ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Flower Center Arts Center is starting their spring fundraiser campaign to raise the money needed to give students access to the art world.
Flower City Arts Center has been in the Rochester community for over 50 years. The center helps hundreds of local students every year learn different art forms, meet mentors, and get scholarships to continue their dreams.
“I’ve been able to practice more and get better at something that I was already okay at, and then I’ve learned new things as well,” said Gabrielle Heavey, Senior in High School.
On top of the adult classes, the center offers multiple youth programs for middle and high school students such as the Studio 678 Photography & Writing Program which has served over 400 students.
The goal is to connect young artists with mentors, work on their portfolios, and help them get scholarships so they can enter the art world.
“I was able to get scholarships because of this place, because I was able to work on my portfolio pieces here,” said Rafael DeGuzman, Senior in high school.
Due to the pandemic, the center has had to suspend classes for most of last year. They are starting a spring appeal campaign for the youth arts fund. Leaders hope to raise $20,000 to put towards programming and buying new equipment for the digital art studio.
“With COVID we haven’t been able to run a lot of our regular fundraising programs. So you know earning money now is really crucial because most of our programming is free or low cost to students,” said Elizabeth Webster, youth program coordinator.
Flower City Arts also has free programs aimed specifically for students of color through their Expanding the Field grant opportunity, in an effort to get more artists of color into the art field.
Leaders say by focusing on developing young artists they can shape the culture around art and grow the art community.
“Invest into the youth grow your community garden so that young artists have the opportunity to blossom and grow, to be there best self and succeed and make this world a more beautiful place,” said Rashaad Parker, Community outreach coordinator.
Flower city arts center is always accepting donations but their fundraise for the youth art funds goes from now until the beginning summer.