ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, a community arts, music, and theater center on Joseph Avenue, celebrated $190,000 in funding on Monday. The center first opened in 2018.

The theater says these funds were a combination of grants and donations, and plan to use the money for building improvements and hiring new staff. Avenue Blackbox says the largest portion of the funding came from a $100,000 grant from State Senator Samra Brouk’s office.

“At this point, we’re at a point where to sustain this impact we really really need to focus on creating jobs and opportunity here in this space and in this neighborhood,” said Reenah Golden, Founder and Artistic Director of the theater.

Monday’s celebration also included a performance by Genesis Arrindell, the theater’s Project Teen Fellow, accompanied by local keyboardist Ariana Highsmith.

The Avenue Blackbox Theater plans to include key leadership positions when hiring new employees, including a former teen fellow who was hired full-time as a new receptionist, Alecia Scott.