First on-site mural of 2019: Adams Street

The Roc Paint team was thrilled to welcome back one of our guest artists from last year to lead our first on-site mural of 2019. Vince Ballentine also joined us to lead our first project in 2018, and once again he came all the way from New York City to work with our crew. This year under his leadership, we added a large and stunning piece to the walls of the Adams Street R-Center, where it joins the murals led last year by Aubrey Roamer.


Read on for thoughts on the process- from Vince himself, then from our youth artists. Special thanks and photo cred to youth artist Katie for championing the documentation of this project and taking photographs just as fantastic as her painting.

Vince: This is my second year working with Roc Paint Division and it keeps getting better. We spoke over Skype and developed a concept based on their input. The group visited the Recreation center selected as the mural site, and took pictures of a several youth to be included as reference in our mural. Being this group was rather skilled, I decided to make the design complicated to keep it interesting for them.  For three days the group conquered complex shapes, value, tone, and perspective as a cohesive team. Although I was there to lead the production, I think they learned a good amount from each other, and I learned a thing or two from them.



What did you learn from the design process (photographing youth models/ lighting/etc.)? Did you feel any pressure painting portraits of youth who were at the center?


Selah: Although I did not paint any portraits personally, I could tell that the process was very difficult and at some points stressful for those doing the two portraits. It really digs into your mind that your biggest critic when creating a portrait, will be the model for said painting. It is easy to obsess on perfection when doing portraits.  

Katie: Deciding what to do with the design was fun because we all had ideas which we pulled together easily. I learned that using models to map out the light and where the portraits are going to go and who they are is important to the final design. The lighting on the reference photo really helped with doing the portraits. At first it was difficult to make the youth look alike and me and Mya really wanted to do well with our portrait, but it was easy once we started painting.



What was the experience like working on site at Adams Street R-Center on a large wall (especially compared with working at the lodge on a smaller scale?


Selah: Being that this was my first time painting an on-site mural, it was very eye opening and exciting to be in the midst of the R-Center and its regular environment. It felt welcome into the space and I also felt responsible in a way for hopefully putting smiles on the kids faces. I loved it.

Katie: At first it was overwhelming, painting a bigger wall seemed like we wouldn’t finish on time. Once we started and we laid everything out with the underpainting it got easier. Working on site had more restrictions like we had to be careful with music or what we said but it was fun!

Mya: The experience was really fun! Usually, we are working out in the open, but this time, we kind of had our own room which meant less kids. Not saying I don’t like when there are kids watching us, but the privacy allowed us to play music and talk more freely which was nice. The wall was really big but I didn’t doubt that we wouldn’t finish in time.

What did you find challenging about this mural?



Katie: Painting the hand holding the lantern was the most challenging thing I’ve ever painted. I had to get the lighting correct and I was really close up and had to be on a ladder which was hard to do and get comfortable with. In the end I think I did okay with it, I feel like I could have done better though.

Selah: Mainly living up to expectation. Not at all did I ever feel like I would be hated for imperfect work. But within myself there was always this sense of need to get things right for everyone that would see Roc Paint’s work on the wall of that R-Center. Just like the people working on portraits, I found it hard not to obsess over little details.

Mya: What was probably the most challenging part was working on a portrait with another person. When I usually paint portraits, it is just me doing that part, so to have someone else working on the same part as me was a little hard to adjust to in the beginning. By the 3rd day though, we had the hang of it pretty well.


What did you find the most rewarding?

Selah: Placing our seal on the wall at the end. I smiled the biggest when we spray painted the Roc Paint symbol onto the wall, because it made our presence final. That seal was like saying “we came, we were awesome. And we’ll stay that way.” And I hope our art with be in the R-Center forever.

Nari: Seeing us as a team accomplish our first mural together was amazing. Everyone was happy and excited. It brings a warm feeling to know we’re doing this out of passion so that was most rewarding, being together as a team and sharing the passion of being muralists.

Jaelin: I found the joy in the kids and staff’s eyes after seeing the mural extremely rewarding.


What was the experience of working with Vince as a guest artist like?

Mya: It was really fun to work with Vince again! I got to work with him last year on the mural we did at Carter street so it was really nice to be able to work with him. He’s super chill and really nice when you ask questions and that’s always a plus.

Selah: Working with Vince, I felt like I’d known him for years. The vibes were nothing but chill and he was kind of like the cool uncle. Funny, calm, collected, always supportive and easy to talk to. I hope we see him again next year.

Nari: Since I worked with Vince last year, it was a welcome back. He’s very humorous and the mural was fun to work on. He’s a very talented guy from New York, and I enjoy working with him because the perspective on the piece was amazing. It’s very hard to paint in perspective, yet accomplish perspective alone. Or at least for me.

