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A little culture never hurt anyone


For a city our size, we've got plenty of culture. There's enough for every taste and energy level, but not too much to overwhelm. Here's only a partial list; check the weekly calendar in City for information on other groups, venues, and specific events.

Visual arts

A\V 8 Public Market, 423-0320, www.avspace.org | newer, small space in Rochester's Public Market, hosts contemporary out-of-the-mainstream visual, media, and music artists

Anderson Alley Artists 250 North Goodman Street, #212,461-3940 | three floors of artists' studios, open to the public once a month on Second Saturdays

ArtisanWorks 565 Blossom Road, Suite L, 288-7170, www.artisanworks.net | 40,000 square feet completely covered with art, home to Elizabeth Collection and 25 artists' studios

Arts & Cultural Council 277 North Goodman Street, 473-4000, www.artsrochester.org | The organization that represents and organizes local artists now shows area work on its remodeled first floor.

Center at High Falls 60 Browns Race, 325-2030, www.centerathighfalls.org | in the historic High Falls district, both a museum of local history and an art gallery devoted to local artists.

1570 Gallery 1570 East Avenue, 770-1923 | an art gallery inside a senior living complex, displays work by local and national artists

4 Walls Gallery 34 Elton Street | a brand-new space at 34 Elton Street, a growing arts center

Genesee Center for the Arts 713 Monroe Avenue, 271-5183 | home to Genesee Pottery and the Community Darkroom, both of which offer classes, space to work, and galleries

George Eastman House 900 East Avenue, 271-3361, www.eastmanhouse.org | once the estate of Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman, now home to the International Museum of Photography and Film, including photography exhibits, one of the world's oldest film archives, and the Dryden Theater, where movies are screened almost every evening.

International Art Acquisitions 3300 Monroe Avenue, 264-1400, www.internationalartacquisitions.com | thousands of works, with an emphasis on 18th- and 19th-century American and European paintings

Little Theatre Café 240 East Avenue, 232-3906 | a popular pit-stop before or after a movie, as well as its own destination for live jazz and artwork on the walls

Memorial Art Gallery 500 University Avenue, 473-7720, mag.rochester.edu | Rochester's art museum: The permanent collection has 10,000 works from 5,000 years of history. It may be New York State's most comprehensive art collection outside of the New York City.

Mill Art Center and Gallery 61 North Main Street, Honeoye Falls, 624-7740 | studio space for workshops and an adjacent gallery

Nan Miller Gallery 3450 Winton Place, 292-1430, www.nanmillergallery.com | shows a variety of styles: pop, abstract, realism

Oxford Gallery 267 Oxford Street, 271-5885, www.oxfordgallery.com | 40-year-old independent gallery, a solid, prestigious presence on the local scene

Rochester Contemporary 137 East Avenue, 461-2222 | devoted to keeping contemporary arts alive in downtown Rochester; a good bet for multimedia work, installations, as well as alternative 2-D work

Williams Gallery First Unitarian Church, 220 South Winton Road, 586-6085 | artwork on display in the Louis Kahn-designed church building

Visual Studies Workshop 31 Prince Street, 442-8676, www.vsw.org | the area's media-studies hub offers community and degree (an MFA in visual studies through SUNY Brockport) classes in photography, visual books, film/video, and digital media. The Siskind Gallery, The Collector's Gallery, and Bookstore have a variety of work.

