ArtAwake was founded by a group of student volunteers in the Urban Exploring Club at the University of Rochester in 2008. It stands out as an innovative collaboration between college students and the community, honored in 2009 as the ‘Student Driven Program of the Year’ by the Association of College Unions International. Over the years, ArtAwake has garnered significant press throughout the Rochester area and was recently a final four contender for City Magazine’s ‘Best of Rochester’ award. To learn more about ArtAwake’s history, please visit the following pages:
The first annual event took place on Friday, March 28th, 2008 in Station 55, a historic building located on 55 Railroad St. near the Public Market. It boasted 200 pieces of art by 80 local artists along with performances by 15 music groups, and was sponsored by 14 organizations at the University of Rochester along with Java’s Cafe, the House of Guitars, ArtTech, and Rochester Contemporary Art Center. It was a huge success, and over 1,500 individuals attended ArtAwake 2008 from throughout the college and the community.
An empty warehouse standing on 4 Pixley Ave. in Gates, NY burst to life on April 17th, 2009 with over 2,000 attendees. Bands rocked out on a massive stage, installations and interactive exhibits filled an array of rooms, and rows of handmade gallery walls filled the main gallery room with local artwork. Guests marveled at the ArtTech exhibit’s innovative use of technology, watched live african dance and percussion, and enjoyed delicious food and drink served by a selection of excellent local establishments.
The former First National Bank on 35 State St. was transformed by the work of over 20 sponsors on April 10th, 2010. Jazz, classical, hip-hop, rock, folk, and reggae echoed through the halls of the former bank from 3 stages, while attendees explored a maze of interactive exhibits – from painting live models to recording their own music. Attendance was split evenly between students and community, and the festival was so well attended that it reached maximum capacity from 7:00pm until midnight.
The 4th Annual ArtAwake was held in the heart of downtown in the Alliance Building on 183 E. Main St on April 16th, 2011. While most of the building is utilized for various offices and shops, the former bank space that occupies the second and third floors has been vacant for decades. The space features a large central room surrounded by a myriad of small and mid-sized rooms that was perfect for a diverse collection of over 150 2D, 3D, and performance art works. ArtAwake 2011 also featured music by 22 different performance groups on two main stages and a cafe area.
To commemorate its 5th anniversary, ArtAwake will return to its roots on Railroad Street, turning an unused portion of the Rohrbach Brewing Co. into a vibrant art and music venue. ArtAwake 2012 featured performances by 20 area musicians and displayed 120 works of art.