Photo Credit: Evan Lowenstein
ARTwalk is a unique outdoor museum in Rochester, NY. ARTwalk is an urban art trail connecting museums, galleries, shops, and public spaces throughout the Rochester Neighborhood of the Arts District. The neighborhood features many great cultural amenities such as the Strasenburgh Planetarium , Rochester Historical Society , Memorial Art Gallery , Visual Studies Workshop , School of the Arts , George Eastman House and the International Museum of Photography and Film .
The idea for ARTwalk originated from citizens and community leaders in an effort to revitalize the area of Rochester along University Ave. When planning began to redesign University Ave. citizens expressed their desire to take advantage of the existing cultural attractions by connecting and enhancing them. The resulting ARTwalk is a place for neighbors and tourists to mingle among the public art.
ARTwalk includes public art and decorative sidewalks along the way. Some of the public art was funded with TE funds but other art has been funded through private donations, community efforts, or other funding sources. The project used $234,000 in Federal TE funds and $110,000 in local match funds. The total of $343,000 built benches, art, decorative sidewalks, and bus shelters.
A truly collaborative museum, ARTwalk does not own any of the right of way in which it functions so it must consult with city, county, and state officials in order to follow regulations. The museum believes the art should appeal to a broad range of people since it is in the right of way. When art pieces are planned, open calls for art are advertised in the community and a jury selects and commissions the work to be made. Another example of the collaborative nature of ARTwalk is the Light pole Artistic Mosaic Project (LAMP). The goal of this project was to decorate light poles along University Ave. with mosaic tiles which any member of the community could help place.
The success of ARTwalk was clear through the economic revitalization of the surrounding arts district. The project was so successful that an extension is now under construction. Construction of the ARTwalk extension began in the summer of 2011 and will be completed in summer of 2012 using $3.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The extension will include decorative sidewalks, art in the sidewalks, interactive plazas with private art, and many more amenities.