Arts Initiatives and Public Art

ALERT! The City is holding a Pre-Proposal Conference to answer questions about the public art administration RFPs! Click here>> to register. 

The City is seeking proposals from qualified organizations to administer a public art installations program. For more information, click here>>.

The City is also seeking proposals from qualified organizations to administer a public murals program. For more information, click here>>

  Frederick Douglass


Rochester is home to a robust arts and culture community and a blossoming network of creative professionals in the local economy. Rochester’s historic roots established a legacy of large arts and cultural institutions. Today, the arts have grown into a multitude of small arts organizations and individual artists. Whether visiting one of the City’s museums, viewing new work at artist studios such as the Hungerford, taking a dance class or simply walking past a mural, the arts instill a sense of place, connect diverse residents and provide a retreat in Rochester.

Rochester has demonstrated a commitment to strengthening arts and culture. Since the beginning of 2016*, the City has funded over $2.6M of public art and arts education using City operating funds, City cash allocations, CDBG and other grant funding, and Library-specific funding. An additional $2M of City funding has supported special events, including many annual festivals, since 2017.

With this strong framework, Rochester has an opportunity to further grow and strengthen the arts. While the Neighborhood of the Arts and Downtown are centers of arts and culture, residents want to see a diversity of arts and cultural amenities in their neighborhoods throughout the City. Artists and small arts organizations are similarly calling for more equitable distribution of public art funding, including for often underrepresented artists and organizations. Artists and small arts organizations are also grappling with the recent dissolution of the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, which previously provided centralized advocacy and support for the creative sector.

The City of Rochester has started to work collaboratively with local artists to advance the community’s desire for a more dynamic city of the arts and for the arts, one in which the arts are accessible to all Rochesterians regardless of where someone lives or their ability, and where there is committed support for small organizations and individual artists representing the diversity of Rochester.

The City Arts Team (CAT) and the Arts and Creative Community Committee (AC3) were created in April 2021 to move this vision forward. 

The CAT is an interdepartmental committee established to advance various arts-related initiatives for the City.  CAT members are City staff that have experience and ongoing involvement in the selection, installation and maintenance of public art.  Members include staff from the Office of Management and Budget, Law Department, Department of Recreation and Human Services, Department of Environmental Services, Office of Special Events, and the Office of City Planning (lead staff).  The team's primary responsibilities are to:

  • Formalize and implement the Percent for the Arts program.   
  • Develop an Arts and Culture Plan to identify the vision, goals and action plan to further support and grow the creative community.
  • Establish the structure and mission of a City Arts Commission.

The AC3 is a group of stakeholders that represents various artists, genres, venues, and institutions within this critical sector of the Rochester community.  This committee serves as an advisory panel, with the goal of giving feedback and lending their expertise on the projects that are the CAT’s primary responsibilities.  The AC3 also serves as a strong partner in advancing various initiatives through outreach, advocacy, research, and forging connections with other partners.  The Office of City Planning facilitates the overall AC3 process and coordinates with committee co-chairs and the CAT.  

* As of June 2022, to be updated annually.

AC3 Members:

Recordings of Meetings

Click Recordings of Meetings to see all

Arts and Creative Community Committee

Creative Community Empowerment Plan Subcommittee

Arts Investment Guidance Subcommittee

Meeting Materials


  • Arts in the Loop – an initiative started by the Eastman School of Music and a strong partner of the AC3.
  • Meet on Main  – an Arts in the Loop study of arts funding and organizational models in five other cities.
  • Arts + Culture Section of Rochester 2034

Examples of arts and cultural plans from other jurisdictions:



See the top of this page for exciting news about funding for the public arts! Stay tuned for additional updates. 

Complete Streets



For more information, please contact Kevin Kelley, Manager of City Planning, at