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Event highlights artists in 'outdoor museum'


(June 12, 2005) — For Dee Harleaux, art is her passion, but she had never displayed her work to the public — until Saturday morning.

Harleaux's lifelike drawings of African Americans were featured with works by other visual artists and musicians at the ArtWalk Muse-A-Thon, an annual fund-raiser that showcases a one-mile radius of Neighborhood of the Arts. More than 250 walkers participated.

"It took some coaxing from my brother for me to come here," said Harleaux, 48, who works full-time as an executive secretary. But each evening, she does what moves her heart.

"I come home from work and I just draw," she said. "I thought this show would be a good place to begin to show my work."

In its second year, Muse-A-Thon highlights an outdoor art trail known as ArtWalk, currently along University Avenue between Goodman and Russell streets.

The Muse-A-Thon also featured other parts of Neighborhood of the Arts.

"ArtWalk is this outdoor museum 24 hours a day," said Doug Rice, executive director of the nonprofit ArtWalk group. "We are chartered as a museum and everybody is a volunteer. I think Rochester needs something less formal like this, like a town square kind of feel."

Walkers enlisted sponsors in advance, then leisurely strolled along the one-mile loop beginning at Merriman Street Playground, where they listened to the sounds of Squeaky Chair, a jazz quartet.

Along the way, other musicians and artisans, including Harleaux, displayed their wares or entertained walkers with music.

Walkers stopped in groups to hear Jason Ingalsbe, 26, of Rochester as he sang lead for the men's contemporary a cappella group InnerLoop, which will perform at 6 p.m. today at Locust Hill Country Club, which is preparing for its LPGA tournament.

"The people here are just wonderful," said walker Naomi Sandler, 20, of Henrietta. "Art is important, especially local art and music. Everything that ever becomes national starts with the local."

CBENJAMI@DemocratandChronicle.com

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