The last time Rochester Woman  spoke with Shawn Dunwoody was for our 2015 Men’s Issue.

It was during that summer  that Dunwoody employed five students from Rochester City Schools to paint murals in depressed neighborhoods throughout  Rochester Philadelphia, and Brazil.  The beautification movement was called the Fruitbelt Project which and was later turned into an Emmy-nominated documentary film called “Confronting the Wall” that highlights the positive impact of mentorship.

A native of Rochester, Dunwoody was raised by entrepreneur parents who ran a successful record store. They taught him the value of neighborhood development and community connection.  He considers his parents his earliest mentors.

He was a young dad while attending Monroe Community College. As his family grew his desire and drive to wanting to provide beyond his current means brought about many choices; some good and some not so good. Understanding lack of exposure to choices young people have, Dunwoody began working with city neighborhoods, community groups, and businesses to help create employment and mentorship for youth.

Today he strives to be a mentor and create new role models. It is that drive, enthusiasm and passion that has led Dunwoody to run for Rochester City Council.  His unique three (3) tiered platform consists of the following components: Connected Communities, Entrepreneurship, and Creative Capital.

Connected Communities: having spent decades connecting the valuable resources of our city neighborhoods; partnering with community  groups, area activists and businesses, Dunwoody will continue to expand employment for youth and mentorship, build alternative citywide recreation and health connections, and develop a program for a safer and more beautiful environment.  All of which are the catalyst for a vibrant city.

Entrepreneurship: our city is a wellspring of innovation that can become the spark plug in our city’s economy.  Dunwoody will work to foster innovation in all areas of the city; creating different avenues of commerce to combat poverty and unemployment, support public-private partnerships for innovators and visionaries to create local job opportunities and stimulate youth entrepreneurship programming.

Creative Capital; is the relationship of ingenuity and commerce and provides us the means to exploit the business of our creative communities with arts and culture as the glue. Creative Capital can become the magnet to attract and retain a skilled and innovative workforce. As a City Council member he will strengthen connections between the tourism industry and local businesses; encouraging links among organizations, businesses, and creatives to collectively be engaged in the process of” Placemaking”, and create cultural hubs in our city’s neighborhoods.

He believes the most progressive movements for change are started by bringing people from different backgrounds together.

Shawn Dunwoody’s earliest role models were Batman and Spiderman. As he grew up it was Malcolm X, Frederick Douglas, David and Jesus.

Rochester Woman: What is integral to the work of an Artist?

Creating vision for our society.


Rochester Woman:What role does the Artist have in society?

Artists play a strong role in shaping our culture, politics and beliefs.

Rochester Woman:Who are your biggest inspirations for your career? Your life?

Right now to build a stronger bond between policy and design.

Rochester Woman:What does being creative mean to you?

It means being able to shape the worlds around you.

Rochester Woman:Where does Shawn Dunwoody find inspiration in his creativity?

People. Everyday lives.

Rochester Woman:What kinds of creative patterns, routines or rituals to you have?

Drink coffee to start and drink wine to end.

Rochester Woman:Define “Success”.

Success is defined in different stages of life. At six riding a bike was a success, at thirteen kissing a girl was a success, and now being able to run around a full day with my grandkids is a success. I believe success is situational.

Rochester Woman:What are you trying to communicate with your art?

Right now my art of connection I’m using to create change in our community.

Rochester Woman:Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?

Great question. Music.

Rochester Woman:Why is community service important to you?

It is the flow that keeps our basic need to help moving.


To learn more about Shawn Dunwoody.  Visit his website at: