How can art be used as a tool to inspire change? We discuss how visual and performance art, satire, and other forms of creative expression can raise awareness of social and political issues. Our guests:

  • Allison Roberts, artist and co-founder of Impact Interactive
  • Dick Roberts, artist and former political cartoonist for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, actor, performance educator with Impact Interactive, and senior assistant director of the Multicultural Center for Academic Success in RIT's Division for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Arleen Thaler, socially-engaged photojournalist

The race for Rochester’s next mayor kicks off as the first official contender enters the ring. On this edition of Need to Know we’ll learn what James Sheppard will bring to the table that he says Mayor Lovely Warren hasn’t.

Local artist Todd Stahl had no idea that when he set out on a new project in 2015, it would feel so poignant when it finally debuted shortly after the presidential election. Stahl wanted to capture portraits of fifteen Americans who, in his words, "have risen up to express their personal vision and to fight for what they saw as progress." Some of the names are known in every household: Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F Kennedy, Eleanor Roosevelt. Some are names that are not quite as well known: Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Muir. We'll discuss why this show has become powerful at this American moment.

In studio:

SSR Photography

Researchers have discovered an interesting link between the economy and kids. On this edition of Need to Know we talk with an economist who explains how a particular investment by Rochester businesses could have a widespread positive impact on children.

Also on the show...Bronson and Barnhart. The major take-aways after the debate between the local Democratic Assembly candidates running in the Primary for the 138th District.

And a local filmmaker shows how paint and an artist’s vision can be a powerful combination. We’ll learn about a locally-born project that’s changing neighborhoods, empowering teens, and making Rochester a bit brighter.

A new documentary called Confronting the Wall follows street artists from Rochester and around the world as they explore how art can send uplifting messages to struggling neighborhoods.

  • David Marshall, producer and director for Blue Sky Project Films’ Confronting the Wall
  • Christine Christopher, producer and writer for Blue Sky Project Films’ Confronting the Wall
  • Shawn Dunwoody, artist entrepreneur and director of The Fruit Belt Project
  • Ephraim Gebre, artist who is a senior at World of Inquiry School

Born In the USA is perhaps one of the most misunderstood songs in American history. This week, we've heard several radio stations play it as an homage to American greatness at the Olympics. Someone should tell them the song is about how awful our country was to Vietnam veterans.

But that has us wondering: what are the most mistaken or misunderstood pieces of art across the genres? From music to painting to poetry to literature, our panel tells us where we're routinely going wrong. (We're looking at you, Guy With the Road Not Taken Poster.) Our guests:


You won't see as much public art at the airport as you used to. It's been largely a business decision, but artists say that visitors to Rochester should be greeted with cultural assets, not blaring advertisements.

What do Monroe County officials say? We talk about their perspective, and we talk about the larger place of public art in our community with our guests:

Artists throughout the Rochester area are engaging the community through their work. We learn about Roc Paint Division, which gives Rochester's youth an opportunity to create murals for the city's r-centers alongside local artists. Our guests:

  • Sarah C. Rutherford, artist and project coordinator for Roc Paint Division
  • Justin Suarez, artist and project assistant for Roc Paint Division
  • Maribel Hernandez, artist and youth worker for Roc Paint Division
  • Kendra Hayle, northwest area coordinator for Rochester's Department of Recreation and Youth Services

Scott Regan, the longtime host of WRUR's Open Tunings, joins us in studio for a conversation about art and music. He is the featured artist at The Little Cafe this month. Our guests:

  • Scott Regan, host of URUR's Open Tunings
  • Paul Dodd, local musician
  • Charles Jaffe, local musician
  • Peter Monacelli, local musician
  • Steve Piper, local musician

Cornell U

ITHACA (AP) Cornell University is celebrating the centennial of its Lab of Ornithology with a giant mural featuring 270 species from the 243 modern bird families.