Katie: Vince was fun to work with because he was really funny! We learned a lot from him too which was nice, it was a different learning experience than what we got with Britney or Justin. Vince had really cool ideas and a really good vibe.


Do you have a favorite memory or moment from this project?

Nari: My favorite memory was when Vince called me “Spam” as an inside joke from the first time we met him. The fact that he remembered was great to me because old people forget things. Jk Vince isn’t that old, but you get my drift.

Selah: The second day of the project, we were all on bread doing check-in and I decide to spontaneously dip my cucumber slice into my cake frosting. I thought no one noticed, but slowly, one by one everyone was laughing at my not-so-undercover silliness. I couldn’t help but laugh with them all. This was my favorite moment because it gave me the warmest feeling on the inside to laugh with everyone like that. That moment still makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It reminds me so much of how I am with my family at home, always laughing and smiling and just united. But all three days were amazing because my team makes me feel at home.

Eli: One of our coworkers eating cucumber with cake frosting (sorry Selah)





The team expands….

This week the 2019 Roc Paint Division team grew by a pretty significant and exciting percentage as we welcomed FIVE new team members: four new youth artists joined the crew, and Sarah Rutherford officially made the jump from guest artist to Public Art Coordinator, alongside Justin and Brittany. We now officially have the biggest team we’ve ever had and we are thrilled at how seamlessly the group has coalesced. Read on to meet the latest additions to our fantastic 2019 crew.



Norris Jay lll

IMG_2422Age ~ 18    Grade ~ 11th    School ~ UPrep

I wanted to join Roc Paint because I wanted to better myself as an young artist and grow with paint. I really never worked with paint so this would be a good job for me. I always want to make new friends and express my feelings through paint.

Favorite Art Medium ~ Drawing

Things I Do Outside Of Roc Paint ~ I work out and do sports such as Football, Lacrosse, Soccer And Track & Field.

Goal After High School ~ Become a  Professional Painter, IT Tech or join the Military

Fun Fact ~ My nickname is Humble and I am left handed.


Yoluixamar Cruz-Vazquez

IMG_009918 years old./ senior/School of the Arts

Why did you want to join Roc Paint Division?

I wanted to join Roc Paint Division because i want others to see my art work and feel happy or feel how i feel in my work. I also join because i want to grow as a artist and improve in my painting skills and people skills too.

What is your favorite art medium / artist  / style of art?

I love Sketching and Oil pastel. / Alice Mizrachi or Claude Monet / Visual Arts

What do you like doing outside of this program?

I love Softball or drawing in my sketchbook.

What do you want to do when you finish high school?

I want to continue with art and go to MCC for Graphic Design

What is one interesting or fun thing about you?

I am shy but I am a very good listener. I also am caring and kind.


Tehya Bollar

IMG_2518 (1)17/ 12th grade / school of the arts

I joined Roc Paint Division to grow as an artist and to meet others with the same love and enjoyment of art. 

My favorite art medium is acrylic paint. I was inspired by my art teacher and mentor Jack Lattore. My style of art is thought provoking painting.

Outside of this program I love to spend time with my family and have deep conversations about life and how to grow in it.

When I finish high school I would like to get a degree in social work and impact the future of this world, the youth.

One thing that interesting thing about me is that I’m goof ball I love to make people laugh and watch the energy shift in the room with positivity.

Paris Cockrell

downloadParis Cockrell is a 10th grade visual arts major at School of the Arts

Paris was very interested in joining ROC paint because of her deep passion for expressing expression/ emotion through art. It is a great opportunity to get paid while doing what she loves.

She loves realism and hyperrealism, especially using colored pencil. She doesn’t really have one favorite artist, but is influenced by multiple artists in the media as well as in real life.

Paris enjoys video gaming, her favorite franchise is Tomb Raider. She also loves going on crazy adventures through nature, and hanging with animals.

After highschool, she plans on moving further down the east coast, or switching costs, and possibly studying zoology, or taking up a trade.

Orlando born, Paris is originally from Florida, and spent a lot of time around her great grandmother, who was equally very talented, if not more. In addition to her great grandmother’s  realistic style, the atmosphere and constant sunshine, evening rainstorms, and happy people of Florida are what Paris aims to incorporate into her art work in the future.

Collaboration time.

