CloudCheckr has grown to 150 employees in six years.

Datto moved to Rochester five years ago and employs 250 people in its downtown location.

New York City-based companies LiveTiles and CoverWallet arrived in Rochester in the past year and each now employ over 50.

Optimax is planning to add 100 to its 300 staffers this year alone.

These companies employ technically skilled folks who earn attractive wages, enjoy decent benefits and work in hospitable environments. These are innovative companies at the forefront of their high-tech field, competing in a global economy.

Rochester’s recovery and transformation is happening. I like to describe these companies as the canaries in the coal mine. They are indicators of growth and harbingers of great things in store.

Picture a pyramid. These rapidly growing companies are at the apex, the portion elevated from the base with the all-seeing eye, as appears on the almighty dollar. They need human capital to thrive and profit in the modern economy.

The former behemoths, names unmentioned, attracted some of the greatest technical and engineering talent. Our world class universities continue to excel in drawing and training smart people.

In the modern economy, those people wouldn’t be here unless there was a salubrious environment for them. Mobility is built into the American DNA. So, why are they here? Why do they stay? For a variety of reasons.

I contend that the pyramid’s foundation is our creativity and culture. We have wonderful natural assets, of course. However, smart, talented people need the arts and cool things to do—fine arts, culinary arts, performing arts and maker’s spaces. And, music, for which Rochester is recognized internationally.

It is this linkage that RocGrowth will explore in its new series, Innovation in the Arts. RocGrowth Candids features the visual arts at its next event on July 11, at the Downstairs Cabaret Theatre, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. It’s free. For those who can’t attend, we video record the panel discussion and post it to rocgrowth.com.

We welcome you to join us in exploring the critical role creativity and the arts play in our economic revitalization. Listen to Memorial Art Gallery Director Jonathan Binstock host a panel with cutting-edge contributors to our region’s art scene. Let’s paint the canvas together.

Richard Glaser is co-creator of RocGrowth and RocGrowth Candids and Coffee events. He was presented with Upstate Venture Connect’s Community Catalyst award for organizing programs that bring together diverse startup ecosystem players.