University of Rochester

University Recognizes Gallery Support by Legislative Leaders

October 26, 2006

To celebrate the opening week of a legendary national traveling exhibition by Jewish artists at the Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and Gallery Director Grant Holcomb today thanked New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and New York State Assemblyman Joseph D. Morelle for their support of the gallery and the national exhibitions they helped bring to Rochester.

"Rochester audiences benefit greatly when art from around the country can be viewed in exquisite places like the Memorial Art Gallery. We thank Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Assemblyman Joe Morelle and generous local donors for this opportunity to see a very special exhibit from The Jewish Museum by masters of the 20th century and of works by Georgia O'Keeffe," Seligman says.

Silver and Morelle secured $75,000 for My America: Art from The Jewish Museum Collection, 1900-1955, which will be on view through Dec. 24. Featuring 71 works by 40 American Jewish artists, the exhibition tells the story of how they reacted to unprecedented freedoms and harsh economic and political realities in America. Paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures by noted artists such as Alfred Stieglitz, Ben Shahn, and Raphael Soyer will be on view.

"The long-awaited exhibition, My America, is a visual testament to the many dynamic social, cultural, and religious issues that helped shape and define New York City and, in turn, this country, during the first half of the 20th century," Holcomb says.

Along with Silver and Morelle, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, Assemblywoman Susan V. John, Assemblyman David R. Koon, and Joan Rosenbaum, director of The Jewish Museum in New York, will attend.

After the announcements, the guests toured the exhibition, which opened this week and was organized by The Jewish Museum. The exhibition was underwritten by Morelle, Mr. and Mrs. Harold S. Feinbloom, and Dr. Seymour I. Schwartz. Additional support was provided by Laurence and Karen Kessler, Dennis Kessler and Andrea Miller, and the Jewish Community Federation of Greater Rochester.

Silver and Morelle also made it possible for an additional $125,000 to be directed to the Memorial Art Gallery in the last two years. That money was used to support the Georgia O'Keeffe: Color and Conservation exhibit (Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2006) and to improve lighting in the Grand Gallery.

The O'Keeffe exhibit includes 25 rarely-seen oil paintings and two pastels from all periods of her life, including landscapes, flower paintings, still life, and abstractions. Rochester was one of only three national venues for the exhibition.

For more information about the exhibitions, visit the Memorial Art Gallery Web site at