Home Is Where the Art Is
The Neighborhood of the Arts
The Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA) is an endearing and exciting mix of residential blocks, beautifully and eclectically renovated mixed-use buildings, world-class museums and cultural institutions, galleries, studios, retail and restaurants, and more. And it's all knit together byARTWalk, an award-winning redesign of the neighborhood's main thoroughfare into a pedestrian-focused, outdoor art trail. ARTWalk prioritizes pedestrians over vehicles and is designed for safety and social interaction.
Anchored by a magnificent flatiron building, NOTA is today one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Rochester, when just fifteen years ago it was one of the most troubled. Despite its stunning success, the neighborhood remains remarkably affordable and diverse, and is a place where people on foot, rather than behind wheels, rule the day!
NOTA is a cultural center of the City of Rochester, the region, and the state. Only 15 city blocks long and a scant three blocks wide, this district packs in more museums, cultural institutions, art schools, galleries, and studios than any other neighborhood in the Rochester metropolitan area.
Such clustering of arts facilities creates a synergistic magic here. Artists, with studios in theAnderson Alley cooperative and Village Gate Square, drop in with residents and tourists to catch the latest exhibits at the nearby Memorial Art Gallery and the world's leading museum of photography and film, the George Eastman House. At Cobblestone, an alternative private Pre-K through 8 school, students regularly walk down the block to classes at the Creative Workshop, exhibits at the Visual Studies Workshop, or performances at the School of the Arts, the excellent public middle and high school for the performing and visual arts. Poets and their grateful resident audiences visit Writers and Books, the city's literary center, and walk together afterwards to nearby cafes for for cappuccino and guitar performances. Musicians and dancers take classes from Kinections Dance & Movement, Bush Mango Drum and Dance, and more. Cultural diversity and understanding is celebrated and sowed at the Baobab Cultural Center; the region's best photographers exhibit and draw crowds of aficionados and neighbors at Image City Photography Gallery at Imagine Square (a former police station now home to a cornucopia of arts and cultural organizations, studios, etc.). A new eclectic cultural center, the Multi-Use Cultural and Community Center (MuCCC), just opened in a 1888 wooden mission-style church building in the neighborhood, that was saved from demolition by the neighborhood association.
In addition to fine arts, the neighborhood boasts a wide range of businesses and light industry. The Gleason Works, housed in a quarter-mile-long historic building along University Avenue, is the world's largest gear-making machine manufacturer, and provides a solid economic and job base for the community as well as active support for the neighborhood association. Craft Company No.6, located in the renovated Victorian era firehouse, is a favorite gift and homewares store for residents and tourists alike.
As a destination spot, NOTA draws thousands each year for its highly successful events. In summer, the Clothesline Festival, Rochester's oldest and largest arts and crafts fair, features more than 600 artists from 23 counties and several states. From fall to spring, the artists of the Anderson Alley invite the public into their studios on the second Saturday of the month. In September ARTWalk Alive street festival takes over University Avenue for music, dance, drama, and every other art form imaginable--this is an event where the audience is the artist too!