WXXI will expand its coverage of the arts in response to the community’s desire to learn more about the artists and cultural organizations that shape Rochester.
“Thanks to support from our donors, we are in a unique position to enhance our existing arts and culture services, and expand arts reporting in our newsroom,” President Norm Silverstein said. “We know that the arts have widespread social impact and we believe we have an important role to bring focus to the arts community.”
A 2015 study from Americans for the Arts found that the nonprofit arts and culture industry is a driving force in a city’s economy — generating revenue, increasing tourism traffic and creating jobs. The study also found that many believe the arts improve the quality of life, and are important to local businesses and the economy.
WXXI’s plan includes the full-time hire of Jeff Spevak, who has been an arts and culture contributor for WXXI News on a freelance basis since 2018. Spevak will serve as the lead reporter on a new arts and life desk, and coordinate the curation of arts coverage across all WXXI platforms. Spevak said the arts are how the community best celebrates the triumphs and address the difficult issues of society.
WXXI will expand “Arts InFocus,” a digital series that examines artists and arts organizations from the Rochester region. This will include 24 new features and four TV specials to air quarterly on WXXI-TV.
WRUR-FM, a broadcast partnership with WXXI and the University of Rochester, will continue to spotlight the local music scenes by bringing artists in the studio to perform and share their music philosophy. Classical 91.5 will expand its “Performance Rochester” initiative, which presents live performances from concert halls in and around Rochester as well as from its studio. Selected recordings will be offered to NPR Music and “Performance Today” for national broadcast opportunities to expand the visibility of Rochester’s music community.