City to hire artists for engagement team 

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As the City of Rochester and Monroe County work to increase funding for the arts, they’re also considering ways to make sure more people know funding opportunities and other resources are available.

City hall kicked off the new year with a call for artists to serve on an Artist Engagement Team that will help the city and county spread the word about upcoming funding and other initiatives.

Artists from all creative disciplines — visual, performing, and literary arts — who have experience in community engagement and reside or have a studio or office in the city limits are invited to apply. Specifically, the city wants artists from underrepresented and underserved communities for the team.

“Those facing challenges in accessing community arts participation opportunities can help us remove those barriers,” said Mayor Malik Evans in a provided statement.

The team will help the city be proactive in identifying real barriers that people face in accessing arts resources available to residents.

Historically, local governments have been criticized not only for scant fiscal support for the arts, but also for the opaque application process that left out many smaller arts organizations and individual artists who didn’t know about the opportunities, when they were coming up, or how to apply.

The Artist Engagement Team will help develop community outreach strategies as the city, in collaboration with the county, pushes forward the arts portion of its Rochester 2034 Comprehensive Plan. Up to four artists will be hired and paid from the city’s Percent for the Arts program and a $20,000 grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Together, the selected artists will help develop an outreach plan and carry out strategies to reach underserved artists. They’ll also be tasked with tracking participating in engagement tactics, documenting feedback, and attending regular meetings.

County Executive Adam Bello’s statement on the matter echoes the oft-repeated appeal of artists and leaders of small arts orgs to be credited for their role in shaping the region's arts identity.

“As we build our Arts and Culture Plan, it is imperative that we engage the very artists whose work allows us to brand ourselves a community of the arts,” he said.

Artists can apply through midnight on Feb. 4 at cityofrochester.gov/arts. A virtual information session will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 8 via Zoom.

Rebecca Rafferty is an arts writer for CITY. She can be reached at [email protected].
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