Why is it so important to your family to support arts and culture? Why do arts and culture matter to you?
“Personally, it brings me so much joy to see other people displaying their passion for creativity, especially since I have no artistic skills of my own, ” said Byron.
“As someone currently working to build a creative career running my own graphic design side business, I’ve been motivated and inspired by seeing what other artists/makers in our community are doing,” said Kirsten.
From a family perspective, it’s important to us that our kids know that they can make a career out of anything they are passionate about. We want them to see that anything is possible and we want to set a good example for them by shopping local whenever possible. Whether it’s shopping at Crafty Mart’s pop-up shops during the holidays or showing up downtown to grab a bite and check out a local band, we strive to integrate supporting local businesses into our everyday lives.
What is your favorite spot to shop local? Why?
We love to explore all the great shops that Northside Marketplace has to offer. It’s an awesome one-stop shop to experience a ton of different local artists and makers. And since the shops change on a semi-regular basis, you get to discover new shops each time you go! We like to make an afternoon of it and grab lunch at Nomz, do some shopping, then grab some dessert to go.
We’re also huge fans of Eat Speak Love’s smallBIGBox, which we look forward to every month. It’s an awesome compilation of locally made products from female and minority-owned businesses. It’s such a great way to get exposure to local products that we hadn’t heard about.
What is your favorite view in Summit County? Why?
Highland Square will always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s the place where we enjoyed dinners, drinks, and movies in the early days of our relationship, the place where we shared our first apartment together, and the place where we took our engagement photos. Walking down that small section of Market Street always takes us down memory lane and reminds us of all the things we love about Akron.
What do you wish for arts and culture in Summit County in the next five years?
For our makers, we’d love to see even more of them expand and set up shop in the vacant storefronts in downtown Akron. It’s been great to see shops that started out with a small space at Northside Marketplace grow to the point where they can have their own space in Akron.
For our musicians, we’d love to see more outdoor live music events, like PorchRokr and the small concert series’ in Lock 3 and Lock 4. Of course, hosting live music events has been a challenge over the last year due to COVID-19, but it’s made us realize how much we love and miss experiencing local bands.
For our artists, we’d love to see Akron really embrace public art. We have some great murals in Akron that truly bring life to the spaces they occupy. It would be so cool to see Akron do something like Crush Walls in Denver, CO, which is an annual urban art event that celebrates graffiti and street art by bringing local and international talent out of the galleries and into the streets to create murals.
Overall, we’d love to see a complete arts and culture festival. Back in 2019, we went to Pittsburgh as a group with our fellow Torchbearers and we got to experience the Three Rivers Art Festival. It would be absolutely amazing to see Akron embrace an idea like this and have a full-on arts and culture festival that takes over all of downtown, with booths for local artists/makers, food trucks serving local cuisine, and multiple stages with live local bands.