Rochester Fringe Festival awarded $30K

Messenger Post Media
Monroe County Post

Rochester Fringe Festival Inc. recently was approved for a $30,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its 2021 event. 

Rochester Fringe is among 1,073 projects to receive nearly $25 million in funding, as announced by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

“[Rochester Fringe] is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence and resilience during this very challenging year,” said Ann Eilers, NEA acting chairman. 

Although the 2019 Fringe broke previous attendance records with more than 100,000 visitors, the pandemic required Fringe to either pivot to a virtual model or go dark in 2020. The ninth annual festival connected artists and audiences in the safety of their homes. Virtual Fringe offered more than 170 online productions, more than 70 of which were free.

“We are grateful to the festival for not just skipping last year, because we all needed to be reminded that we're still here, still laughing and still living,” said Matt and Heidi Morgan, creators of “Cirque du Fringe: Quarantini” and “Shotspeare Presents: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare … sort of.”

Fringe-curated productions also included two free offerings: the “FringeTalk” artist conversation series and two “Memory Palace” podcast episodes based on Rochester history. Most of 2020’s productions were submitted by artists themselves. For the first time, last year’s Fringe offered two, off-season productions: “Bushwhacked British Bake Off: Holiday Edition” and an encore performance of “Shotspeare” on New Year’s Eve. 

"This NEA funding will allow Fringe to continue its important missions of providing a platform for artists and accessibility to the arts for our 10th anniversary this year,” said Erica Fee, festival producer. “If 2021 is a year for healing and unity, nothing can bring a community together quite like the arts.” 

The 2021 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival is set for Sept. 14-25. Visit for information.

Heidi and Matt Morgan presented “Cirque du Fringe: Quarantini” during the 2020 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival.