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Innovative MAG-RCSD Program Receives M&T Bank Grant Funding

In the Community: From M&T Bank

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M&T Bank Announces Sustained Funding for Innovative MAG Program that Helps Rochester Students Access Immersive Arts Education

$250,000 long-term commitment will support MAG-RCSD Expanded Learning Collaboration and annual M&T Bank Clothesline Festival.

M&T Bank announced a new $250,000 charitable commitment for the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) to support two key programs that strengthen the region’s creative economy and provide innovative educational opportunities to children in Rochester. 

The five-year commitment will serve as a sustained source of funding for the MAG-RCSD Expanded Learning Collaboration (ELC) and the annual M&T Bank Clothesline Festival. 

M&T’s lifetime gifts and commitments to the MAG will surpass $1.145 million—putting them in an elite group of donors with gifts and commitments of seven figures or more to the MAG in its 109-year history. It grows M&T’s legacy as an advocate and supporter of the arts and culture in Rochester. 

“Investing in the arts uplifts our community in so many profound ways. With this new commitment to the Memorial Art Gallery, we’ll help provide empowering educational experiences for Rochester children and support the vibrancy of our region’s creative economy,” said M&T Bank Regional President Dan Burns.

“Our support for the MAG-RCSD Expanded Learning Collaboration will build on the tremendous impact the program has generated and address an opportunity gap that far too many students experience. Through hands-on learning inside the museum, it connects children to the arts and inspires creativity. Growing this program will make a lasting difference for our community.” 

The MAG-RCSD Expanded Learning Collaboration is a museum-based learning initiative that immerses Rochester City School District students in arts experiences that enhance curricula provided in their classrooms. This year, the program will serve nearly 600 students in second, third, and fourth grades from five elementary schools including Dr. Charles T. Lunsford School No. 19, Francis Parker School No. 23, Adlai E. Stevenson School No. 29, John James Audubon School No. 33 and Mary McLeod Bethune School No. 45.

The four-week program brings students by bus to MAG for 90-minute sessions for thoughtfully facilitated group discussions about works of art in the galleries and hands-on art activities led by teaching artists in the museum’s Creative Workshop studio spaces. Working in consultation with participating teachers, MAG’s museum educators design all activities to complement and enhance classroom lesson plans as well as to support state learning standards. The arts experiences at MAG are directly related to topics they’re learning in the classroom at each grade level, enriching the educational experience. 

Participating in the ELC program is free for each partner school, the generosity of supporters covers all program costs, such as bus transportation, art materials and ELC educators and staff. 

Additionally, every child who participates receives a “return visit postcard,” which allows them to return to the gallery free of charge with their families, thereby eliminating one of the barriers that may have prevented people from visiting MAG previously.   

“The Expanded Learning Collaboration harnesses the immense power of arts education to help children build skills, broaden their learning and find their voice. M&T Bank’s support will enable us to keep growing this program and serve more students in Rochester,” said Dr. Nile Blunt, the McPherson Director of Academic Programs at MAG. 

“It helps the students we serve, who are predominantly children of color, gain a sense of belonging and ownership of the museum. MAG starts to become a key part of their community, a place where they are empowered to learn, be creative and be themselves.”

The program introduces students to innovative and exciting art methods and materials, increases visual literacy through in-depth art interpretation, improves critical thinking skills and builds a positive relationship with a cultural institution to foster lifelong learning, creativity and inclusion in the arts.

Building on Nearly Three Decades of Support for M&T Bank Clothesline Festival

In 1994, M&T Bank became a sponsor of the M&T Bank Clothesline Festival, building a relationship with the MAG flourishing for almost three decades. M&T said it will extend its sponsorship of the festival—which is MAG’s biggest celebration of artists and largest annual fundraiser—for another five years. 

“We’re looking forward to this year’s festival and being a part of its growth and ongoing evolution,” Burns said. 

Scheduled for Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11, this year’s M&T Bank Clothesline Festival is expected to feature more than 300 artists.

For more information about the MAG-RCSD Expanded Learning Collaboration program and the Memorial Art Gallery, call 585.276.8900 or visit