Visual Studies Workshop’s mission is to support makers and interpreters of images through education, publications, residencies, exhibitions and collections.

Our story

VSW was founded in 1969 in Rochester, New York by artist and curator Nathan Lyons (1930–2016). Rooted in Lyons’ progressive vision of the “workshop idea,” VSW became one of the earliest independent, not-for-profit, artist-run spaces in the country.

Fifty three years later VSW’s core programs continue to reflect our mission and include VSW Press, VSW Salon (formerly the VSW Film Series), Project Space Artist Residencies, and Artist Education programs, as well as a research collection and art library with over a million still and moving images and 40,000 books for artists, critics and the general public to explore, research and reuse.

VSW’s archives and programs support, promote, and explore artist’s works, artist’s studio practice, artist publications, as well as artist and curator critical writing. VSW offers crucial support to artists and curators and provides affordable or free programming around these activities for our community, both onsite and online. 

  • Staff

    Nilson Carroll, Media Technician

    Trevor Clement, Digital Printing Lab Technician

    Hernease Davis, Assistant Curator Education and Public Programs

    Jessica Johnston, Executive Director, x.21

    Mary Lewandowski, Curatorial and Research Assistant

    Tara Merenda Nelson, Curator and Director of Public Programs

    Tate Shaw, Editor VSW Press and Curator Joan Lyons Independent Press Archive

  • Board of Trustees

    Roger Bruce, President
    Director of Interpretation, George Eastman Museum (1993-2011); Director, New York State Artist Fellowship Program, NYFA (1984-89)

    Almudena Escobar Lopez, Secretary
    Independent Curator, Archivist and Researcher, and Time-based Media Curatorial Assistant, Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester

    Rachel Ferraro
    Artist, Assistant Professor, Rochester Institute of Technology

    Jessica Johnston (ex officio)
    Executive Director, VSW

    Evelyne Leblanc Roberge
    Artist, Assistant Professor, University of Rochester

    Joan Lyons
    Artist, Publisher, VSW Press Founder

    Richard M. Leicht, Treasurer
    CPA, Principal, The Bonadio Group

    Jose Maliekal
    Dean, School of Arts & Sciences, SUNY Brockport

    Karen Podsiadly
    Director of Community Development, SUNY Brockport

    Tate Shaw (ex officio)
    Artist, Writer, Editor VSW Press