Rutherford and Willow Receive Creatives Rebuild New York Grant





Rutherford’s Appointment as Artist-in-Residence Begins July 1, 2022


Rochester, NY— Muralist Sarah C. Rutherford and Willow Center announced today that they received an Artist Employment Program (AEP) grant from Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY). Designed to support employment opportunities for artists, the program is funding 98 collaborations involving a dynamic group of 300 artists employed by community-based organizations, municipalities, and tribal governments across New York State. CRNY has awarded a total of $49.9M in funding to support artists’ salaries and benefits, with an additional $11.7M in funding provided to the organizations holding employment.

“If we are to truly rebuild our amazing state, we must celebrate artists’ contributions not only to the economy but to what makes us human,” says Creatives Rebuild New York’s Executive Director Sarah Calderon. “The incredible work being funded through CRNY’s Artist Employment Program underscores the importance of direct support for both individual artists and the organizations that hold their employment.”

In the fall of 2020, Rutherford and Willow unveiled Stories of Strength mural which stands six-stories tall on the Times Square Building in downtown Rochester. The mural is grounded in the real stories of domestic violence. Rutherford interviewed survivors as she was creating the work and interwove their experiences into every detail. As Artist-in-Residence, Rutherford will expand beyond a public mural featuring one central image to a two year, multimedia project including interviews, audio recordings and visual works honoring survivors and documenting their journeys of healing. Domestic Violence can affect anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, socioeconomic background, education level and gender. With a focus on meeting people where they are, Rutherford and Willow Advocates would travel to neighborhood centers, homes, prisons, and surrounding rural communities to record these interviews which will be the seeds for any artwork created.

Willow will receive $200,000 to support the collaboration, including artists’ salaries and benefits.

“When I started Her Voice Carries in 2017, one of the most powerful discoveries was the realization that almost every person involved, including myself, had experienced violence at some point in their lives,” remarked Sarah C. Rutherford. “Through deepening this partnership with Willow, I have the support system and resources to continue to engage in this work of empowerment and of advocacy, education, empowerment, and healing.”

“Sarah’s work is a true testament, in a very public way, that Willow stands with survivors. Survivors of domestic violence are worthy of healthy relationships, of compassion, and of love,” said Meaghan de Chateauvieux, Willow’s President & CEO. “This partnership allows us to support Sarah’s work by diving further into the art experience and giving survivors a very public voice through her art. We are grateful to give back to our community in this way and to have Sarah as our partner.”

Artist Employment Program recipients were selected through a two-stage process by a group of twenty external peer reviewers alongside CRNY staff. From an initial pool of over 2,700 written applications, 167 were shortlisted for interviews with reviewers. To view the list of 98 Artist Employment Program participants, visit

For more information about Creatives Rebuild New York’s Artist Employment Program, please visit