Akron Welcomes Public Art

(Photography by Shane Wynn)

This March, Akron will unveil its newest public art in the form of four welcome signs by Akron-native artists who share a passion for their craft and a commitment to repurposing what some see as “scrap” into eye-catching, 3D sculptures.

Two sculptures are designed by local artist John Comunale and two by Michael Marras. Both artists have high-quality, large-scale sculptures throughout Akron.

During his decades in Akron, Comunale’s work has been woven into the fabric of this city. He has crafted pieces like “The Catfish” by Northside Marketplace, the large metal signs of the Ohio & Erie Canal Way, and the cement sun bears at the Akron Zoo. John has a heart for this community and for and its artists, like his mentee, co-worker and fellow public art designer, Michael Marras.

Marras specializes in creating 2D and 3D mixed media art out of discarded metals, like recycled and scrap steel, helping to create new life for objects. Michael’s art is featured on the side of Hazel Tree Design Studio as well as in Cascade Lock Park with his recent commemorative sculpture for Leadership Akron, honoring Judith A. Read.

The welcome signs are made possible through a partnership between the artists, ArtsNow and the City of Akron, including donations of time and expertise from the artists and other local partners. The team is proud to be highlighting the innovative and artistic spirit of Akron with these pieces.

“Our city was born of creative innovation,” states Nicole Mullet, Executive Director of ArtsNow. “And as we move into the future, we can now welcome a spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship with a physical reminder of our artful vibrancy and cultural uniqueness.”

The artistic welcome signs will replace current welcome signs at four of the highest traffic areas across the city:

  • 875 Canton Rd.
  • 620 West Ave. / Tallmadge Ave.
  • 2602 West Market St.
  • Parcel 0218507 State Rd.

“These sculptures will leave a lasting impression on residents and visitors-that Akron is a vibrant community that takes pride in its diverse arts and culture scene,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said. “Art isn’t just ‘a good thing if you can get it,’ it is essential fuel for a diverse, vibrant and engaged citizenry.”