At the colleges

Finger Lakes Community College Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 4355 Lakeshore Dr, Canandaigua, 394-3500

Monroe Community College Mercer Gallery 1000 East Henrietta Road, 292-2021

Rochester Institute of TechnologyBevier GalleryJames E Booth Building, 475-7680 | Gallery r775 Park Avenue, 242-9470, www.rit.edu/~galleryr | NTID Dyer Arts Center Johnson Building, 475-6855 | SPAS Gallery Gannett Bldg 7B, 475-2770

SUNY Brockport Tower Fine Arts Center and Rainbow Gallery 180 Holley Street, Brockport, 395-2805

SUNY Geneseo Lederer Gallery Brodie Hall, 245-5211 | Lockhart Gallery McClellan House, PHONE | Opus Gallery MacVittie College Union, 245-5516

University of Rochester Gallery at the Art and Music Library Rush Rhees Library, River Campus, 275-4476 | Hartnett Gallery Wilson Commons, River Campus, 275-4188 | Rare Books and Special Collections Library River Campus, 275-4477 | Rossell Hope Robbins Library Rush Rhees Library, River Campus, 275-0110


ARTWalk University Avenue, 234-6670, www.rochesterartwalk.org | interactive, outdoor museum along University Avenue in the Neighborhood of the Arts

Center at High Falls 60 Browns Race, 325-2030, www.centerathighfalls.org | Rochester history, great view of the historic High Falls

Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Museum off Lake Avenue, 621-6179 | nautical and lighthouse memorabilia, tours into the lighthouse tower

Ganondagan 1488 State Route 444, Victor, 742-1690, www.ganondagan.org | site where thousands of Seneca people lived 300 years ago; hiking trails, visitors' center, special events

Genesee Country Village and Museum 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, 538-6822, www.gcv.org | a reproduction 19th-century village, open in the summer complete with a old-time baseball league; the adjacent nature center is open year-round.

Geneva Historical Society Museum 543 South Main Street, Geneva, 789-5151, www.genevahistoricalsociety.com | exhibits and events celebrating local history

Honeoye Falls-Mendon Historical Society Museum 1 Allen Park Drive, Honeoye Falls, 624-9803, 624-1611 | exhibits and events celebrating local history

NewYork Museum of Transportation 6393 East River Road, 533-1113, www.nymtmuseum.org | antique trolleys, vehicles, memorabilia, model railroad and track car rides

Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Avenue, 271-1880, www.rmsc.org | a science museum for kids with rotating exhibits that make science fun, also houses the Strasenburgh Planetarium, where there are star shows and big-screen movies

Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens 151 Charlotte Street, Canandaigua, 394-4922, www.sonnenberg.org | 19th-century mansion and formal gardens

Seneca Park Zoo 2222 St Paul Street, 467-9453, www.senecazoo.org | the zoo, with all the requisite animals and educational events for families; open 364 days a year

Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square, 263-2700, www.strongmuseum.org | children's museum hosts rotating exhibits, tons of events; see the reproduction of Sesame Street, the play grocery store, and the National Toy Hall of Fame

Susan B. Anthony House 17 Madison Street, 235-6124 ext 19 | the old abode of that suffragist and civil rights activist, including the porch where she was arrested for voting

Poetry and literature

Blackstorytelling League of Rochester 234-7710, www.blackstorytellingleague.org | promotes African cultural arts and expression through storytelling

Boa EditionsLimited 260 East Avenue, 546-3410, boaeditions.org | not-for-profit poetry publishing house; more than 150 titles, several award-winning

Brockport Writers Forum SUNY Brockport, 395-5713, www.brockport.edu/wforum/ | an impressive reading series that brings writers and poets

HazMat Review www.hazmatlitreview.org | literary journal that is made by and publishes local writers

Lake Affect Magazine 288-4239, www.lakeaffectmag.com | community magazine with a dedication to publishing creative work

Pure Kona Poetry Daily Perks Coffee House, 389 Gregory Street | long-running open mic series, religiously held every Thursday

Rochester Arts & Lectures 546-8658, www.artsandlectures.org | the lecture series that brings most of the big-name writers to town, almost always a sell-out

Writers & Books 740 University Avenue, 473-2590, www.wab.org | a community literary center, offering classes and events in all writing genres, including the Genesee Reading Series and If All of Rochester Read the Same Book.


