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Every day there are exciting things going on in Rochester's cultural arts community. Classical 91.5 hosts collaborate with and create highlights of various arts organizations, musicians and artists in and around our community.

Memorial Art Gallery, Strong, RMSC, Eastman Museum join list of arts closings

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Four of Rochester’s biggest museums -- the Memorial Art Gallery, The Strong the Rochester Museum & Science Center and George Eastman Museum-- announced Friday afternoon that they will join the exploding number of closings driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Strong announced that it will be closed as of 8 p.m. Friday, with plans to re-open on April 13. RMSC closed its doors to the public at 5 p.m. Friday, with plans to stay closed through March 27.

Zoo closed, too

The Seneca Park Zoo also is closed as a

"precautionary action to protect the health

and safety" of guests, volunteers, and staff. 

A statement from the zoo said, "No guests

or volunteers will be admitted and all programs

and events are canceled through March 31.

At that time, Monroe County will reevaluate this

decision. While the Zoo is closed, Animal Care

staff will remain on the job and continue

to provide excellent care to the animals."

MAG Director Jonathan Binstock said the decision to close the MAG as of 5 p.m. Friday was based on conversations with other arts organizations, as well as guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Monroe County and New York state departments of public health.

No date has been set for the reopening of the museum at 500 University Ave. There will be updates at mag.rochester.edu/events/covid-19/. The George Eastman Museum also did not set a date for reopening.

The reactions by local arts institutions to the coronavirus have been on a case-by-case basis. 

Geva Theatre Center announced on Friday that the remaining public performances of its two current shows, “Once” and “Cry It Out,” are canceled. But if the unions representing actors, directors, and set designers agree, Geva will tape performances, without an audience, for digital showings.

The University of Rochester on Monday called off all athletic and public events at any of its facilities through April 15 that would be expected to draw more than 100 people. The Hochstein School has canceled all concerts and meetings that might draw more than 50 people, but the music school remains open for small groups and individual lessons.

The uncertainty of the situation is reflected in the large number of postponements. On Tuesday, the Rochester Music Hall of Fame postponed its April 26 induction concert at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre, but left the door open for the show to go on in September or October.

“Our demographic is the population that is most vulnerable to this thing,” Hall President Jack Whittier said of the older audience that generally attends the concert.

Jeff Spevak is WXXI’s Arts & Life editor and reporter. He can be reached at jspevak@wxxi.org.

Copyright 2020 WXXI News

Jeff Spevak has been a Rochester arts reporter for nearly three decades, with seven first-place finishes in the Associated Press New York State Features Writing Awards while working for the Democrat and Chronicle. He has also been published in Musician and High Times magazines, contributed to WXXI, City newspaper and Post magazine, and occasionally performs spoken-word pieces around town. Some of his haikus written during the Rochester jazz festival were self-published in a book of sketches done by Scott Regan, the host of WRUR’s Open Tunings show. Spevak founded an award-winning barbecue team, The Smokin’ Dopes, and believes Bigfoot is real. His book on the life of a Lake Ontario sailor who survived the sinking of his ship during World War II will be published in April of 2019 by Lyons Press.