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The January Residents at The Yards

On a Saturday afternoon at The Yards

Interview No. 71

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The Yards is a collaborative art space in the heart of the historic Rochester Public Market. It is a dynamic gathering spot for local creatives, and it is constantly evolving. The Yards has studios for artists, a shop called Dichotomy that sells products by local artists and makers, and a collaborative arts space. Twice a year, they run a residency program. I had the opportunity to meet the January residents and learn a little bit more about their work and the community at The Yards.

Nick Latona

Where are you from originally?

I’m from Churchville. I went to school at SUNY Fredonia and came back to the Rochester area after I graduated.

What are your impressions of Rochester since moving to the city?

At first it was a little hard to find a community; once I found The Yards, it really opened my eyes! It’s nice to meet people who understand and appreciate what you’re doing.

What’s the community like at The Yards?

This is actually my second time as a resident here, and it’s great—it’s such a great place to network. It’s really nice to talk to everyone and get input on whatever piece you’re working on to help it progress. We’re all doing very different work, but can still relate to each other and help each other.

Tell me a little bit about your work and your influences.

I studied sculpture in college, but I’ve started focusing more on paper and book arts. I’ve become obsessed with paper and I really love making it. Right now I’m looking at medical history stuff based on my personal experiences.

Where in Rochester do you like to go to get inspired?

I actually get my inspiration at the hospital. I work in Radiology and find inspiration in my appointments with patients. One of my next projects will be focusing on breast imaging. Cancer can be beautiful; that’s a thought that makes people feel a little uncomfortable, but I find it to be true.

Rose Richter

Where are you from originally?

I’m from New Jersey—the Camden County area. I went to the University of Rochester and graduated in May with a degree in Biology.

What are your impressions of Rochester since graduating from college?

I really love Rochester—it’s very different than I thought it would be! As a college student, I only saw a handful of places—like Pittsford Plaza, Lake Ontario, and Park Ave. But there’s so much more to the city, and so much history! I worked with the Good Food Collective driving food around the city for five hours a day, so that helped me get to know the city more.

What’s the community like at The Yards?

It’s amazing! Everyone is very willing to collaborate. Since I was a biology major in school, I feel a bit rusty on the artistic side. This is a great way to practice, experiment, and meet new people.

Tell me a little bit about your work and your influences.

A lot of my influences come from nature or geology. One piece of writing that has influenced me is William Cronon’s “The Trouble with Wilderness.”

Where in Rochester do you like to go to get inspired?

Pinnacle Hill and Cobbs Hill are both great! Did you know that U of R, Highland Park, Cobbs Hill, and Pinnacle Hill are all part of the Pinnacle Range? It’s all the same geologic range because the lake actually came that far south at one point! And, fun fact, the slope of Cobbs Hill was mined at one point—that’s why it’s so steep! I love just walking through the city and reading informative signs.

Emily Harper

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in the Maplewood neighborhood of Rochester. I left Rochester for about ten years and just came back recently. I’m living in East Rochester now.

What are your impressions of Rochester since moving back?

Rochester is coming into its own super artistic flavor—I can’t believe it! The Wedge is completely different. The city is welcoming; the community is super welcoming. Even though I’m not a professional artist, I’ve found the arts community here really friendly and open.

What’s the community like at The Yards?

Super open and collaborative. Here in the studio people bounce ideas off each other all the time. Critiques are group discussions, and there’s a constant sense of “young below here.” Everyone is present together.

Tell me a little bit about your work and your influences.

I like working with geometric shapes and patterns; I’ll put the smaller ones into compositions, if that makes sense. I love using the loudest colors! I used to work in a kind of mandala style, but I’m moving away from that now. I just like to be experimental and play with textures.

Where in Rochester do you like to go to get inspired?

I enjoy going for walks in Ellison Park—just getting up and moving is really helpful. All the art galleries and shops in the area are amazing too.

Rachel Farley

Where are you from originally?

I’m from Gates. I went to Pratt for my undergrad and then spent some time in Indonesia for awhile after finishing school. I also lived in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania before coming home to Rochester.

What are your impressions of Rochester so far?

It’s kinda great—one of the most unique places I’ve ever been. It’s strange—really unique personalities can flourish here, and things can be weird and cool. I think the river flowing south to north brings a unique energy to the city. It’s a very different city on either side of the river, kind of a rust belt thing going on. We have a lot of different textures here in Rochester; it’s a texturally appealing city.

What’s the community like at The Yards?

I’ve been here six months, and I think it’s going in an interesting direction. Good interesting! There are some interesting ideas for stuff to do in the community. I’ve been involved with The Yards for a couple years, but lately it’s feeling warmer, happier, and exciting.

Tell me a little bit about your work and your influences.

I’m very influenced by nature. Our culture has some separation from nature that I think reflects a separation within ourselves. There’s so much disconnect in what we do on a daily basis—jobs, home life, hobbies, etc.—but we cover it up.

I also just really like plants.

Where in Rochester do you like to go to get inspired?

I like to walk by the river. The conservatory too—it’s great to breathe clean air in the winter and feel like you’re outside for a minute.

Sarah Peck

Where are you from originally?

I grew up in Victor. Like Nick, I also went to SUNY Fredonia. I moved to Rochester last year in August.

What are your impressions of Rochester so far?

It’s a really great place for young people—there are so many opportunities. There’s a good energy here, and a do-it-yourself vibe. There are a lot of successful entrepreneurs and activists here. It’s also a really supportive place for artists.

What’s the community like at The Yards?

There are lots of diverse interests here, and everyone is really helpful and open. It’s nice to share resources with the studio occupants. We’ve also gotten to meet so many people, like Sarah Rutherford and Dre Durfee, and those connections and conversations are amazing.

Tell me a little bit about your work and your influences.

When I was at Fredonia, I studied illustration and animation. Towards the end of my program, though, I got really into painting. I’ve moved into more of an abstract phase now—gestural expressionism. It’s impulsive movements versus those calculated and constructed moves. I’m really interested in movement and lighting, and am inspired by William Turner paintings—those 19th century romantic paintings of the sea and a storm.

Where in Rochester do you like to go to get inspired?

I work at Parkleigh and am inspired by them daily. They’re very involved in the community and loving supporting people who are following their dreams. In the fall, I love to visit Corbett’s Glen. The Anderson Arts Building is great too; I have a studio there as well, and there’s a really nice community, especially with First Fridays.

Thanks for following along! You can find out more about each artist and their perspectives on our Instagram.