Bush Mango Drum & Dance 34 Elton Street, 235-3960, www.bushmango.com | community classes, workshops for city kids, and performances in West African drumming and dancing

Elizabeth Clark Dance Ensemble 442-5988 | performance and education group, offers modern dance concerts and community classes in different locations

Garth Fagan Dance 50 Chestnut Street, 454-3260, www.garthfagandance.org | We are shameless braggarts when it comes to the Tony Award-winning, world-traveled choreographer. The troupe performs at least one weekend of concerts in the area each year, and children can take advantage of the Imagination dance classes.

Hallmark Danceworks www.hallmarkdanceworks.org | non-profit modern dance company

Park Avenue Dance 461-2766, www.parkavenuedancecompany.org | offers ongoing classes, also presents modern-dance concerts and brings in visiting choreographers for master classes/performances

Rochester City Ballet 1326 University Avenue, 461-5850, www.rochestercityballet.org | an excellent, growing nonprofit company, performs The Nutcracker with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra every year

Rochester Swing Dance Network 244-2815, www.rochesterswingdance.com | holds weekly, participatory dances, often with live music

SUNY Brockport 350 New Campus Drive, Brockport, 395-2787, brockport.edu/finearts | a great dance program yields several performances throughout the year

Yevshan Ukrainian Dance Ensemble 477-5852, yevshan_ukies.tripod.com | nonprofit group, performs at events and schools


AKWAABA: The Heritage Association 482-5192, www.akwaabatours.org | reenacts Underground Railroad stories and other stories from the time of Rochester's abolitionist movement

Blackfriars Theatre 28 Lawn Street, 454-1260, www.blackfriars.org | a solid, mid-sized professional theater in a remodeled church in the East End, puts on five shows a year with local talent

Bread and Water Theatre www.breadandwatertheatre.org | a newer, fresh, non-profit theater group on the scene, offers an annual Rainbow Theatre Festival devoted to gay themes

Downstairs Cabaret Theatre 20 Windsor Street, 172 West Main Street, and 540 East Main Street, 325-4370, www.downstairscabaret.com | an amazingly prolific theater staging cabarets, musicals, comedies, and straight-up dramas in three locations; the indefatigable I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change has been running for four years. We can't get enough.

Geva Comedy Improv 232-4382, www.gevatheatre.org | they pull it out of a hat, and it's hysterical; late-night weekend shows with cheap beer at the Geva Theatre Center

Geva Theatre Center 75 Woodbury Boulevard, 232-4382, www.gevatheatre.org | the largest regional professional theater, there's always something on either the traditional main stage or the NextStage, reserved for newer works

Greater Rochester Repertory Companies 624-8360, www.grrc-arts.org | nonprofit theater that puts on several shows a year, also runs a summer performing arts program for kids

JCCenterstage Jewish Community Center, 1200 Edgewood Avenue, 461-2000 | professional community theater, uses local actors, also has a play reading series

A Magical Journey Thru Stages 935-7173, www.mjstages.com | a multi-generational troupe that stages Broadway musical revues for charity

Nuts and Bolts Comedy Improv 503-7815, www.nutsandboltsimprov.com | very funny, off-the-cuff humor, shows about once a month at Downstairs Cabaret Theatre

Off-Monroe Players 234-0500, www.off-monroeplayers.org | It's all Gilbert and Sullivan, twice a year, for free

Rochester Association of Performing Arts 727 East Main Street, 325-3366, www.ggw.org/rapa/index.html | teaches children and adults in music, theater, and dance and offers a season of plays and musicals

Rochester Broadway Theatre League 875 East Main Street, 325-7760, www.rbtl.org | We may get them late, but we get them. Thanks to RBTL, several big-name Broadway shows make stops at the Auditorium Theatre.

Rochester Children's Theater Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue, 385-0510, www.rochesterchildrenstheatre.org | shows for young ones; in residence at Nazareth College

Rochester Community Players 234-7840 | Rochester's oldest community theater includes the Irish Players and the Shakespeare Players, who perform free summer shows at Highland Park Bowl.

