Arts & Culture Patron: Lavar Jacobs

What is your earliest memory of participating in arts and culture?
As a child, my mom (Kim Jacobs) would take me on a walk around the Nature Realm in Fairlawn, Ohio. It was always a cool experience getting to see the animals live in their natural habitat. Since then, I have participated in arts and culture all around Summit County with my nonprofit Not Just October

How do arts, culture, and environment impact your life in Summit County?
I drive the Akron Metro Bus for a living and there is no corner you can turn that art is not present; from murals to structural pieces throughout the city. I love seeing everything! It provides a wonderful sense of community to know that we have so many amazing artists and individuals who add to the value of where I raise my family. 

What artist, cultural organization, or experience do you wish more people knew about in Summit County?
I wish more people that I know personally would visit the Akron Art Museum in downtown Akron. I think they would enjoy and be shocked at the vast amount of amazing pieces on display. It would be remiss of me not to mention my nonprofit, Not Just October and all of the amazing things that we’re doing to support the community and families battling breast cancer. We will be celebrating our grand opening Saturday, May 1st from 1-3pm at 946 Kenmore Blvd, Akron, Ohio 44314.

Why is it so important to you/your family to support arts and culture? Why do arts and culture matter to you?Arts and culture are what makes this world beautiful, from all of the creativity to learning about the meaning and types of art from different cultural backgrounds. 

Have you seen an example of how arts and culture have positively impacted your community?
A friend of mine by the name of Monte Vales; his daughter was used for a mural downtown in Lock 3. When the news spread of how the mural came about, it led many people who may not have otherwise patronized the area, head down to Lock 3 and experience all of its glory. 

What is your favorite spot to shop local?  Why?
The Northside Marketplace by far! Several local brands are on site there that you might have not known about until you visit. I also sell my Not Just October merchandise there as well.

What is your favorite view in Summit County? Why?
I am a big fan of water, so going to the Gorge and watching the water run down the falls is exciting to me and my two boys.

What do you wish for arts and culture in Summit County in the next five years?
I wish to see even more murals around the city and on the ground such as the Black Lives Matter piece on Howard Street. The world is our canvas and I want to see more art everywhere. 

Why do you feel exposure and participation in arts and culture are important for students and young people in Summit County?
Art is an expression and I think the students and young people need to express themselves! I love seeing young people interacting with the arts. We live in an environment where other outlets of expression are needed and arts and culture can be very impactful to the youth.