What is your earliest memory of participating in arts and culture?
I remember attending live events at the Weathervane Theater with my family. We also got to see plays based on Edgar Allen Poe as a school field trip and I loved it.
How do arts, culture, and environment impact your life in Summit County?
I have been able to use art with my daughter to connect and relax during the pandemic. We paint, do watercolors, and draw. We participated in a Summit Metroparks art class online and made some mixed media crafts as well.
I’ve also been exposed to all sorts of cool non-traditional art through local venues. Thanks to these comic book and pop culture related shops I’ve found all sorts of groups online that discuss art from trading card sketches to custom comic book covers.
What artist, cultural organization, or experience do you wish more people knew about in Summit County?
I think art is more than traditional paintings on walls. There is art even where you don’t suspect it. My favorite art interaction in the past year in Summit County was being able to commission a local artist at Rubber City Comics to create a sketch cover for a recent comic book release. Dan Gorman was the artist, and is phenomenal at what he does. He had been providing me with art before I knew he was a local artist as well. He worked for Topps as a “sketch card artist,” providing sketches of, in this case, Star Wars characters as randomly inserted bonuses in trading card packs, and I’d been collecting his cards for years before I knew he was from our area!
Why do arts and culture matter to you?
Arts and culture have a large place in society. They are pastimes, creative outlets, stress relievers. Art provides a distinct and specific language that allow us to translate what we see, hear and experience.
Have you seen an example of how arts and culture have positively impacted your community?
Thanks to a partnership with ArtsNow, Summit Metroparks, and Summit Artspace, my employer Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities was able to offer art classes as a form of stress relief and isolation prevention online over the summer called Aging is an Art Form. These free classes were made possible through a grant from the Akron Community Foundation.
I have also found many rare and used books to add to my collection from stores in Summit County that aren’t with us any longer. We can’t take local treasures for granted in the wave of online shopping!
What is your favorite view in Summit County? Why?
I love walking on the University of Akron campus nowadays. I’m jealous of all the students who get to experience that beautiful view. It beats what I saw in the late 90’s early 2000’s as a student!
Who is a patron or supporter of arts and culture in Summit County who you admire?
I have to say that Akron Community Foundation has been just amazing to work with for the programs I get to put together with partners for older adults. They work so hard to make every dollar count, and our community is very lucky to have their employees working for the betterment of Greater Akron.
What do you wish for arts and culture in Summit County in the next five years?
I hope more outside of the box things like Oddmall happen. My wife and I had a blast when we attended one at the Knight Center. I can’t wait for when we can get back to those sorts of pop culture meeting spaces to share all sorts of art.
Why do you feel exposure and participation in arts, culture, and/or environment are important for students and young people in Summit County?
Art provides a way of processing experiences. Stories and songs allow young people to see their own experiences through the lyrics of the songwriter or the character in their favorite book. Art also allows for expressing feelings that might be difficult to process any other way.