Shipping Dock Theatre Visual Studies Workshop, 31 Prince Street, 232-2250, www.shippingdocktheatre.org | City theater critic calls it the "best brave little theater"; despite venue issues, continues to put forth dedicated treatments of "thinking" plays

TYKEs 875 East Main Street, 723-6080 | a new group called Theater Young Kids Enjoy, performs on the Auditorium Theatre's upstairs stage

University of Rochester International Theatre Program Todd Theatre, UR River Campus, 275-4088, www.rochester.edu/theatre | a standout college theater group, puts on experimental, rigorously staged work

In This Guide...

  • Annual Manual 2005

    Surprised by Rochester
    When I was getting ready to move to Rochester five years ago, my friends and family were confused. They wore worried faces when they asked me, "What's in Rochester?" and "That's not too far from the city, is it?" and "Do you like the cold weather?"

  • A newbie’s checklist

    Beginner’s guide
    So you've arrived, and now you need the basics: phone, utilities, a way to get around town, and, maybe, a way to get out of town. Here is some info to help you get settled in.

  • Who's representing

    Mayor Bill Johnson 30 Church Street, Rochester 14614

  • It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

    There is so much talk about how to revitalize Rochester's downtown and make the city a more attractive place to live. But many people have discovered the benefits of city life.

  • Pounding the pavement

    I've been thinking about changing my name to Where's Your Car? (though I would have preferred You're Stunning or Are Those Real?).

  • Finding a beat you can dance to

    Live music
    I know it takes a little more than turning on the tube, but heading out for live music is so good for you. Plus the audience (you) is an integral part of each performance.

  • We’ve got music

    We're proud of our musical talent; here are four reasons why. The event

  • Get yourself something to eat

    Welcome to the Rochester food scene. I write full reviews of different restaurants every other week in City, but here is a bit of a primer, by genre, to acquaint you with the area's amazing variety of dining options.

  • Why we love market day

    The Rochester Public Market can be noisy, crowded, and fishy, but that is part of the vibrancy and spirit that make it a unique experience. Where else in Rochester is it almost too crowded to move for hours at a time?

  • Tending to your health

    Major hospitals Highland Hospital

  • Get learning

    Each public school district in Monroe County has contact information (listed below) where you can get more detailed information about individual schools. To get an overall picture, for some general research, or to just get involved, here are some resources:

  • What's the alternative?

    Although Rochester has a number of respectable art museums and galleries, rarely will these venues show anything outside the mainstream. For an art space to do something daring, quite often it has to rely on the vision and resources of an individual or a small group of people.

  • The gold of the silver screens

    I'm only about 5-foot-3-inches, but I totally towered over Isabella Rossellini. Now, you may be wondering what sorts of circles a humble hometown girl like myself would run in that would enable me to reach that conclusion.

  • A little place outside the city

    Monroe County has 19 towns and nine incorporated villages. Aided by short commutes, particularly between Rochester and its inner-ring of suburbs, many of these are bedroom communities.

  • High class

    Colgate Rochester Divinity School Can boast of a dedication for diversity, teaching students in over 20 Christian denominations.

  • We'd rather be out in the open

    The areas in and around Rochester are rich with green space --- diverse, convenient, and beautiful places to walk the dog, take out a canoe, find a zoo, or smell the lilacs. From the beautiful Seneca and Highland Parks, both designed by 19th-century landscape genius Frederick Law Olmsted, to Durand-Eastman Park, where you can feel the immensity of that Great Lake --- here is just a partial list of some of our favorite parks in the Monroe County (256-4950, www.monroecounty.gov) and City of Rochester (400 Dewey Avenue, 428-6767 or 428-6755, www.cityofrochester.gov) systems.

  • Block partying

    Go ahead, give us a reason to celebrate. I dare you.