Gifts for Good
Sampling Cultural Gems Across Our Region
Rochester Area Community Foundation, founded in 1972, is celebrating its 50th anniversary year by giving back to the community that brought us to this milestone.
Below you’ll find the full roster of opportunities between now and March 2023 for FREE admission for you, your family, and friends to some beloved institutions in our eight-county area. These nonprofit organizations rely on the Foundation and its donors for grants, and we can’t think of a better win-win than paying your way and giving an extra boost of financial support to our shared community treasures.
We ask for nothing in return except that you consider sharing your experiences with us and your friends on social media. Tag us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn), and even better — use the hashtag of our mantra, #TakeChargeofChange.
Some of these events require advance reservations or ticket orders (still free) and others have a limited number of tickets or admissions, so please pay close attention to details in each description.
A printable copy of the monthly events can be found here.
Fort Hill Performing Arts Center
Friday, February 24 (7:30 p.m.)
Enjoy a one-woman show called “Makin’ Cake,” which slices into American history exploring race, culture, and class in a fun and inspirational way. The building for this 387-seat performance space, located at 20 Fort Hill Ave. in Canandaigua, Ontario County, also contains housing for older adults. The Foundation is making 120 free orchestra seats available. They can be reserved online here, using the code RACF50 at checkout to ensure the tickets are free. For other details, call the box office at 585.412.6043.
National Women’s Hall of Fame
Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days)
This is the nation’s first and oldest nonprofit dedicated to honoring and celebrating the achievements and leadership of distinguished American women, which makes it a perfect destination for Women’s History Month! Exhibits are located on the first floor of the former Knitting Mill at 1 Canal St. in Seneca Falls, Seneca County. More exhibits will be added as renovations of the historic building are completed. Details on reserving tickets in advance will be added here soon. Before your visit, get inspired by hearing from various inductees into the Hall of Fame. For more details, check out www.womenofthehall.org.
Another stop: While in Seneca Falls, you can also visit the Women’s Rights National Historical Park at 136 Fall Street. Admission is free.
Mark your calendar: 2023 is the 175th anniversary of the first Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls. There are certain to be lots of celebrations there.
Memorial Art Gallery
Thursday, March 16 (11 a.m. to 9 p.m.)
In addition to its collections of relics from the past and contemporary works, the museum at 500 University Ave. in Rochester offers a year-round schedule of temporary exhibitions, lectures, concerts, tours, and family activities. The 14-acre campus between Goodman and Prince streets also provides some spectacular public art — from the sidewalks to the open and interactive Centennial Sculpture Park (and a second sculpture park being built in 2022). We’ll be covering admission for non-members on this day.
Learn more at www.mag.rochester.edu
Previous “Gifts for Good” Events
Gateways Music Festival Orchestra Concert
Wednesday, April 20 (7:30 to 9 p.m.)
Guests enjoyed a performance by the Gateways Music Festival’s 100-member orchestra in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre at 60 Gibbs St. Comprised of musicians of African descent from the nation’s foremost orchestras and music conservatories, this orchestra headed off to NYC later the same week to play to a sold-out crowd in Carnegie Hall.
Avenue Blackbox Theatre
Sunday, May 8 (2-4 p.m.)
The Community Foundation was May’s book angel, which means we purchased books for distribution at the Second Sunday Storytime at The Avenue, 780 Joseph Ave. The books are Born Ready: The True Story of A Boy Named Penelope by Jodie Patterson, along with a companion book by the same author for parents called The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation. In honor of Mother’s Day, the event focused on the journey of bold parenting, protecting and loving a trans child to help create space for healthy discussions.
Ganondagan State Historic Site
Saturday, May 21 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Guests had a chance to visit the only historic site dedicated to Native Americans at 7000 County Road 41 (Boughton Hill Road) in Victor, Ontario County. Covering 569 acres, Ganondagan features a Seneca Bark Longhouse that is fully furnished to reflect a typical Seneca family from the late 1600s and an Art & Culture Center that tells the story of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) contributions to art, culture, and society. The day’s programming included a Native American Music workshop, Hoop dance lessons, and performances by the Allegany River Indian Dancers. A variety of trails were also open.
