Arts & Culture Patron: Heather Meeker

Heather Meeker (Executive Director, Summit Artspace) is a results-driven nonprofit leader with a passion for achieving organizational vision in the arts, culture, and education fields. Her expertise includes strategic planning, team-building, partnerships, project management, relationship-based fundraising, external affairs, and financial oversight. Heather specializes in creating artist-centered, artist-led initiatives as well as arts education partnerships. Before joining Summit Artspace as Executive Director in 2021, she was Executive Director of The Musical Theater Project for twelve years. Prior leadership positions include directorships at Hiram College, Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio, National Inventors Hall of Fame, and The Repertory Project (now VERB Ballets). Heather earned her B.A. at Hiram College and her M.F.A. in Theatre/Arts Administration at Virginia Tech.

What is your earliest memory of the arts?
I have two, and they say a lot about my lifelong trajectory in the arts. First, I distinctly remember being cast as the narrator in my kindergarten class production of Chicken Little. It was a thrill to be the facilitator between the audience and the performance, and I’ve re-cast myself in that role ever since. The second is my father taking me to an exhibition of sketches by Leonardo DaVinci at the art museum in Kansas City. My parents weren’t big arts consumers, but my dad is a scientist who wanted to see those drawings. That experience opened my eyes at the age of 5 in so many ways.

What was your first introduction to the arts/culture scene in Summit County?
I was born in Akron, but we moved away when I was 5. When we moved back in 1986, my first experience was a concert at Blossom Music Center. How impressive – and The Beach Boys no less!

What artist/arts organization in Summit County do you wish more people knew about?
My answer is biased: Summit Artspace. So many folks don’t know we are here, and in alignment with our collaboration with Summit County (who owns our building), we have FREE admission. There are so many great artists to meet and terrific quarterly exhibitions to experience. We have lots of great plans to bring new visitors to the building post-pandemic.

What is a “can’t miss” Summit County arts/culture/environment experience?
I live in Highland Square and can’t say enough about PorchRokr. What a terrific neighborhood event! And I’ll put in a personal plug for the Arts Alive Awards, a Summit Artspace benefit event celebrating local artists. This year, that event takes place on the evening of June 23, both on-site and via a video celebrating this year’s recipients.