Finding a New Voice for the Rochester Arts Community

December 6, 2022

Over the last several years, ongoing community discussions have centered on the best methods to advocate for and amplify support of the arts in Greater Rochester. Some of these discussions have been spurred by the 2019 Arts Symposium, others by the continued business and economic developments here, as well as conversations among arts groups and working artists.

A 2019 Center for Governmental Research report said there was strong, informal support for the arts, but pointed to a lack of public funding and cohesion in the arts community.

The 2021 dissolution of the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester dealt a blow to the arts community. For many years the council had been the voice and support for individual artists and arts organizations and had been the conduit to arts grants from New York State and other funders.

“Since then, Rochester’s vibrant, multifaceted, and diverse arts community has lacked a central hub for advocacy, information, resources, and funding opportunities,” says Annette Jiménez Gleason, senior program officer for vitality at Rochester Area Community Foundation.

The common thread of community discussions has been the desire to create a new entity to advocate for arts and artists in a unified way. To help drive this concept, the Community Foundation is supporting two convenings:

  • The first one, coordinated by ROC Arts United, involved four separate facilitated discussions for individual artists, makers, and creators along with small-to- medium-sized organizations to collect their input and opinions.
     
  • A second convening on December 7 for representatives of arts organizations was the first in a series of planning conversations that will focus on collecting ideas about creating a new organization that represents all types of artists and arts organizations in Monroe County.

This new voice for artists and art organizations is important because every county in New York State — except for Monroe County — has some sort of commission or group that advises local government on cultural affairs.

“It is our hope that by gathering a cross-sector of arts groups, higher education, business, and civic leaders at the local and state levels, a new entity — with equitable and inclusive representation — is born that will supports the vitality of the arts,” says Jiménez Gleason.

The goal, she says, is to have an organization in place sometime in 2023.

To get involved or if you have questions, contact Jiménez Gleason at ajimenezgleason@racf.org or 585.341.4372.


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