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KIDS ROCKWELL Art Lab is open Thursday - Monday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Plan your visit

Alley Art Project: Heroes

From May 10, 2023 to September 10, 2023

Location: Student Gallery (Floor 2)

Celebrating the youth heroes in our community!

The 2023 Alley Art Project highlights the significant impact of young people empowering and influencing society. The Rockwell Museum, in collaboration with the High School Learning Center (HSLC) of the Corning-Painted Post Area School District and SUNY Corning Community College (CCC), worked with students and Teaching Mural Artist Sarah C. Rutherford to design a public art mural in our community. 

2023 Mural Design Rendition
Mural Location: Marconi Lodge, 26 W Pulteney St, Corning, NY 14830

The central figure in the rendered design is a portrait of HSLC graduate student, Salem Estrada. He was nominated by the students in the mural design class. Although the design depicts one person, the overall message of the mural is about resiliency, persevering through life’s hardships, inspiring others to be their best selves, embracing love, showing gratitude, being courageous, being unapologetic and making room for the many parts or multitudes of our identities as we grow. Salem is a visual representative of what a youth hero stands for and how a young hero can uplift and inspire others.  

Pulling elements from students’ self-portraits, Sarah C. Rutherford incorporated symbols centered around transformation, growth and cycles. The sun and moon, as well as themes of darkness and light, showed up in many of the students’ work. These became central themes in the mural. The scene is set over water to ground the mural in place as the Chemung River flows a few streets behind the mural. It also references the relationship many of the students spoke of with the natural world.  

Salem is centrally located with a fierce yet loving gaze on the viewer, kissed in sunlight on the left and glowing in moonlight on the right. His hand is outstretched with light emanating as another hand reaches down from above. This gesture represents the passing of the torch to the next generation, with the words “You will get through this” placed between the two hands. 

The mural will be painted this summer, culminating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid-August. Visit for more information.  


 See yourself as a hero!

  • What pictures or words come to mind when you hear the word HERO? 
  • What is one thing about yourself that you are proud of? 
  • What are you grateful for? 
  • What inspires you? 
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The Rockwell Museum is grateful and excited to work with Sarah C. Rutherford on the 2023 Alley Art Project connecting the thread of “heroes” to the mural design. Sarah is committed to working in collaboration and making art more accessible by bringing it outside traditional art spaces. This work ethic aligns with the mission and vision of The Rockwell to show how the multifaceted nature of experience can be a source for dialogue and conversation, a force for cultural acceptance and a tool for mutual understanding. 

View gallery 

About the Artist

Sarah C. Rutherford

For the past fifteen years, Sarah C. Rutherford has worked in her chosen community of Rochester, NY as a muralist, painter, educator, and community- based artist. This work has taken many forms, including co-founding THE YARDS Collaborative Art Space, co-founding ROC PAINT Division, Rochester’s city-funded youth mural arts employment program, and implementing the comprehensive public art project, Her Voice Carries which features local women who are lifting up the voices of others.  

Most recently, she has been awarded a Creative Rebuild NY grant in partnership with Willow Domestic Violence Center to expand her multifaceted public art project, Stories of Strength, which directly engages and works alongside survivors of domestic violence. The work will honor survivors’ journeys of healing while simultaneously bringing attention to the pervasiveness of domestic violence in the Monroe County community. She is also currently completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Art through the University of New Mexico. 

Thank You!

The 2023 Alley Art Project is generously supported by The Triangle Fund, by The Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc. and by Guthrie.