a great opportunity for art lovers in the Rochester area to experience quite a unique exhibition. The show continues to display until March 26.

Bradley Butler is an RIT alumnus who received his MFA in 2010. His art
mainly includes landscape-like paintings that he creates “to disconnect from reality and then to disconnect from the act of painting itself”. As he paints to achieve everything within nothingness, he also hints at the space that exists between reality and imagination. He refers to the series of his paintings showcased at Gallery r as the “Darker/Blacker Phase”. In the beginning of 2016, he started to represent his emotions on canvas with the help of bold dark shades. It is his curiosity to the unknown that inspires these paintings, a poetic depiction of the emotional spaces that a mind dwells in.

Photo by Brandon Vick Photography LLC

Mitchell Messina, on the other hand, uses his sculptures to show how technology has affected human interaction. Primitive technology was an addendum of the human mind and body, however, with time this addendum has turned into an impediment that limits communication between two individuals. Messina’s male figures represent the self-consumed state of humanity. He sends a loud message that many have been denying for a long time.

Photo by Brandon Vick Photography LLC

The beautiful paradox of this exhibition is that the sculptures represent lack of human interaction and expression, a darkness if you will, and the paintings search for an expression through the darkness. As the title suggests, this exhibition is indeed a journey into the dark. The credit for the idea of bringing these distinct art forms together belongs to Gallery r Director John Aäsp.

Gallery r is located at 100 College Avenue in downtown Rochester and is open from Thursday to Sunday between 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Check out the Gallery r site for more info.