ArtAwake draws an impressive crowd

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Art Awake, one of Rochester’s favorite festivals as rated by City Magazine, will be back again in April, bigger and better than ever. The annual event turns an abandoned building in Rochester into an art exhibit for a day and incorporates visual art, movement, and music.

The event was founded in 2008 by a group of students in the Urban Exploring group. The original event incorporated over 200 pieces of visual and spacial art and 15 musical performances by local artists.

This year, the team received submissions from over 100 different artists. Art and music juries made up of student volunteers will judge the submissions and make the final selections for the show.

This year’s venue, the Sibley Building near the Liberty Pole downtown, is a space the group has been wanting for many years, but it only recently became available.

“The building itself came under new ownership this fall,” said senior Kory Buresh, co-creative director of the project. “Before, we took this place off the list of places to call because we’ve been unsuccessful in the past. This year, they were more than happy to have us. It has everything. It’s perfect.”

The abandoned department store gives the group plenty of space to hang art and set up stages for musical groups. Students will work on the building for 3 weeks leading up to the show so that the space will fulfill their needs.

The building’s renovations will allow it to accommodate the show. Student volunteers, many of them members of Urban Explorers, do all of the work themselves, building walls, hanging lights, and creating stages.

Another full team of volunteers will run the event. About thirty people will be required the day of, but many more will be needed to help set up beforehand. Anyone is welcome to volunteer and receive a free ticket for 10 hours of service.

This event is not just for students. Only half of the visitors are students with the other half from the Rochester community. Last year, the event hosted around 1,100 people but has hosted over 1,500 people in years past.

“Every single year, the community gets more and more involved, and more and more people know about the event,” co-creative director of the event and senior Samantha Tramontano said.

“The first year we had a lot less artists and only one stage,” she said, “It just gets bigger every year. This is going to be the biggest it’s ever been.”

The event has included some extremely unique projects and works of art in past years.

“We’ve had some weird stuff,” Tramontano explained. Favorite memories included a completely carpeted room that participants could hit with PVC pipes, a Yawn Machine hosted by UR alumni, a rock band of elementary school kids and the Eastman Bassoon Choir.

The event will be held on April 20 from 2 p.m. to midnight. Tickets can be purchased  for $8 in advance or $10 at the door for UR students.

The goal of the event is to continue the process of bringing life back to downtown Rochester.

“This is about the revival of the city,” Tramontano said. “The driving force of the event is to awaken the city of Rochester.”

Sanguinetti is a member of

the class of 2015.

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