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Teens lead tour of the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood 

Rochester has a variety of neighborhoods full of history and art. And on Friday, August 19, 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., you can get a unique look at one of them at the Historical Urban Art Walking Tour in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood. (There was a tour kickoff on Thursday, August 18.)

The tour, which is sponsored by the 540WMain organization, is part of a weekend of events in the neighborhood celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Leading the tour will be four teenage interns of 540WMain's Workforce Development, Entrepreneur, and College Preparatory program. They'll guide participants around the neighborhood, focusing especially on nine artworks by local artists.

The interns -- Ty'Reek Sizer, Jada Brown, Ty'Sean Sizer, and James Ross -- orchestrated the tour themselves, says 540WMain's president, Calvin Eaton, including selecting the artworks, designing graphics, writing scripts, conducting mock tours, rehearsing, and writing a press release, with guidance and support from Eaton.

In the beginning, Eaton says, they agreed that the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood was not being fully appreciated. The students walked around the area themselves and looked at its art. "It's amazing how art makes urban areas so beautiful."

After they picked the nine pieces, two were assigned to each intern, which led them to the library to research their chosen works and learn about their background and the background of the artists and their inspiration.

The interns' educational growth throughout the process is important, Eaton says. "They've done so much research, and I've been trying to reach out to some of the local artists they chose, hoping they can communicate and ask questions about their art around the city."

On the tour, the students get to talk about why they personally chose the pieces, which lets them share not only what they learned in their research but also their interpretation of the artworks.

All ages are invited to attend the event, which intern Ty'Reek Sizer says he realized would be another learning aspect in their preparation for the tour and script rehearsing: inter-generational communication.

"You wouldn't talk to a kid the same way that you would talk to an adult," he says, "but everyone should be able to understand the tour. This experience is prepping us for different types of communication we can use in the future."

The Historical Urban Art Walking Tour will start at 540WMain, with tours leaving at 6 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, registration and donations are suggested. For more information, visit 540westmain.org, or call 732-0002.

540WMain is also hosting a free walking tour of the Voters Block Community on Friday at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, at 1:30 p.m.; and Sunday, with Dawn Noto of the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood Association, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Registration is required by calling 732-0002.

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