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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Art on the Ave paints a picture of Slatterly Park Neighborhood's rebirth

Art on the Ave paints a picture of Slatterly Park Neighborhood's rebirth

Over the past decade, Art on the Ave has blossomed into one of Rochester's most anticipated street festivals of the year.

On Saturday, art enthusiasts from every pocket of the city will pour into the Slatterly Park Neighborhood for a day of local art, music and food. The family (and pet) friendly event, which is completely volunteer-driven, will feature more than 50 vendors — from woodworking and pottery to jewelry and stained glass. There will also be live music — five musicians in all this year —  plus activities like live poetry, dancing and face painting. 

“The artist community really believes in what we are doing, from a grassroots level," said organizer Wayne Flock.

One of the signature components of the event is the unveiling of a new sculpture in the neighborhood. In total, 14 sculptures have been installed throughout the streets of Slatterly since the inception of Art on the Ave. 

This weekend, a new piece of art will be unveiled in the 1100 block of 9 1/2 Avenue Southeast, where Art in the Ave is taking place this year.

“It’s surprising how many artists and musicians you have within this city — and this neighborhood — that you were never aware of until you become apart of an event like this," said volunteer Janelle Wozniak.

'An artsy neighborhood'

For many of those who call Slatterly Park home, the annual event is an opportunity to highlight not only the local arts — but also what the neighborhood has to offer.

“[Art on the Ave] has brought such positive recognition to our neighborhood, and that we are viewed as kind of an artsy neighborhood and just a fun neighborhood to live in," said Barb Schafer, a Slatterly Park resident who has been involved with the event since the start.

Added Carol Keegan, another longtime organizer, “It has really has been a positive influence on this part of Rochester.”

As one of Rochester's oldest and most diverse neighborhoods, Slatterly Park has gotten a bad rap in recent years. Neighbors we spoke to were quick to admit as much. But they said the narrative is changing. Fueled by rising home ownership and a reputation for community engagement, residents are beginning to breathe new life into the southeast neighborhood.

"A lot of young families are moving in, which is nice," said neighbor Alison McClocklin. "Young families with little kids and big dogs.”

You can learn more about the event on the Art on the Ave Facebook page.

Cover photo: Group of organizers from Art on the Ave

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