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SCHOOL: The Joseph Rossano Salmon Project

Conceptualized by artist Joseph Rossano, School is an international, multi-media, traveling art performance and exhibition that casts light on the diminished state of global salmon populations and the habitat on which they depend.

The installation features a life-size school of mirrored salmon-like forms, sculpted from molten glass by concerned individuals from around the world, as well as first-hand video accounts from renowned scientists, artists, and indigenous peoples.

As School travels to different regions of the globe—regions with their own rivers and issues unique to each stock of fish that depend upon them—the narrative of the exhibition will change to cast light on that region's river and its fish populations.

When in Scotland, the narrative might focus on the River Dee; in New York, the Connecticut; in Montreal, the Grand Cascapédia; yet at the exhibit's end, like the salmon and steelhead it mimics, it will return to the place of its spawning in the Pacific Northwest.

With School's return it will tell the story of vanishing and endangered fish, their world, your world, and the world of makers that grew this symbol of awareness through art.

the film
The facts
The mission


SCHOOL unites communities.

School engages local communities through educational programs that blend art, natural history, and modern scientific methods, crafting a story unique to a region's salmon. These programs are realized as part of both School's Maker Events and its Exhibitions.

For each river system School visits, our science team will work with regional biologists to engage local communities in Citizen Science Workshops. Together, they will learn how to collect eDNA samples, recording a genetic snapshot of the region's salmonid species and the communities in which they live.

These activities will be captured in a documentary film that records this unique community-based collaboration of learning, science and art. Each film will be included as part of the in-gallery exhibit telling the unique story of that region’s people and its school of salmon.


Crafted of blown glass and silver, School positions an entire run of salmon within a known space, such as a basketball court. Placing a seemingly endless resource in a universally understood space offers all who see it true perspective of a seemingly endless world beyond their own homes.



Wild salmon are in jeopardy of extinction across the globe 

School conjures the plight of the passenger pigeon. This species once congregated in flocks too vast for humans to comprehend, and too vast for them to imagine ever disappearing.


Hoping to learn form this bygone species, School seeks 20/20 hindsight. Flocks of passenger pigeons, which once took three days to finish their non-stop migrations, were vanquished by the beginning of the 20th century. For many, salmon have long maintained the same mythic status of invincibility.


Focusing on Salmonoids, including all six species of Pacific salmon, Steelhead, and the Atlantic salmon, School is a project designed to bring a community together to show the world that these fish are like the passenger pigeon—finite—but if we act together we can change their future and our own.

The Project

The Project

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