Arts & Culture Patron: Jessica Holbrook

What is your earliest memory of participating in arts and culture? 
My mom is very creative, so I have a lot of memories of doing lots of arts and crafts with her as a kid — things like making salt dough ornaments or dyeing easter eggs. We were also a very musical family (I’m not so much anymore) and I started playing instruments and singing in choir pretty young. I was a background orphan in a mid-90s production of “Annie” when I was in elementary school. I was in the background of a few more musicals as a teenager before realizing that as much as I enjoyed it, the theater was never going to be my thing. 

How do arts, culture, and environment impact your life in Summit County?

My husband (David Schuler) is an artist, so the arts are an obviously big part of our family’s life. But outside of his work, we’re always looking for ways to get out and enjoy Summit County, whether that’s wandering around at the Akron Art Museum or Summit Art Space, walking to Akron Summit County Library, or meeting friends at a local ice cream shop. In the last year, Summit County’s gorgeous parks and outdoor areas have become a big part of our life. Our daughter was born in July 2020 and because it wasn’t safe to take her many places, we sought out every Summit Metro Parks trail we could traverse with a newborn in tow. She earned her walking stick and shield during the 2020 Fall Hiking Spree at just a few months old. 

What is your favorite view in Summit County? Why?

It’s hard to pick just one. I think folks underestimate just how beautiful Summit County is. I’m a big fan of the Overlook Trail at the Cascade Valley Metro Park. It’s an accessible trail, so nearly anyone can take in the breathtaking view. Maybe this is a bit nontraditional, but I really love watching the sunset during an Akron Rubber Ducks game at Canal Park

What do you wish for arts and culture in Summit County in the next five years?
It’s broad, but I wish more folks appreciated just the vast talent and creativity in Summit County, as well as our stellar library and parks system. This place is just bursting with potential. We’re so lucky to live here.

Why do you feel exposure and participation in arts, culture, and/or environment are important for students and young people in Summit County?

I grew up in a small town and for me, arts and culture were a way of experiencing a world I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to as a child. It allowed me to empathize with people living a completely different life from my own. It also gave me the freedom to experiment with different ideas and interests and figure out who I was and what I was into. I think that’s still the case for kids today.