ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Black History Month kicked off in Rochester with the annual night of art and music.

Jazz music filled the air at city hall to celebrate Black heritage.

There were performances by a number of local artists, some already established professionals and others just beginning to make a name for themselves.

Organizers say this year's bicentennial of Frederick Douglass' birthday is a perfect way to symbolize what they call the circle of life.

"That's how generations go, and you want to always be passing down information and learning from our elders," said David Haygood, Jr., Black Heritage Art and Jazz Show chair. "We've got a lot of people passing away, and you don't want that knowledge to pass away with them. You want to hand that down and this is how we know how things happened before, but also you gain from your youth because they have new eyes on how things could go also, so we can all be a posture of learning."

This is the 17th year the event has been held to start the city's celebration of Black History Month.

A new exhibit opens Friday at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, which highlights a unique part of Rochester's history. 

The new exhibit, called "No Soil Better," celebrates the legacy of Frederick Douglass through artwork.

Eleven different artists contributed new artwork for the exhibit.

The museum's director hopes the exhibit will put a contemporary spin on the legacy of the slave turned abolitionist.

"We have a number of other discussions and events happening here during the run of our exhibition, so we're looking to engage people in a new dialogue looking at Douglass' legacy, looking at the history, but also asking the public to consider why does his legacy matter today and what does it mean today?" said Bleu Cease, Rochester Contemporary Art Center executive director.

"No Soil Better" runs until March 18th.

This year is the bicentennial of Douglass' birth, with events planned throughout the year.