As civic organizations grow and change, oftentimes their places of work become too small for what’s needed, and it’s time to move on.
So it was with Hook and Ladder No. 4 on Monroe Avenue and their original firehouse in the early 1970s. Built in 1896 and doubled in size less than ten years later, it had become outmoded by newer and more up-to-date facilities in the city.
When the firehouse was abandoned in 1971, the building became a haven for various businesses and retailers. Some important community institutions found early homes there, like the Gay Alliance and the Genesee Co-Op Federal Credit Union.
The institution that stayed put is the Flower City Arts Center. Originally called the Genesee Street Organization after the address of its original home, the group moved into the firehouse sometime during 1972 and has since become a staple of the community.
The name may have changed, but the desire to give residents an outlet for artistic interest hasn’t.
The Center now comprises the entire firehouse, from darkroom and photography facilities, facilities for printmaking and book arts, a ceramics workshop, three galleries for local artists to exhibit their artwork and space available to rent for aspiring artists.
There are also internships, over 240 classes for the public, and youth programs.