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Artists in residence at rec centers

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Though Rochester is rich in arts and culture, more must be done to make sure that everyone shares in the bounty, regardless of social class, Mayor Lovely Warren often says.

One step in that effort is to bring artists, musicians, and others into city recreation centers. City Council is currently considering legislation that would create a partnership between the City of Rochester and Young Audiences of Rochester.

Young Audiences would "provide the services of teaching artists and wildlife educators for a total of 18 artist residences," the legislation says. Each residency would consist of seven, one-hour sessions serving up to 25 youth.

"It has to do with us just finding a way, without spending a lot of money, to really getting back on track with how we begin to describe ourselves as the city of the arts," says City Council member Elaine Spaull, "which is high, high, high end — all the way up to the RPO and that kind of stuff — all the way down to music in pocket parks."

Spaull, who heads up Council's Arts and Culture Committee, says that she'd like the programs to match the interests of the young people at individual recreation centers.

"Not all schools are the same, not all rec centers are the same," she says. "So maybe the one that's attached to Webster Avenue has a bigger interest in, like, spoken word. And maybe the one that's over on Humboldt is more interested in music. That's what I like about it, that it can really be personalized and individualized and match the interest of the children in that neighborhood."

Council may vote on the proposed $15,000 agreement with Young Audiences at its October 14 meeting.

There are 14 recreation-community centers in the city. It's not clear if all would get residencies.

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