Last week the Roc Paint crew tackled the collaborative project that has, over the years, come to be one of our favorite early activities, as it functions as both a team-building exercise and an initial artistic exploration. The team was split into groups of three to explore this year’s theme of “voices.” Their task was to come up with a concept that addressed the theme while integrating in each person’s style for one cohesive piece. This gives them the chance to see what working in a group together creatively is like- even for folks who’ve worked in groups extensively, doing so on a collective art piece can be a very different experience. It turned out that each of our groups really enjoyed the process and got a lot out of it. Read on for their reflections on this year’s first collaboration, and a peek at what they came up with!


Viviam, Alex, and Eli  


I learned that stepping out of your comfort zone is really important and that it is not scary, but actually super fun and educational in a way. I’ve taken the very first step in many group projects before but I’ve never worked on an art piece together with a group of people. I was scared of messing up and ruining the whole piece for the team. So I guess what was most challenging for me was definitely getting over that fear and just going for it!

The theme of animals came really naturally to our team because it was just something that we all enjoyed drawing and once we figured that out, we just had to figure out how they could tie into that theme of voices or lack of voices, which is how we ended up doing extinct animals.

My style isn’t as realistic as Eli’s, but since we were working in a group, I was forced to try to be a little bit more realistic so that our two animals would look more functional and so that they would tie together better and although that was stressful for me, I definitely learned a lot. Our idea changed a bit in order to incorporate everyone’s abilities in, and I’m glad. I like the final idea much better than some of the first ones we had. – Viviam 


Tyler, Nari, and Selah 


What was challenging about the collaboration process? What came naturally? What did you learn? — This questions feels simple, yet so complex. Within my group, I believe Narionna brought experience. She is so well-versed in leadership and knowing her way around her mind, which kind of gave me peace. If we were in a car, she would be the steering wheel. Tyler on the other hand was our wild card- he gave us fresh ideas every two minutes. Watching those two work was like being inside their heads. Amazing. As for me, I was learning. I don’t know if that’s a skill, but I learned something new every step of the way. Me being new to Roc Paint Division, I feel its my job to soak up as many new techniques as I can. That’s how I’ll grow.

I feel like what came naturally to me was my imaginative flow and sort of “outside the box” mindset I have. What was most challenging for me was being able to find the box again. I found it hard to create at times so that both my style and my message were getting across. I have Narionna to thank for getting me back on track. The biggest lesson I’ve learned while doing this collaboration is that when in the process of collaboration, there can never be just ONE role. Whether an intentional collab or not, there will always be so many factors pulled into a piece of art.

The general theme of voices stuck with us throughout the piece. All we really did was build off of that. We mainly kept this message of universal acceptance and one voice with many purposes. But I find it so cool how we all managed to take this one thought and branch off of it to make three totally different, totally awesome expressions of the heart and mind combined. It’s honestly a superpower.  –Selah 



Mya, Jaelin, and Katie collabsgroups-2

The collaboration process was great! The only challenge would be finishing it. Mya, Jaelin and I worked well together, we have similar art styles and all enjoy drawing portraits. We learned how we each could contribute and mix our parts to look fluid with the others.  What we came up with in the end definitely looks better then what I could have imagined. I don’t think any of us thought it would turn out as well as it did. I’m super happy with the results! I just wish we could have finished. –Katie

The collaboration process was a new experience for me since i didn’t really do it much last year. It wasn’t very hard for my group to come up with a concept because we all pretty much had the same interests and we all also like to do portraits. It was fun to see how each of us worked differently but were able to come up with this cohesive idea.

We all knew we had different strong points so we took turns working on different parts of the picture. For example, While i was working on the background and the shadow sunflowers, Jaelin would work on the hair of each of the three portraits while Katie would work on their skin. Then when one of us finished we would switch chairs and start a new part.  –Mya


Introducing: Season 4

Welcome to Season Four of Roc Paint Division!

To kick off this year, we are thrilled to present: this year’s team members! Three returnees from Season Three and six brand new faces. We are loving getting to know everyone and are so happy to have things underway and already running so smoothly- it’s almost like we’ve done this before!   Our fearless leaders Justin and Brittany are back to it as well and, as usual, have a slew of solid plans up their sleeves for this season.

Over the coming months we will be sharing our team’s progress, accomplishments, and reflections here on the blog- we hope you’ll follow along.

