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Let's get building: 16 installations chosen for September's prototyping festival

Let's get building: 16 installations chosen for September's prototyping festival

Selections for the first-ever PlaceMakers | Rochester Prototyping Festival were announced Thursday. The 16 groups will each receive up to $2,000 to bring their prototypes to life at this September's event in downtown Rochester.

Below is the list of  accepted proposals (in no specific order):


Rocker Talker (People’s Choice Award Winner)

Rocker Talker (featured in the photo above) is an installation to get people to stop, sit back and relax. Unlike a traditional rocking chair, this installation allows large groups to rock on the same platform. Whether a group of friends, family members or complete strangers, Rocker Talker is sure to be a conversation starter in Rochester. 

Artscaping the Bikeway

A bikeway with an art decorated 5 foot one way bike lane and a 3 foot buffer to separate the roadway will be installed. Nice Ride bikes will be on hand to allow all users to experience the protected bikeway. Informational signs will be posted to explain the project and how it could be relevant to other areas of the community. 

Creative Crosswalks

Creative Crosswalks is intending to pilot a “Creative Crosswalk” across 1st Avenue to help bring art to a barren space and emphasize safe crosswalk space for one of the most heavily used pedestrian areas in downtown Rochester. An artist will develop a design that fits within the historic downtown area and neighbors from the 45 neighborhood associations in Rochester will be invited to help fill in the outlined crosswalk. 

Sit next to me, Sue!

Sit next to me, Sue explores the potential of public seating to become a more active and adaptable element of our ever-changing urban landscapes.  Wheeled stools strung along a line promote both privacy and comradery by providing a variety of seating arrangements for the individual, couple or small group. Lighting is installed on each seat to encourage evening and nighttime use. 

Rendering: Sit next to me, Sue!

Kids on the Block

Kids on the Block is a prototype of an urban park based on the themes of food, art and play which spotlights nature as a dominant feature of what makes a livable city. Transportable planters will be painted and decorated by children and used to grow food. Repurposed museum exhibit pieces will encourage children to build their own play area. Programming reflecting on Rochester’s diversity will also play a role in this prototype. 

Multilingual Pedestrian Signage

Multilingual Pedestrian Signage will serve as a wayfinding measure that stimulates connectivity between the DMC sub- districts while perceptibly promoting diversity and inclusion. The signage will increase walkability by serving as a sustainable marker featuring distance data and navigation points between the subdistricts. Target language will be specific to each subdistrict. 


Inner Ear ECHO

Inner Ear ECHO is a functional piece of public installation art that will draw individuals into new relationships with others, creating curiosity and wonder as it receives voices, translates works and amplifies our common humanity.  A person speaks one of several predefined words and phrases into the “ear” and listens as they are translated into other languages common to Rochester and the region. 

Bike Corral

Instead of hiding bike parking off the street, bike corral promotes cycling by making bike commuting a reclamation statement.  The corral is an attractive bike parking, that shows just how many bikes can fit into one or two parking spaces.

Chime In

This series of pipes or ‘chimes’ will play different notes when hit.  The chimes will each be painted a different color – making the color of the rainbow.  The chimes will be places far enough apart, where it takes more than one person to play a song.  This will encourage collaboration and interaction.

Rendering: Chime In

The Town Cube

The Town Cube will use a set of small boxes to project onto.  Together the projections (pixels) will show statistics, facts, questions directed at community members, or slogans meant to inspire civic pride and commitment to social justice and inclusion in our community.  The boxes will rotate so these projections will be continually changing.

Destination Inner Peace

Destination Inner Peace will integrate elements of the natural and built environment to facilitate access to space to connect with oneself and practice healthy coping mechanisms to reduce stress and improve mental health. Destination Inner Peace will create a calming space with a labyrinth, sand tracing area, water feature and expression wall.  

Light Rail

Affixed beneath one of Rochester’s skyways, the Light Rail will reflect the changing health of the city as the installation’s colors transition to signify health events happeniong within the walls of the city’s health care institutions.  A childbirth. A successful heart transplant. A final radiation treatment. At Place Makers, rails of light will blur the lines between art and collective experience. 

Info Alley

Info Alley will use the overhang next to the 3rd Street Ramp to share 4-live feeds which includes a variety of information from event listings, aggregated video, and interactive social media feeds. These feeds will be projected on the concrete overhang. It will provide the public information on what is happening in the Rochester community.

Rendering: Info Alley

Living Wall

Living Wall is to create a mock up green wall that will function as a tool to help people visualize some of the problems and unique solutions that face urban design today. It also is typically linked very closely to storm water management. The intention of the project is to kick-start new ideas for storm water and energy management for downtown Rochester.

Recharging Wastewater

Recharging Waste water will showcase a simple, yet effective way to recharge wastewater using readily available materials (rocks, sand, greenery, fabric, and a fish tank).  It will engage Middle School Earth Science students in teaching about water treatments and also prototyping.  


SWAMP brings technology to storm water management to optimize reuse and visualize the health of the system.  The storm water will be used to irrigate plants and also to demonstrate a contamination removal system.  Technology will be used during a variety of steps of this process and project focus.  Education about storm water management will be highlighted.


The 16 selections were chosen by a panel of community leaders out of a pool of 23 submissions. The event originally called for 12 installations but organizers were able to increase the number of accepted proposals because not all needed the full $2,000 stipend.

Those involved with submissions that were not accepted are encouraged to join a chosen team or consider volunteering in another way. There will be a special opportunity to connect with the prototyping teams at Pitch Night on Tuesday, July 19 from 7-9 p.m. at the Rochester Art Center.

The theme of this year's prototyping festival is "Health and the Built Environment." The installations will be on public display along Historic Third Street from September 15-17.

The event is being held in partnership between the Rochester Downtown Alliance, Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency, Rochester Art Center and the City of Rochester.

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(Cover graphic: Rocker Talker)

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