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Five Arts Groups Receive $100,000 for Collaborative Projects

Farash Foundation news release

The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation has awarded $100,000 each to five Rochester-area arts organizations for projects that require multiple partners and activities—and that promise intriguing results.

The Foundation’s request for proposal was called Cultural Creative Collision. “Creative collision” is a term of art in the entrepreneurial world describing the innovation that can result when different perspectives, talents, and abilities come together.

“True to form, our local arts organizations have been extraordinarily creative in finding a variety of collaborators to achieve their artistic ends,” Theresa Mazzullo, Foundation trustee and chair of the Grants Committee. “The winning proposals will create great partnerships and wonderfully original projects.”

The five organizations and their projects are:

Geva Theatre: “Journey to the Son” will bring together musicians, writers, artists, and the area’s regional theater company to celebrate famed blues musician Eddie “Son” House, one of Rochester’s own. The project will include a four-day celebration of Son House with the development of a film; a play; a multi-media work weaving together stories, music, theater, film, audio recordings, storytelling; and a lecture series. Partners will include University of Rochester faculty member Daniel Beaumont, author of the leading biography of Son House; Bruce and Armand Schaubroeck, owners of the House of Guitars; Eastman School faculty member Bob Sneider; WXXI; blues artist Joe Beard; Dick Waterman, Son’s former manager; and other local writers.

Rochester Oratorio Society: Recognizing the need to mesh classical music with the new digital age, the society is sponsoring the Interactive Classical Visions Project (ICVP) by Sound ExChange, an experimental music lab originating at the Eastman School of Music. Eight concerts (four at educational institutions and four at other public venues) will encourage audience involvement using mobile devices, social networks, and immersive technology to enhance the concert experience. Additional content related to the concerts will be available online. The Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will be involved in the performances, and RIT faculty, Microsoft Studios, and local schools will also participate.

Baobab Cultural Center: Baobab will partner with seven organizations, four artists, and RIT’s Office for Diversity & Inclusion to bring together visual, folk, music, dance and performance artists to study, create and demonstrate African masks and ceremonial attire that will convey the history, meanings, and rituals behind masks representative of the African Diaspora. Activities will include a mask-making workshop; mask-making clubs; a lecture and film series; a masquerade ball; and an exhibit of photographs and costumes.

Garth Fagan Dance Company: An initiative in collaboration with conductor Arild Reimmereit, the YMCA of Greater Rochester, and the Rochester Police Department will provide 30 local at-risk teens with an intensive, innovative introduction to dance culminating in a series of free public performances. The program will include after-school classes in contemporary dance, specialized workshops in topics ranging from bullying and street safety to nutrition and the role of music and the visual arts in dance; field trips for students and parents to local cultural institutions; development of an original work to be performed by the students with choreography by William Ferguson, director of the dance school’s student ensemble, and a score by Reimmereit; free performances of the work; and, for interested students, admission to Garth Fagan Dance’s Summer Movement Institute.

Friends of Ganondagan: This project will provide the first contemporary interpretation of the ancient Iroquois Creation Story of Haudenosaunee peoples (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy) melding the differing perspectives, talents, and abilities of traditional Native dancers, modern dancers, filmmakers, animators, and traditional Iroquois and contemporary musicians. A 12-minute film, using a combination of dance and animation, will mark the first time the creation story has been recorded and artistically interpreted and made available to the general public. Partners include Ganondagan State Historic Site, Friends of Ganondagan, Native American dancers, singers and drummers, Native American cultural specialists, Seneca language specialists, Garth Fagan Dance, and RIT School of Film and Animation.

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Residents of Rochester for virtually all of their lives, Max and Marian Farash cared deeply about their community. In 1988, they established the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation (www.farashfoundation.org), which makes grants to nonprofit organizations in Monroe and Ontario Counties, half of them for Jewish projects and programs.

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