Finger Lakes Museum
Saturday, May 28 (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
We sponsored 60-minute paddling experiences (kayaks or canoes) at this 13-acre campus located on the north end of Keuka Lake at 3369 Guyanoga Road in Branchport, Yates County. Guests were also invited to explore the Townsend Grady Wildlife Preserve walking trails and a boardwalk along Sugar Creek.
Rochester Contemporary Art Center
Friday, June 10 (Noon to 9 p.m.)
For 40 years, RoCo has developed programs and collaborations to support the creation of original artwork and bring new artists to Rochester. On this day, guests experienced 6×6, dubbed the “international small art phenomenon.” Creators from all over the globe send in works of art on a 6-inch square canvas. These artworks cover the walls of the gallery at 137 East Ave. in downtown Rochester and are for sale for $20 each — all to support future exhibitions and public art.
The Strong National Museum of Play
Saturday, June 18 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
On this day, our community’s children’s museum at One Manhattan Square in downtown Rochester hosted a Juneteenth celebration of African-American culture in commemoration of the emancipation of slaves in America, with special Juneteenth programming from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. As a bonus, the pedestrian entrance to the museum closest to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park was open to allow guests to go between the museum and the park, where other festivities were held. We partnered with the museum to make possible free admission for all visitors and free train and carousel rides, too.
Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Geneseo
Friday, July 15 (8:30 p.m.)
Guests enjoyed a free outdoor concert by our community’s superb symphony orchestra and its new music director, Maestro Andreas Delfs. The music was a mixture of American composers, classical hits, marches and dances, and music from films. Geneseo’s own Chanler family has helped support this concert for many years, most recently through their generous creation of the Gertrude Chanler RPO Fund at the Community Foundation. The concert took place at Saratoga Field on the campus of State University College at Geneseo and was followed by fireworks.
Get more details on the RPO at https://rpo.org/
New York Museum of Transportation
Sunday, July 24 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
This museum at 6393 East River Road in West Henrietta features a collection of antique trolley cars, a steam locomotive, fire truck, ambulance, operating model railroad, many other vehicles, and numerous exhibits of photographs and artifacts pertaining to local transportation history. Guests relived holiday memories with an exhibit of the Midtown Plaza Monorail. The 200-plus slots for the two-mile trolley rides around the grounds sold out!
Get more details at www.nymtmuseum.org
National Warplane Museum
Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days)
If you are into planes and history, we hope you were able to see up close World War II-, Korean War-, and Vietnam-era aircraft and equipment. Located at 3489 Big Tree Lane in Geneseo, Livingston County, the museum also highlights stories of men and women who served our country at home and abroad. If you weren’t able to make it in July, you can stop by another time and even book a ride on one of the planes.
Get more details at https://nationalwarplanemuseum.com.
Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park
Wednesday, August 3 (9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
This 50-acre estate is one of just two public gardens within the entire state park system. Located at 250 Gibson Street in Canandaigua, Ontario County, it features a 40-room Queen Anne-style mansion and nine formal gardens. Sonnenberg, which means sunny hill, is known for its distinctive period architecture, statuary, formal gardens, fountains, and unique garden structures. Usually closed on Wednesdays, this day was open for our event. Learn more at www.sonnenberg.org.
Finger Lakes Opera
Sunday, August 7 (3 p.m.)
This organization’s mission is to bring opera to more people throughout the Finger Lakes region. This special 10th anniversary concert took place at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, 60 Gibbs St. in downtown Rochester. We reserved 200 free tickets for this performance — 100 center Balcony; 50 center Mezzanine; and 50 side Orchestra. Learn more at www.fingerlakesopera.org
Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum
Saturday, September 3 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Sunday, September 4 (Noon to 5 p.m.)
During the Sodus Bay Historical Society’s 50th anniversary year, we thought it would be fun to introduce people to its 151-year-old lighthouse and museum. Located on the shore of Lake Ontario at 7606 N. Ontario St., Sodus Point, this Wayne County maritime museum has been operated by the historical society since 1984. A bonus on September 4 was a free concert by Ron and Nancy OneSong, the last of the Summer Sunday Concerts series at the lighthouse.
