What is your earliest memory of participating in arts and culture?
Michael: It probably wasn’t until college that the opportunity to see and appreciate Heinz Poll and the Ohio Ballet perform at EJ Thomas that I realized that this dance company was really extraordinary; the choreography, music, and lighting were so professional. I finally understood what Bernard Leach, the British studio potter and art teacher, meant when he said “we want from the potter the same sort of quality which we expect from a good author, poet, painter or composer.”
Claudia: From the time I was young, I had wanted to be an artist. Because of that, I was always aware of arts and culture in the community. I vividly remember going to the Children’s Concert Series when I was in grade school. It was amazing!
How do arts, culture, and environment impact your life in Summit County?
Even though we have traveled all our professional lives doing fine craft shows across the country, having the diversity of experiences where we live has allowed us to stay rooted in our area.
What artist, cultural organization, or experience do you wish more people knew about in Summit County?
As we talk to customers in the gallery, we find that many know about the arts organizations and cultural sites but haven’t visited them in a long time. We think it’s necessary that locals continue to support them and enjoy their ever-changing programming.
Why is it so important to you to support arts and culture?
Michael: It’s not only an economic engine for the county, but it’s what gives our area the richness of experience to retain the people in our neighborhoods.
Claudia: Life is grey without arts and culture. It gives our area depth, texture, color, and a richness that pervades all the senses.
Have you seen an example of how arts and culture have positively impacted your community?
We don’t think it’s always one example but a whole bunch of things happening continuously to increase awareness of the arts and the importance it begins to play in everyone’s life. Building on the momentum of art and culture activity is what gives the area its energy.
What is your favorite spot to shop local?
For us, we don’t have to look any further than our own backyard. We love our gallery and we support the local artists whose work we represent and purchase their work. Also locally, once a year, we shop the Boston Mills Artfest where we find both local and regional artworks for us to add to our collection.
What is your favorite view in Summit County?
Right out our studio back window looking north across the valley. Sometimes at sunset, the light reflects off of the All-American Bridge and it reminds you of a Maxfield Parrish painting.
Who is a patron or supporter of arts and culture you admire?
For us, it’s Virginia Wojno. From her fundraisers like Hot Jazz on Howard and her work with the Mustill Store, she works tirelessly to support many organizations and causes plus supports individual artists, musicians, and galleries.
What do you wish for arts and culture in Summit County in the next five years?
We wish that the growing appreciation and awareness of the value and importance of local arts and culture will continue to be supported by the people of Summit County and not only do we need to support new arts endeavors but to continue to support those stalwart arts and culture organizations, both non-profit and for-profit, that have laid a solid foundation for our community.
Why do you feel exposure and participation in arts, culture, and/or environment are important for students?
Somewhere in each one of us, there is a creative aspect. The exposure to the arts enables a person to think “outside the box” and have the ability to creatively problem-solve. This skill set is essential to the growth of our culture as well as the individual.