Anna Ballarian Visiting Artist Series

The Anna Ballarian Visiting Artist Series brings exhibitions, outdoor sculpture and artist engagement to the RIT campus. 

About Anna Ballarian

Anna Ballarian Photograph

Anna Ballarian (1910-2010) was born in Rochester, N.Y. and was an alumna of RIT’s School for American Crafts. She was a lifelong artist and educator, retiring from her position of Professor at San Jose State University in 1977. She left behind a legacy of creativity and a passion for developing communities of artists and educators. The School of Art’s Visiting Artist Program would not be possible without her generous contribution.

Current Visiting Artists

Artists invited by the Anna Ballarian Series visit the RIT campus for a variety of engagements. All visiting artists give a public talk, and typically visit the studios of graduate students in various art and design programs. Artists may also exhibit work in one of the galleries, and in some cases install an outdoor sculpture as part of our rotating display on the north lawn of Booth and Gannett Halls, near the MAGIC building on the RIT Campus. Read more details about each artist's visit below.

Anna Hepler and work sample

Anna Hepler

Anna Hepler is a sculptor based in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Her work, which is both hand-held and architectural in scale, overturns first impressions – wire forms flatten into drawings, clay impersonates metal, plywood coils like rope, plastic inhales and exhales. Hepler values embarrassment, uncertainty, blunder, and fragility as active agents in her studio process.

“In preferring a path of unknowns, I choose purpose over craft, awkwardness over expertise, and improvisation over procedure. I am working to loosen knots of assumption and forfeit some of my authority.”

Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, and resides in the collections of the National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), Tate Gallery (London, England), DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (Lincoln, MA), the Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME), and more. Hepler received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Exhibition: February 16 - March 24, 2023
Bevier Gallery, Booth Hall 2600, RIT Campus

Artist Talk: Thursday, February 16, 5:00 PM
Bevier Gallery, Booth Hall 2600, RIT Campus, Free

Image of Lelia Byron and her sculpture
Lelia Byron

Lelia Byron is an interdisciplinary artist who makes paintings, murals, sculptures, installations, and public art projects. Some recent work includes a series of murals in Rauma, Finland, using lace-making as a metaphor for language and connection, a public sculpture made from plastic waste in Madison, WI, a series of paintings about women coffee farmers in Colombia, outdoor sculptures in rural Portugal made from recycled plastic, and a series of paintings about workers in Massachusetts fighting for labor rights. Byron earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and an MFA from Chelsea College of Arts (University of the Arts London). 

Outdoor Sculpture: Quilt, painted wood, 2022. Visible on the north lawn of Booth/Gannett Halls, RIT Campus. 

Exhibition: February 15 - March 22, 2024
Bevier Gallery, Booth Hall 2600, RIT Campus

In Quilt (2022), many different parts, each with its own story, come together to form a complex system, much like how we are all intricately connected to each other and to the natural environment. If one part of the quilt is removed, the pattern becomes unbalanced. In this sculpture, each square section or quilt block is unique, varying in depth, pattern, and color, but combined the larger quilt pattern becomes even more unique.

Past Visiting Artists

Image of Lauren Kalman next to a photograph of her exhibition in William Harris Gallery

Lauren Kalman

Lauren Kalman is a visual artist based in Detroit, whose practice is rooted in the history of adornment, contemporary craft, sculpture, video, photography and performance. Through her work she investigates constructions of the ideal, the politics of craft, the body, and the built environment through performances using her body.

Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Museum of Arts and Design, Cranbrook Art Museum, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Mint Museum, and the World Art Museum in Beijing, among others. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Detroit Institute of Art.

Exhibition: October 20 - November 19, 2022
William Harris Gallery, Gannett Hall 3030, RIT Campus

Artist Talk: Thursday, October 20, 5:00 PM
William Harris Gallery, Gannett Hall 3030, RIT Campus

Letha Wilson

Letha Wilson

Letha Wilson is a contemporary artist known for “breaking the rules” of photography, often transforming her photographs into objects that bend and curve out of walls, becoming three-dimensional sculpture. 

Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including GRIMM, Amsterdam (NL) and New York, N.Y. (U.S.); the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland, Ore. (U.S.); the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Mass. (U.S.), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and Galerie Christophe Gaillard, Paris (FR). Artsy recently named Wilson an emerging artist to watch, and one of twenty female artists who are "pushing sculpture forward."

Outdoor Sculpture: Craters of the Moon Fold Back, UV photographs on weathering steel, 8'h x 2.5'w x 4.5'd. Visible on the north lawn of Booth/Gannett Halls, RIT Campus.

Exhibition: February 10 - March 12, 2022
Bevier Gallery, Booth Hall, RIT Campus, 73 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY, 14623.

Artist Talk: Thursday, February 10, 2022, 5:00 PM
Bevier Gallery. Watch a recording of Letha's talk at RIT by clicking here.

Ossicone, Joshua Enck

Joshua Enck

Joshua Enck's background in architecture and furniture design informs his contemporary abstract sculptures, often made from wood or steel. A Fulbright scholar, Enck’s work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions, and his work continues to join public and private collections across the U.S.

After teaching at Rhode Island School of Design for 10 years, he now lives and works in Rochester, teaching courses in architecture and drawing at the University of Rochester. 

Outdoor Sculpture: Ossicone, weathering and painted steel, 22'h x 10'w x 8'd. Visible on the north lawn of the MAGIC Center, RIT Campus.

Exhibition: August 6 - September 25, 2021
RIT City Art Space, 280 East Main Street, Rochester, NY, 14604.
Open Thursday - Sunday 1-5 p.m., Fridays 1-9 p.m. Admission is free.

Artist Talk: Friday, September 3, 2021, 6:00 PM
RIT City Art Space, Free and open to the public.