Centennial Sculpture Park

MAG opened Centennial Sculpture Park in 2013 to mark its 100-year anniversary. Phase 1 of this project transformed the open lawn in front of the museum, located in the heart of the Neighborhood of the Arts.

Since then, the community has enjoyed all that the Sculpture Park has to offer, including 12 major works by celebrated artists Wendell Castle, Jackie Ferrara, Tom Otterness, Albert Paley, and others. The Sculpture Park has also been a gathering place, with live music at the annual M&T Bank Clothesline Festival, dance performances on Celebration Days, outdoor yoga classes, and summer camp activities.

Phase 2 is transforming the remaining two acres of open lawn along University Avenue by adding a number of sculptures, including several significant new acquisitions. It is extending the Sculpture Park to Prince Street, adding another entrance to the grounds near the School of the Arts (SOTA). The entrance at the corner of University Avenue and Prince Street will be flanked by iron gates original to the museum.

This part of the Sculpture Park will become an iconic visual and physical gateway, connecting MAG with SOTA and SUNY College at Brockport’s Visual Studies Workshop, both of which are located just across the street.

A curatorial focus for the expansion is playful, smart, and colorful approaches to art that will draw people to the grounds. MAG chose for its permanent collection a piece by Pia Camil, a Mexican artist, and it commissioned work from Rashid Johnson, an African American artist who is one of the most influential voices of his generation.

Rashid Johnson as seen from SOTA


SOTA students were the inspiration for this commissioned sculptural pavilion. When Johnson visited MAG to explore ideas for a new work of art, he was drawn to the Black and Brown students mingling on Prince Street. Johnson asked MAG staff if SOTA’s students visited the museum. He was told they did but the museum would like them to come more often. Johnson decided to design a work with these students in mind that would also invite and serve the community-at-large.

Johnson is a powerfully expressive artist, which will be clear in this sculpture measuring 10 feet tall at its highest point by about 40 feet in diameter. Visitors will feel the welcoming nature of the sculpture’s curved form, which will effectively embrace all who approach it. The interior of the work features a built-in audience made up of nongendered, non-raced faces—this is an audience that represents everyone and anyone. Johnson wants this to be a place where SOTA’s developing artists, as well as all community members, can go to hone their craft—to practice their lines, recite poetry, sing a song, or play a piece of music.

The convex side incorporates standing, totemic figures that welcome all to join them from across the street—from SOTA and the streets around and beyond. Johnson calls these figures and faces “broken and anxious.” For him, they reflect a condition of modern life. He wants everyone to see themselves here—and to find strength in the fact that everyone must confront the challenges and stressors of living in today’s world.

Pia Camil: Lover’s Rainbow

“Let’s meet at MAG’s Rainbow.”


The monumental 42 x 16 ½-foot structure will be made of painted stainless steel rebar, a material typically used to reinforce concrete’s structural integrity that is only visible when a building is in ruins or incomplete. With her Lover’s Rainbow, Camil creates a vision of hope and love using a material that speaks to the challenge of building something that will last. It will be an iconic work for our expansion and, we envision, a landmark for the City of Rochester that will soon prompt people to say, “Let’s meet at MAG’s rainbow.”

Pia Camil - Lovers Rainbow
Centennial Sculpture Park Phase 2
images: Centennial Sculpture Park rendering, Phase 2, Courtesy of Bayer Landscape Architecture, PLLC.