Get more details at www.sodusbaylighthouse.org
Saturday, September 10 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
This open-air museum in Orleans County promotes the exploration of cobblestone masonry and structures. Located at 14389 Ridge Road West in Albion, this historic site boasts 10 buildings that include a cobblestone church, house, and schoolhouse, along with wooden structures that highlight the history of farming and printing along with harness and blacksmith shops. On this free admission day, 19th century artisans were at work and live demonstrations were held throughout the day. A free concert by Fiddlers of the Genesee started at 3 p.m.
Get more details at www.cobblestonemuseum.org.
The museum also offers details on a “Cobblestone Trail” that highlights nearly 100 separate cobblestone sites in that area. This driving tour is intended strictly as a “roadway tour,” with no close-up access to these private properties. An interactive map is available here.
Rochester Museum & Science Center
Friday, October 7 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Over its 110-year history, the museum has evolved to meet the changing needs of the community and increased curiosity in the areas of science, technology, nature, culture, and innovation. We paid museum admission for all non-members who visited 657 East Ave. on this day.
Get more details on what RMSC has to offer at www.rmsc.org.
ImageOut 30th Annual Fall Film Festival
Saturday, October 8 (Films and screening times listed below)
This annual event, which ran from October 6-16, is the second largest LGBTQ+ film festival in New York State. It showcased feature-length and short films and will provide arts and cultural programming throughout the region the rest of the year. Fifty complimentary tickets were available for each of the four films that were screened at the George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre on October 8. The films were:
- My Emptiness and I (noon)
- PARA:DIES (2:45 p.m.)
- Chrissy Judy (5:30 p.m.)
- Elephant (8:30 p.m.)
Get details on the festival and other activities at www.imageout.org.
Jell-O Gallery Museum
Saturday, November 5 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Sunday, November 6 (1 to 4 p.m.)
Yes, the famous gelatin dessert was invented in LeRoy, Genesee County, in 1897, and this museum pays homage to its colorful history and eclectic advertising. Located at 23 E. Main St., the museum also has a sweet gift shop. Get more details — and recipes — at www.jellogallery.org.
George Eastman Museum
Saturday, November 12 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
A popular display will be back for the holidays — the Sweet Creations gingerbread houses. Dozens of cleverly designed and deliciously decorated gingerbread houses made by families, businesses, professional bakers, and more fill the museum at 900 East Ave. in Rochester. All of the sweet treats are part of a silent auction fundraiser. On this day, we covered admission for all non-members who visited.
Get more details at www.eastman.org
Cobblestone Arts Center
Saturday, December 3 (7 p.m.)
During the day, this Ontario County performance space, located at 1622 NY-332 in Farmington, provides an arts program for individuals with developmental disabilities, experiential learning opportunities in the community, and classes offered by other groups. The center is also used for a variety of live performances. On this evening, 100 tickets were available for free to enjoy an evening of a cappella music featuring the University of Rochester’s Yellow Jackets and Vocal Point.
Learn more at https://www.cobblestoneartscenter.com/acappella
Garth Fagan Dance
Sunday, December 11 (2 p.m.)
This world-renowned dance group opened its home season at the Theater at Innovation Square (formerly Xerox Auditorium) at 50 Chestnut St., in downtown Rochester. We offered free tickets for 100 to this afternoon matinee performance.
Learn more about this contemporary dance company, which gave its first public performance on Nov. 15, 1970, at www.garthfagandance.org
Saturday, January 7 and Sunday, January 8 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days)
In the middle of winter, it’s good to feel like spring is just around the corner. You can find wonderful color and warmth inside this glass structure in Highland Park at 1809 Reservoir Ave. in Rochester. You can also enjoy the last of the holiday decor. Admission will be free. Please note that the building’s capacity is limited to 40 at one time, so it’s possible you might have a short wait.
Learn more at www.monroecounty.gov/parks-conservatory or call 585.753.7270 for more information.
Genesee Country Village & Museum
Sunday, January 22 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Who knew this historic village at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford — the third largest in the country and founded in 1966 — was such a popular venue for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing? We certainly didn’t. Grab your gear (we’ll cover the admission fee) to see the sites on the museum’s 600 acres, which include 68 historic buildings and a Nature Center. This outing will whet your appetite to see more, and you’ll want to come back in the spring when the buildings are open and the village is bustling with activities.
Learn more at www.gcv.org.