University of Rochester

EVENT: ArtAwake 2009 Reenergizes Rochester's Empty Spaces

April 7, 2009

University of Rochester Students Organize Music and Art Festival

In 2008, ArtAwake attracted more than 1,500 people to Station 55, earning praise from an international collegiate association as the Student-Driven Program of the Year. On Friday, April 17, 2009 from 5:00 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., vibrant music and eclectic art once again will fill a currently unused building, transforming the industrial space of Pixley Warehouse into the energetic festival that is ArtAwake.

The concept originated when University of Rochester student Carlin Gettliffe '09 saw that many students, absorbed in school work and campus activities, were missing out on all the city had to offer. His solution: ArtAwake, an art and music festival that would present an opportunity for interaction with the Rochester community.

Event organizers found the perfect recipe to bring community members and students together. "Art and music contain a potential energy that when harnessed properly, spark a sense of community," said Gettliffe. Building off the success of last year's inaugural event, Art Awake 2009 will feature an even larger display of art and increased range of musical performances. "You'll see about 200-300 pieces of local art including paintings, sculptures, and performance art," explained Zach Kozick '09, the event's art director. "We've also been exploring a few proposals for some intriguing installation projects."

The group has had some growing pains while moving into a larger space, but for them, it's half the fun. "Part of ArtAwake is using a space that people decided wasn't currently worth using," said Gettliffe of the location. "The original design of the building was not meant for art and music, but the aesthetic of a partly run-down, empty space makes for a really interesting setting."

In addition to creating a successful event, the organizers had another goal for ArtAwake; they wanted to involve as many students as possible in the planning. Founded by the Urban Exploring Club, this year more than 25 students are participating in ArtAwake's planning and 17 student organizations are cosponsoring the event. "We're showing that a project that includes many student groups can be successful; and we're setting a trend for future events to share that same collaborative spirit," said Kozick.

The Pixley Warehouse, which is currently on the market for sale or lease by CB Richard Ellis, is located at 4 Pixley Industrial Parkway in Gates, just 10 minutes west of Rochester. Advance tickets for Art Awake 2009 are $4 for University of Rochester students and $6 for the general public and can be purchased at the University's Common Market, the Memorial Art Gallery, Lakeshore Record Exchange, and Aaron's Alley. At the door, tickets are $6 for University of Rochester students, and $8 for the general public. For more information on ArtAwake, visit or email