Without further ado….introducing the crew:

jaelinJaelin Vernon

Hello my name is Jaelin Vernon. I am currently a visual arts major at School of the Arts. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, sleeping, eating, watching movies, and drawing. My favorite movies include Howl’s Moving Castle, The Purge: Anarchy, and Kill Bill: Volume One. I joined Roc Paint because I spend a lot of time at Rochester R-Centers and was interested in beautifying them. By joining Roc Paint, I wish to improve my painting skills, blending skills, and give back to my community.



img_0014Narionna Nunez 

Hi! My name is Narionna Nunez and I am 17 years old. I am a senior at School of the Arts High School. I wanted to join Roc Paint Division because I joined last year and had such an amazing experience that I had to come back a second time. Roc Paint Division doesn’t feel like a “job” to me, it’s more of a family and a passion. It’s a program that teaches and can be helpful for me on my bad days, when I have them. That’s why I joined Roc Paint again. My favorite art mediums are colored pencils, Copic markers, and Micron ink drawing. I love doing realistic drawings and surrealism. Outside of the Roc Paint program, I attend work at RCTV on a radio station called Frequency. I also write poetry and dance, which I am also very passionate about, besides art. When I finish High School, I want to be a psychologist and attend either Manhattan College, UB, or Buffalo State College, and earn my Bachelor’s Degree. From there, I want to be an Art Therapist or maybe become a muralist for a living, honestly. Something interesting or fun about me is that I can move my ears without moving my face muscles, and I’m double jointed so I can do weird things with my hands and arms.


viviamViviam Naranjo

16 / 11th grade / School of the Arts

  • I wanted to join Roc Paint Division because I love art and I’m very passionate about it. I love to sketch and I love watercolor but I haven’t had the chance to work with paint as much as I would like. I thought this would be an amazing opportunity for me because it would give me the chance to work more with paint and learn so much more about it.
  • My favorite art medium would have to be watercolor. I love the way it feels on paper and how it looks and just how it “flows”. It’s hard to really make things perfect  with watercolor and I love that about it. I like how you can be a bit more loose and carefree and I just enjoy the way things turn out when using watercolor 🙂
  • Outside of this program, I do a lot of volunteering 🙂 I’m very passionate about animals 🙂 I love animals so much and almost every weekend, I volunteer at an animal shelter near my house. I have also volunteered at the WXXI building, where I had to put on costumes, I’ve volunteered at my old school and I’ve also volunteered for Clean Sweep 2018.
  • When I finish high school I want to hopefully go into something that revolves around art 🙂 I’ve been thinking a lot about going for animation 🙂 I love cartoons and animated films and I would love to be able to do/study something that I already really enjoy.  
  • I guess something interesting about me is that I’m Hispanic?? People often think I’m Asian or just White I guess, but when they finally hear me speak Spanish they’re really surprised 🙂 And I find that really funny because I guess I don’t really blame them? I don’t look Hispanic at all but that’s ok! Now you know! :^)


myaMya Fisher 

Hey! My name is Mya Fisher, I’m 17 years old, and a senior at School of the Arts.

  • I joined Roc Paint division because I participated last year and I had so much fun that I decided to come back for a second year.
  • I mostly do portraits, whether it’s in pencil, colored pencil, or paint. I am most inspired by people I look up to such as singers, actors, or people I know personally.
  • Outside of the program, I currently cheerlead, but I do also enjoy playing volleyball. I also love bullet journaling and learning dances. Most of the time though, I am just in my room on Twitter.
  • After I graduate this Spring, I am attending University of Rochester majoring in Biology on the pre-med track.
  • Fun fact: Over the past 4 years, I have tweeted over 100K times, have posted on instagram over 3K times, and have accumulated a Snapchat score of about 350,000.On average I spend about 8 hours a day on my phone. I literally sleep, eat, and BREATHE social media. 

img_6699Katie Haberberger

Hello! I am Katie Haberberger, a 17 year old, visual arts senior at School of the Arts. I am influenced by surrealism and fantasy, I like drawing colorful portraits or characters. I also love photography and would like to study art in college. I also enjoy sewing and reading in my free time. I hope to get better at drawing in different styles.  




alexAlex Baez Rivera

My name is Alex, I’m 19 years old and I’m in twelve grade at East High School. I was here the last season but I wanted to join again to Roc Paint Division since the last time was a great experience but also I realized that I want to focus more in art and make it with a greater purpose than I used to do before. Also I need a motivation to keep it up with art and in this program I’ll be sharing with great artists and that is an environment where I can find motivation, get new skills, etc. One of my favorite artists is a tattoo artist called Jak Connolly because his work is really awesome.   I also love the work of a lot of graffiti artists or muralists such as Mr.Prvrt. Outside of this program I like to clear my mind by riding longboard, listening to some music, watching movies and making art of course. And to finish this bio, one thing about me is that I’m a person who can’t express myself vocally very well but I can do that very well in writing or the most fun way, making an art piece about my thoughts.

