I have no idea why Anne Harvey's hair is so short, but I can guess. This close-cropped, tattooed, 1,200-horsepower — the engine on her old motorcycle — get-on-or-get-out neighborhood warrior is transforming Beechwood, one lot at a time. Hair is for wusses.
"I'm a visionary," she says. "I can't dance or sing. I can't act. But I can see the picture...out there. I can usually do what I want, unless some idiot comes along and screws me totally."
She's earned the right to talk that way. Harvey is executive director of Dazzle School, a nonprofit visual and performing arts school on Webster Avenue in northeast Rochester's Beechwood neighborhood. But like spilled ink — Harvey's metaphor — Dazzle's influence and impact is spreading.
Dazzle owns a theater next door to its school, and formed a limited liability company which bought a large vacant building near the theater and three lots across the street. Harvey says she wants to renovate the building for classrooms, computer and photography labs, kitchen, and library. And she plans to turn the vacant lots into a playground.
"We're starting to burst at the seams here," Harvey says. "And I get bored quick."
To top it off, she wants to create a mini "art walk" on Webster, with artistic benches, poles, and other features on the street to tie the properties together. It would run, she says, from Grand to Parsells avenues.
She's taken to calling the little realm "Dazzleville." Fund-raising has started, aided by a $15,000 grant for the playground.
"Beechwood has just kind of taken over me," Harvey says. "There's something about it. There is so much potential and so much good here. I want to be one of the people who helps give Beechwood what they want and need."
More information on Harvey's plans: 288-0050.