The Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition (RFLX), a long-running showcase for artists from western and central New York, returns to the Memorial Art Gallery for its 67th installment during the summer of 2021. On view from August 15 – October 17, 2021, this year’s exhibition is being juried by curator, artist, and
educator Amanda Chestnut.

Every two years, Rochester’s oldest and longest-running juried exhibition showcases the talents of emerging and established artists from a 27-county region. These artists are eligible for cash awards, among them the $1,500 Memorial Art Gallery Award, selected by the juror; the Alice Koret Award, presented by museum docents; and the Harris Popular Vote Award, selected by visitors during the first two weeks of the exhibition. In 2021, artists are eligible for nine cash prizes totaling more than $5,000. The first eight will be announced Saturday, August 14 at the members’ exhibition opening celebration, the Harris Popular Vote Award will be announced on September 1.

Invitation to artists

Artists are invited to submit works of art for consideration by juror Amanda Chestnut for inclusion in the
exhibition. To be considered, artists must be 18 years of age or older and reside in one of these 27 counties: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Cortland, Genesee, Erie, Livingston, Madison Monroe, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming or Yates. Submissions will be accepted from February 8 – April 4, 2021.


Sponsored by the Rubens Family Foundation, with additional support from Chris and Mike Haefner, Dr. Karal Ann Marling, and Pamela Miller Ness and Paul Marc Ness. Funding is also provided by the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Fund and the John D. Greene Endowment for Contemporary Exhibitions.

About the Juror for the 67th RFLX

Amanda Chestnut is a curator, artist, educator, and, as she describes herself, local arts loud-mouth in Rochester, New York. She is an image-based artist and has made art as a photographer for 25 years. Her artwork has been exhibited throughout New York State. Chestnut holds an MFA in Visual Studies from Visual Studies Workshop through the College at Brockport, SUNY. During that time, she held graduate assistantships at Visual Studies Workshop and in the Criminal Justice Department, both at the College at Brockport. Recent lectures, radio appearances, and presentations focused on community action, equity in user experiences in digital platforms, curatorial practices, arts funding, new English words in 2020, and the over-policing of Blackness in the US.

History of the exhibition

In March 1914, just five months after opening its doors, the Memorial Art Gallery hosted its first Rochester Art Club (RAC) exhibition; the yearly show had been a fixture of the local art scene for three decades, growing steadily in size and scope. It took its current name in 1938, when it expanded to encompass not just RAC members but also artists living in 19 counties of western New York. More changes were in store. These days, the Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition generally takes place every two years and serves a 27-county area. One thing hasn’t changed, however: because of the competitive nature of the show, only a small percentage of works submitted are chosen. As a result, the exhibition remains a prestigious showcase for artists in western and central New York. Past award winners, many of whom have gone on to establish national reputations, include Wendell Castle, Albert Paley, Honoré Sharrer, Hans Christensen, Bill Stewart, Graham Marks, and Kathy Calderwood.