RIT City Art Space is the College of Art and Design's premiere exhibition and event venue in downtown Rochester, NY.
City Art Space features art and design exhibitions by RIT students, faculty, alumni and more, and serves as a site for experiential learning for students across RIT’s College of Art and Design and beyond.
In 1968, RIT began relocating its campus from downtown Rochester to Henrietta, but the art department remained downtown until the 1990s. Located at 50 W. Main Street, the “City Center” was a site for painting studios and a gallery that was open to the public. Eventually, the art department had to move to the Henrietta campus, but a group of art faculty were determined to keep a gallery space in the city, maintaining a connection to downtown Rochester.
Gallery r opened its doors in 1999 on Park Avenue — serving as a downtown exhibition space for the School of Art for over ten years. In 2012, it moved to Rochester’s Neighborhood of the Arts at 100 College Avenue, near Village Gate Square and the Anderson Arts building, where it continued its mission through May of 2018.
In December 2018, RIT City Art Space made its debut at 280 East Main Street, in the historic Sibley building on Liberty Pole Plaza, marking a new era of creativity and innovation in downtown.
City Art Space is RIT's only off-campus venue in downtown Rochester, free and open to the public, where community engagement flows through exhibitions, events and educational programming. Exhibitions by RIT students, faculty, alumni, and more are always rotating. Student employees gain valuable experience in a dynamic, professional setting, collaborating with artists, assisting with exhibition installation and gallery management.
In 2019, City Art Space was nominated for an Urban Innovation Award by the Community Design Center for its transformation from a vacant retail space to a contemporary, publicly accessible venue in a historic building that contributes to the revitalization of downtown Rochester. In 2021, Rochester Business Journal named City Art Space one of Rochester's Coolest Spaces.
Visit us to catch a glimpse of the many projects and collaborations that happen in RIT’s College of Art and Design every day!
Designing City Art Space
Part of our transformation was envisioned by students in RIT’s Interior Design Program, who were challenged with conceptualizing plans for a flexible exhibition space, working within the boundaries of a historic structure. Watch the video above for highlights from this project.