Rochester-based artist Sarah Rutherford, who was hired by the University to paint a mural on campus, is at work this week in the tunnel system under Dewey Hall. The mural, entitled “Her Voice Carries,” depicts a young and an old version of 19th- and 20th-century women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony. Rutherford is working in the tunnel connecting Hoyt Auditorium and Dewey Hall. The tunnel has remained open during the installation so that students can watch as progress is made on the mural.
Rutherford began work on the mural on Wednesday, March 25. She has been working on weekday afternoons and over the weekend. She said that as of April 1, she is about halfway done with the project. Of the mural’s content, Rutherford said, “I wanted to do something that had meaning at U of R.” The mural depicts Susan B. Anthony as a young woman on the left, and as an older version of herself on the right. Rutherford said that her design for the mural extends onto the facing wall, with images of dandelions, birds, and a young college-age woman representing Anthony’s legacy.
While on campus, Rutherford has worked with Sage Art Center and with Undergraduate Advisor of Studio Arts Allen Topolski. She said that several art classes have visited her to talk about the mural, and that two UR students have stopped by to help her paint.
“I met with one of Allen’s classes at the Public Market,” Rutherford said. Students from Topolski’s class toured Rutherford’s studio at The Yards, a collaborative art space that Rutherford founded in 2011 with artist Lea Rizzo. Rutherford noted that she has been working as an artist in Rochester for the past eight years, and that she has been painting murals and other public art for the last four. Her other projects have included an installation at the Rochester Public Market and two murals at the city’s Highland Hospital.
“Rochester has a really strong art community,” Rutherford said, citing other local artists Rizzo, St. Monci and Mr. Prvrt as among her primary inspirations. Rutherford is also a member of the international public art initiative “WALL THERAPY,” which has produced over 100 murals in the Rochester area alone.
While Rutherford does not currently have any future plans to work at UR, she said that she would be interested if another opportunity arose.
Passanisi is a member
of the class of 2017.