Monday, February 8, 2016


While recently visiting the truly amazing balloon-based depiction of the Genesee River at the Sibley Building, I overheard the following conversation:

Person A: "It's like we're not even in Rochester."
Person B: "I know.  I didn't know we have stuff like this in Rochester."

This type of dialogue is commonplace and illustrates:

  1. Rochester's tendency toward self-deprecation.
  2. Downtown's slow yet steady comeback.
  3. A sometimes perplexing lack of knowledge about the inspiring work that is done in the region.  There is a sense (apparently not quelled by recent greats such as Abby Wambach and Philip Seymour Hoffman) that greatness and Rochester cannot co-exist.  Yet a brief glance at just a few artists in the region reveals some remarkable accomplishments:
  • Airigami, responsible for the aforementioned balloon art, is a Rochester-based entity that has been featured extensively and has made appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, Good Morning America, the Today Show, and at the White House.  Two Guinness World Records have been set by Airigami.
  • Albert Paley, a renowned metal sculptor, has site-specific works in Washington (DC), Philadelphia, and Toronto among numerous other cities.  In 2013, thirteen of his works were featured along Park Avenue in New York City.  His pieces can also be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), and the Victoria and Albert Museum (London).
  • Wendell Castle, a prominent furniture artist, has site-specific works in cities such as Chicago, Toronto, Washington (DC), and New York City.  His art can also be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Smithsonian Institution, and the White House.
  • Garth Fagan, a celebrated modern dance choreographer, is best known for his 1998 Tony Award for Best Choreography of Broadway's The Lion King.  His dance company, based in Rochester, has performed on every continent except Antarctica.

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