Alright, I’ll admit it: Where quality of life in Rochester, NY is concerned, I’ve drank the kool-aid. There’s so much to do in Rochester, at such obscenely low costs, that I ponder nearly every day why Rochester (as a community) seems to have so many self-esteem issues. Although I can’t agree with the average Rochesterian’s complaints about our weather, I can understand where they stem from (Two words: Lake Effect). But what I will never understand is the oft heard complaint that Rochester is boring. Boring?? That’s just crazy. Tomorrow’s First Friday event, started by the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, is just one more ballot to add to the “Rochester is a Happenin’ Little City” ballot box.
This evening, take yourself on a little tour of Rochester’s artistic spaces. First Friday takes place from 6PM-9PM at a variety of art venues in Rochester, many of which are, predictably, in The Neighborhood of the Arts. Many other participating venues are in the Central Business District, and there a handful of participating venues located in High Falls, South Wedge, and Upper Monroe. The First Friday website has a very handy map to help you find your way around. There are 27 participants in total, so while you may not be able to experience every single thing the night has to offer, there is no doubt that you’ll be able to fill your evening with as much art as you can handle.
If you begin downtown at Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RCAC), you know, just to pay homage to the creators of the First Friday event, you’ll be treated to the labor-intensive abstractions of Christopher McNalty and Andy Gilmore. From there its not far to the Strum Gallery, inside Black Dog Studios, where Regi Hendrix will pay tribute to his late cousin, Jimi Hendrix, with several new works from his “Room Full of Mirrors” collection. Just around the corner, The Windsor Family Folk Band will be folkin’ it up from 7PM-9PM at Bernunzio Uptown Music, whilst Jan Wenk Cedras reads poetry at the nearby Greenwood Books.
If you’re in a krumping sort of mood, head North to Cobblestone School Contemporary Space to enjoy the energetic choreography of Caitlin Bowers, whose modern fusion dancers dedicate their energy to “those whose lives are defined by struggle.” On the way from RCAC, you’ll pass a number of other exhibits, such as Carol Acquilano’s paintings of Cortona, on display at Philips Fine Art, and Anne Clement’s striking photography at the American Association of University Women.
Those looking to get off the beaten path can visit Chait Fine Art, in High Falls, where Stu Chait will display his dreamy watercolors. On the other side of town, the Gallery at Record Archive will display Nancy Tropolski’s mixed-media explorations of gender-roles, and their effect on our attempts to “create certainty in uncertain times.” South of the main action, South Wedge’s Equal Grounds Coffee House will display Hope Zaccagni’s geometric, colorful paintings, which beautifully depict the architecture we tend not to notice, and the details we’re normally too busy for. Nearby, in Upper Monroe, Genesee Pottery will host demonstrations of wheel-throwing, as they create bowls for their upcoming annual Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cookoff.
If this sampling of events hasn’t been enough to convince you to join Rochester’s cultured many on this crisp Friday evening, you can always check out the full First Friday itinerary at their website.