ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Looking for something to do around town? As part of First Friday, about a dozen art exhibits, receptions, and events will be open and entirely free to the public Friday afternoon through the evening.

Get your photograph taken, make miniature letterpress photos, and see a bunch of beautiful works from local creatives.

First Fridays are a popular concept around the country, usually with a focus on arts and culture. The Rochester iteration was initiated and is currently run by the Rochester Contemporary Arts Center, a not-for-profit venue dedicated to contemporary art.

At the time of writing, July’s First Friday will have fourteen events to choose from, all of which are free and open to the public. The events below are listed based on start time. For more information on any of these events, go to FirstFridayRochester.org.

Be sure to check the address, as many of these exhibits are near one another.


Nature in the City at Rochester Public Market

(280 N Union Street, 2:00 pm to 10:00 p.m.) Nature in the City is a one-day art and music expo meant to serve as a bridge from creators to clients. The event will feature various local artists, businesses, and musicians, as well as various nature-focused and environmental justice organizations.

A featured guest is Flower City Arts Center, who will be at booth #71 with a variety of environmentally-focused arts and crafts for all ages.

Another featured guest is saPsaJ.Glass, who will be selling a variety of glass art including ornaments, figurines, sculptures, and collaborative necklaces with Flora Jardain.

Nature in the City was originally organized by artists in July 2021 and drew over 45 artists and 500 attendees. It’s coming back for a second year as an official Public Market event, hosted in tandem with First Friday.

First Friday Reception for Lodder and Zhong

(4 North Main Street, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) This reception celebrates the work of pastel painter Gabriele Lodder and watercolor painter Yong Hong Zhong. The two both specialize in landscape paintings, and their work is available throughout July at Pittsford Fine Art. Lodder will be available starting at 5 p.m., and Zhong at 6 p.m., with a watercolor demonstration from Zhong at 6:30 p.m.

Dirisha Kwa Roho: Window to the Soul

(140 East Main Street, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) From 1- 5 p.m., take a look in the windows of the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and see the existing artwork. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., have a chance to meet the artists in a live art exhibit. In the written words of the organizers: “Dream in Color While you are Awake! Watch art built on the pillars of Knowledge, Equality and Justice!!!”

Tree Portraits by jm-ART

(349 West Commercial Street Ste 2700, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) See various paintings by Jodie Marie Anne Richardson Traugott depicting trees, trees, and more trees. Hear about the exhibit from the artist herself:

“I feel that trees are as individual as faces, portraits of people or trees will give you such variety and character! I know you have seen some funny trees; very sad-looking trees and some that you can’t believe are still surviving! They all seem to fight for life just as every human does. They reach for what they need: sunshine, water, earth. Their branches may be heavy with leaves, flowers, or fruit, but they all give us something, shade if nothing else! Poets write about them, photographers glory in them, and animals and birds make their homes in and on them. I paint them all the time! I hope you will look closely at a tree soon. They need to be appreciated and cared for, just like people. And they are all unique and yet, essentially the same – just like people!!”

Black and White Invitational at Image City Photo Gallery

(722 University Avenue, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Seven black and white photography artists will be displaying their works in the latest show at Image City Photo Gallery. The artists are Clay Arnold, Lori Bonati, Steve Dent, Tim Fuss, Andrea Gluckman, Julia Rabkin, and Anthony Ryan, all of whom have varied techniques and styles. The evening features an exhibition running from June 14 to July 10. It is always free.

6x6x2022 and Scavenger Hunt Winners Announced

(137 East Avenue, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) See nearly 5,000 artworks all created on six-inch by six-inch canvases from around the world. Purchase your favorites for $20 each, and help Rochester Contemporary Arts Center make their fundraising goal of 2,000 pieces sold. At 7 p.m., the winner of the 6x6x2022 Scavenger Hunt will be announced. Attendees who arrive before 7 p.m. are able to participate in the scavenger hunt.

Gnarley Brown and Levvels – Art at Eye Level

(127 East Avenue, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Head to local barber Frank’s Chop Shop to see a collaborative photography exhibit titled Art at Eye Level. Rochestarians Gnarley Brown (Shamar Brown) and Levvels (Rafael Rodriguez) hope to capture the artists, energy, and experiences of their hometown’s vibrant, present art scene. The works pay homage to Rochester’s history while documenting its present. The exhibit will also be available during business hours during the month of July.

The Main Street Artists’ Gallery & Studio

(1115 East Main Street 3452-458, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) See the work of 13 different artists on display at this studio. Most works will be available for purchase, with 100% of the proceeds going to World Kitchen / Ukraine. Masks are appreciated at this event.

Summer Time Experience at Anderson Alley Artists

(250 North Goodman Street, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Come to an old shoe factory turned into a community workspace for local artists, and see a wide variety of painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, glass & more.

A featured exhibit includes paintings and sketches in Knowing When, Knowing Where from Jason Smith. Smith has been a collegiate arts educator since 1998 who primarily works through paintings, drawings, and collages. In addition to First Friday, his exhibit is available by appointment only through July 8.

Clarissa Uprooted: Unearthing Stories of Our Village at RIT City Art Space

(280 East Main Street, 1st Floor, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) This event is located at RIT’s only off-campus downtown venue for community engagement through art.

This exhibit looks at Rochester’s Clarissa Street. Currently, a small street located in the Corn Hill district, Clarissa Street was once the center of a vibrant and prominent African American neighborhood. The street saw a strong commercial district, internationally renounced jazz musicians in its bars, and a tight-knit community.

JB Photography X Locals Only

(311 Alexander Street, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Head to beloved brunch spot Locals Only to see the work of photographer Ve.Jay Broyld Sr.

Broyld will be displaying a gallery of images showing Rochester from all different angles. Cocktails will be available, and guests are welcome to have their photos taken by VJB photography. A digital download of the photo will be available upon request.


First Friday encourages collaboration between the non-profit, university, and commercial art venues in Rochester, NY. Events are limited to the visual and performing arts.

To get involved with First Fridays, participants must agree to attend most first Fridays, promote the First Friday logo on their website, and pay a $100 annual fee.