NEIGHBORHOODS: Dazzleville or bust

Anne Harvey’s plans for “Dazzleville” include a playground and a mini “art walk” project. Harvey is executive director of Dazzle School. PHOTO BY MIKE HANLON


This is a corrected  version of the story.

I have no idea why Anne Harvey’s hair is so short, but I can guess. This close-cropped, tattooed, 1,200 cc — 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.



  1. I wish her the best of luck, I live on the other edge of Beechwood, and I have spent the past few years trying to make it artistic and beautiful, but the neighborhood can be a rough one. It’s a shame that on both edges of Beechwood we see people trying to make a better city and life for it’s denizens, but located between us, there are so many homes in disrepair, break-ins left and right, and people that don’t realize their selfish and disrespectful actions serve no benefits to their future, or the future of the place that they call home.

  2. William B. Hauser · · Reply

    Her motorcycle may have a 1200 cc engine, but it is likely 85 horsepower, not 1200. I hope the rest of your piece is more accurate as I wish her luck in a challenging endevor.

  3. Lin Wood · · Reply

    Naming an “Artwalk” Dazzleville seems a little sefl serving..doesn’t it? Why not Beechville or
    Dazzlewood a conbo of both the Neighborhood and the relm of Dazzle? While Ms. Harvey
    is well meaning…the name of project should reflect both the community and her agency.

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