Tyler Wright

My name is Tyler Wright. I am 18 years old, I live in Rochester NY. The reason why I chose to work at ROC paint division is because I want to learn new skills when it comes to paint and come up with interesting techniques and ideas to shine through not just me, but thought anyone who is interested in this program.

My favorite type of art that I like to do is stuff such as retro, abstract and psychedelic type of art. My favorite artists are Keith Rankin, ilya, and many others that inspires my art style.

snapchat-1541365771Selah Jackson 

My name is Selah Jackson. I am 16 years old, and an 11th grader at World of Inquiry High School. I wanted to join Roc Paint Division as an opportunity to grow and find more of myself. Through my art and otherwise, I hope to expand my horizons and also live a little outside of my normal routine. This job will not only be my place of work, but my comfort; my oasis. I can feel it already. I am sort of new to the art scene, so I am not really sure what my favorite medium is, but my favorite art styles are realism and psychedelic. Outside of this program I am very passionate about music and reading. I enjoy K-Pop and I love thrillers and romance novels. When I finish High School, I hope to attend college. I’m not really sure sure what my major will be, or where I will go yet. Something fun about me is that I am ALWAYS smiling. I am also very open and love learning about new and interesting things.

img-1135Eliejah Montanez

My name is Eliejah Montanez. I’m 17 and in the 11th grade at School of the Arts.

  • I wanted to explore different art styles, enhance my art and try to do murals in more art styles. My favorite art medium is paint, especially acrylic and oil. My favorite artist is Stephane Alsac and my preferred style is traditional art with wildlife.
  • Outside the program I love fishing and cooking. I go fishing mostly all the time.
  • I want to go to college for painting when I’m done with high school.
  • One thing that is fun about me is that I can make bird chirping sounds.


The City of Rochester’s Department of Recreation is seeking qualified applicants for the 2019 season of Roc Paint Division!  Do you know youth artists between the ages of 16-19 that love to draw, sketch or paint? If so, encourage them to apply to the 2019 Roc Paint Division crew. See below for program details and requirements.

All Roc Paint Division application materials and artist portfolios are due by Friday, November 9, 2018. Application materials can be submitted via email to or dropped off at 400 Dewey Avenue.

Please share the attached flier with qualified youth at your R-Centers or within the community. Also, feel free to contact me with any questions.

Roc Paint Division Seeking Applicants

Job Description:

  • Work approximately 10 hours/week (2-3 days after school) from January through mid-May.
  • Collaborate with local artists to learn how to conceptualize, design, and paint murals.
  • Work with a team to create murals to beautify City R-Centers.
  • Explore the City through field trips to public art installations and cultural institutions


To qualify, you must: 

  • Be between the ages of 16 and 19
  • Possess a passion for creating visual art
  • Live in the City of Rochester
  • Be currently enrolled in high school
  • Possess and check regularly a valid phone number and email address
  • Submit a completed application and portfolio by Friday 11/02. Applications MUST include:
  • A cover letter expressing your interest in the position
  • A copy of your current report card
  • A Letter of Recommendation from a teacher or mentor
  • A portfolio of your work – including at least three pieces of work that demonstrate your artistic talents and abilities.

Final Wall Photos.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for: the recap of the finished murals produced by our team in 2018.

Edgerton R-Center, led by Program Lead Artists Justin & Brittany. edgerton1print-1

Edgerton R-Center, led by youth artists Lily, Franceska, and Mackenzie. edgerton1print-2

Gantt R-Center, led by guest artist Range. ganttfinal-1

Gantt R-Center, led by guest artist Range. ganttfinal-2

Carter Street R-Center, led by guest artist Vince Ballentine. hi-res_rocpaint-47Carter Street R-Center, led by guest artist Vince Ballentine. hi-res_rocpaint-48

Carter Street R-Center, led by guest artist Vince Ballentine. hi-res_rocpaint-51

Adams Street R-Center, led by youth artist Lily. hi-res_rocpaint-70

Adams Street R-Center, led by guest artist Aubrey Roemer. hi-res_rocpaint-71

Adams Street R-Center, led by guest artist Aubrey Roemer. hi-res_rocpaint-72

Our closing show.

We couldn’t be more proud of our team as Season Three of Roc Paint Division came to a close. We were thrilled to have such a fantastic turnout come to support them at this season’s closing show at Makers Gallery, which highlighted all of the panels produced by the group as well as each individual piece- one of which sold as soon as the show opened to the public!  Check out the recap below. closingshow-170closingshow-171closingshow-172closingshow-173closingshow-174closingshow-176closingshow-177closingshow-178closingshow-179closingshow-180closingshow-181closingshow-182closingshow-183closingshow-184closingshow-185