Back to square one
Using a local art fundraiser to find love
If you are tuned in to the local art scene, you’re probably familiar with Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s (RoCo) annual 6×6 exhibition. Artists from around the world anonymously submit six-inch- square entries for the summer show, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit. This year, one artist decided to try her luck by making her entry into a personal ad. I was admittedly a Madonna-obsessed child of the eighties, and this was such an interesting take on meeting people that I just had to find out more about the artsy-fartsy version of Desperately Seeking Susan.
Rochester’s Susan* is a local business owner and has a teenage son. She’s been single for some time by choice, but also attributes this to the lack of an interesting man crossing her path. Her artwork specifically mentions being anti-online dating, and she explains, “I tried online dating twice and found it to be one more distraction—and not a good one. I felt like the men did not read what I had to say and ignored the important details about me. Being in my forties, I accept social media and the shift in technology from when I grew up. It’s just a little weird to go through these profiles of men and determine if you like them with a swipe this way or that. I’m such a believer that meeting someone out there in the world is the way to go.”
This was Susan’s first attempt at a personal ad. While she admits it was a bit scary, she likes the idea of using creativity to attract a significant other. “Most of my friends know about it, and I’m sure some of them told their friends, and I’m okay with that. The adventurous part is that neither of us would know what the other looks like, and I was setting myself up on a series of blind dates,” she says. However, this was not Susan’s first 6×6 rodeo—she’s a regular participant and typically enjoys working under pressure. “I’m always creating the masterpiece the day of entries being due. This year, I started thinking about it the night before, so I spent a little more time than usual!”
Susan listed three potential meeting times on her art for any curious suitors. The first location was Swillburger, the second was Brighton Farmers’ Market, and the third was Pittsford Dairy. She created an Instagram account that was also shared by RoCo to help spread the word about her quest for love. “I was committed to playing this out,” she says. “I had made a shirt with the question mark icon and wore it proudly, actually thinking someone would have been there and also freaking out when I saw someone walking toward me. I thought I was really going to meet someone because the piece had sold just a few days before the last meeting.” Unfortunately, no one showed. For the final installment, the buyer of the piece was provided a special token and a final meeting destination. “When I arrived, I was so nervous, excited, and scared,” she continues, “I even told one of the employees at customer service what was happening. The security guard started following me around because I was wandering aimlessly looking at men. I decided to sit in a common area, waited an hour, and finally had to get on with my day.”
While Susan was disappointed the buyer did not show, it hasn’t killed her optimism. “I had a blast with my creativity and imagining a love story to tell my grandchildren. It was fun and exciting, and I believed it was possible to meet someone in a way that works for me. I do plan on making another ad and posting it in a new location, or maybe even enter another 6×6 in 2019. However, I can’t make any guarantees because I might not be single by next year!”
Interested parties should follow, or better yet contact, Susan on Instagram at
@female_of_poster. Others wishing to find love via art or simply show their love for RoCo should be advised that 2019’s 6×6 entries are due April 14.
*Name has been changed
Stacey Rowe is a freelance writer and artist located in Rochester. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @thestaceyrowe and at staceyrowe.com