I’ve never been quite sure where – or what – the neighborhood of the arts is, but the area loosely defined by Atlantic and Anderson Avenues has always been one of my favorite parts of Rochester.
In the comfortable mish-mash of residential, industrial, and commercial development I have found a lot that interests my eye (and mind). There are billboards and weeds, smokestacks and factories. Some of the city’s most important cultural institutions and cafes are found just few blocks from train yards, tilting houses, and crumbling wasteland. There’s something both dynamic and arresting in its endless array of odd juxtapositions, pleasing geometries, unexpected oppositions, and the fine balance between down-and-out and up-and-coming.
For some reason I’m especially intrigued that a place like the Barrel of Dolls is right across the street from the New York Figure Study Guild – one of the region’s more vital art centers, where the human body is studied attentively but (one assumes) with such different intention. Yet both are there, at the margins and off the beaten path for different reasons.
Here is an enlarged detail from the second painting shown above:
Here's the view from the 3rd floor of Kate's house. The back of the flatiron building is my favorite wall in all of Rochester: