Arts & Culture Patron: Greg Canda

Throughout his career, Greg Canda has used his wealth of knowledge in all phases of computing, networking, artificial intelligence, and image analysis. Now, he focuses on how to use those skills to aid nonprofit organizations. He chose this specialty after years of being ahead of the technology curve. Pioneering networks before the internet, wireless protocols before Wi-Fi, and handheld computers before cell phones, he saw and helped shape the future. His leadership in this advancing field followed a magna cum laude degree from Kent State University and subsequent positions at several high-tech companies. He has led product development teams and his software architecture prowess has led to patents in wireless self-shopping applications. But life isn’t just about work–his devout Catholic upbringing also led to over forty years of music ministry. You’ll still find Greg jamming at the Peninsula Art Academy, where he is also President of the Board of Directors. A personal spiritual goal drives him to understand and integrate all religious beliefs to unify, inspire, and energize those you touch: your community and the world.

Have you ever volunteered or contributed to local arts and cultural organizations in Summit County? If yes, how?

I have worked with Peninsula Art Academy in various roles for over ten years, and am the current President of the Board of Directors. I also worked with the team coordinating Peninsula Live! (first Friday summer outdoor events), and was part of Stone Cold Soup, a group providing traditional music for farmer’s markets and Hale Farm.

How has your involvement in arts and culture shaped your perspective and understanding of different cultures and communities?

We all seek to be heard, understood, and to share our vision. Admittedly more of a technologist rather than an artist, it is encouraging to help artists through technology so they can be better heard, understood, and have their visions shared. The recent State of the County presentation by Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro provided a great introduction to collaborate with other regional artists, organizations, and ArtsNow. I helped coordinate the online display and sale of the works of art. The art, artists, and perspectives were quite diverse, but all impactful. The experience was quite personally fulfilling.

How do you think exposure to arts and culture at a young age can shape a person’s development and worldview?

When youth are surrounded by hopelessness and limited viewpoints, their perspective of themselves, their world, and their prospects also become limited. When given a chance to break free of their limitations through self-expression and interaction with other perspectives, they can grow personally and contribute to the broader welfare of their family and community. Even when art does not become their career, the gift of insight will benefit them throughout their lives. For me, I knew I would not become a professional musician, but music has provided me with an outlet, a source of inspiration, and a way of meeting and learning more about others.

Greg Canda will be featured in Barbara Pennington’s upcoming book, titled Not So Ordinary Men, which is set to be published December 6, 2023. The book includes brief biographies and portrait photography of local men, ages 50-84.