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ARTigras displays vitality of the arts

The following is a Rochester Post-Bulletin editorial, which was published on Tuesday. It is reprinted with permission.

In the summer of our economic discontent, the arts are available to nurture our hopes — and never more so than this weekend.

ARTigras, a celebration of performing and fine arts, will be held Saturday [Aug. 22] in downtown Rochester.

Then on Sunday, the classic rock band Kansas will perform at the final Down by the Riverside concert of the summer.

And if that’s not enough, Thursdays on First and Third, with free music on two stages, continues through mid-September.

But let’s focus for now on this weekend.

ARTigras, sponsored by the Rochester Arts Council and given a big boost by Mayor Ardell Brede, offers us an opportunity to understand and appreciate just how vital a role the arts play in our community.

The Musical Strollathon, from the Rochester Area Family Y to the Government Center, will provide mini-concerts along the route while raising funds for local arts organizations. The Artists Village, in Mayo Park, will give local artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. The day winds up with a bluegrass and barbecue festival on the Peace Plaza for which there is an admission charge. There will be live music and local restaurants providing samples of their barbecue.

The Artists Village portion of the day is free, which we think will make it an ideal event for families.

Sunday’s Down by the Riverside finale once again reminds us that this popular series continues to be one of the high points of each year in the region. The varied musical offerings attract a large portion of the community to Mayo Park to visit with neighbors, enjoy a family evening and listen to live music as the summer sun sets. All at a price — free — everyone in the community can afford, thanks to the continued financial support of city government and commercial sponsors.

“When there’s doom and gloom about the economy, it’s nice to be able to go to an event for free or at a low cost,” Brede said.

Thanks to the arts, we think there’ll be little doom and gloom in Rochester this weekend.

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