Southeast Quadrant - Neighborhood of The Arts
Perhaps more than any other Rochester neighborhood, The Neighborhood of the Arts (NOTA) projects a very notable metropolitan vibe. The dense diversity of art and culture includes a long list of attractions:
Nearby in the adjoining PACE neighborhood, The University of Rochester Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) adds to the list.
Within its boundaries, 15 city blocks long and three blocks wide, turn-of-the century single-family homes are neighbors to restaurants, cafes and a cupcake shop, gift shops, and dance and artists studios. NOTA neighborhood boundaries reach north to the CSX Railroad lines, south to East Avenue, west to the Inner Loop and east to Culver Road (East Avenue to Atlantic Avenue).
In the mid 1990s, an engaged community aided the neighborhood’s transformation - The Neighborhood of the Arts Neighborhood Association (NOTA), its business association and local activists worked together and made NOTA a Rochester destination.
A partnership of local, state and federal entities created the outdoor ArtWalk in the early 2000s. A re-design of the neighborhood's main thoroughfare - adding pedestrian islands and narrowing the roadway - invited visitors to stop and enjoy the artworks. In July 2010, a National Endowment of the Arts award of $250,000 was used towards ARTWalk’s second phase, the $9 million expansion of the outdoor museum. “A Poet’s Walk” will identify “historically significant poets with local ties. The “Centennial Sculpture Park” on the MAG grounds will include “Story Walk,” with multimedia art additions.
NOTA area architecture also draws visitors. On a triangular parcel of land at Atlantic and University Avenues, a private owner rejuvenated a run-down Flatiron building, built between 1888-1890. It now houses luxury apartments, a café, restaurant, antique shops and other small businesses. On East Boulevard, a prairie-style Frank Lloyd Wright house, the E.E. Boynton House, still charms.
George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film is located in NOTA. Originally the home of the Kodak founder from 1905-1932, the Colonial Revival mansion and its gardens welcome visitors. A museum opened in 1949 and expanded in 1989 now houses an Archive and Study Center and the 535-seat Dryden Theatre.
Several blocks away on North Goodman Street, Village Gate Square, an old factory turned mall, is filled with small, independent shops and restaurants. Among them are the Bop Shop Record Store, an African-American gift and bookstore, Mood Makers Books, Wosa’s Braids and Nails, vintage clothing Ricky’s Place and Yankee Peddler Book Shop. Behind Village Gate, a “Legal Wall” invites graffiti artists to tag the wall.
Writers and Books on University Avenue, marked by a giant-sized pencil sculpture in front, offers classes and workshops for writers of all ages in an old restored Police Precinct building.
Cobblestone, an alternative private Pre-K through 8th grade school founded in 1983, allows students to use the living classroom beyond its campus including the Visual Studies Workshop, lodged in former University of Rochester buildings.
The list of cultural landmarks continues to grow with the arrival of the very eclectic Multi-Use Cultural and Community Center, housed in a renovated 1888 wooden mission-style church on Atlantic Avenue.
NOTA also contains the world's largest gear-making machine manufacturer, Gleason Works, that employed a woman pioneer in the field of engineering. Founder William Gleason, an Irish immigrant, started the company in the mid 1880s. When his eldest son died, he invited Catherine Anselm “Kate” Gleason to join him. She went on to study engineering at Cornell and Mechanics Institute (now RIT), founded her own company, the Ingle Machining Company in 1913, and in 1914, became the first woman to be elected to full membership in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
Along with its every day attractions, annual events bring thousands more to the NOTA. Anderson Alley Artists on North Goodman Avenue opens their studios to the public on the second Saturday of the month. In autumn, the ArtWalk Alive street festival enlivens University Avenue with dance, music and theater performances for all.
If you would like additional information on this neighborhood, please contact the Southeast Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center:
320 N Goodman St - Suite 209
Rochester, New York 14607