Arts & Culture Patrons: Cristina González Alcalá, PhD & Richelle Wardell

What artist, cultural organization, or experience do you wish more people knew about in Summit County?
We invite our fellow Summit County residents to engage and learn more about our Hip-Hop artists and organizations such as Ameer Williamson (Minus The Alien), President of Alien Arts; Ismail Al-Amin, Executive Director of Keepers of the Arts; and Guys and Gals Community Partnership led by Jerome Moss. These artists and organizations are providing authentic programming to preserve, elevate and celebrate Hip-Hop culture’s powerful artistic and expressive roots.                                                                                                                 

What is your favorite spot to shop local?  Why?
Our favorite places to shop are Leaf and Gypsy Grace and The Vintage Goat. These West Hill shops offer the most unique, eclectic, eccentric and magical gifts to treat yourself and loved ones. From plants and blooms to adorn your home or office space, to sage bundles and crystals to cleanse those spaces, Matthew, and Angel & Joe got you covered.

What is your favorite view in Summit County? Why?
There are many great views in the county, including the ones from the Overlook Trail at Cascade Valley Metro Park, next to Blue Hen Falls, and at the Virginia Kendall overlook. The best view though, especially in the fall, is to look west from the High Level Bridge that straddles Akron and Cuyahoga Falls on Main Street (to the east is nice too).

Who is a patron or supporter of arts and culture in Summit County who you admire?
We truly admire our dear friend, and Izzy’s idol, retired Akron Police Captain Sylvia Trundle. Sylvia passionately engages with the arts, cultural, and environmental organizations in Summit County. If there’s a community or a nonprofit event she is sure to be in joyful attendance. She genuinely connects with people and fully supports the artistic, cultural, and environmental value they provide for the county.

Why do you feel exposure and participation in arts, culture, and environment are important for students and young people in Summit County?
Arts, culture, and the environment offer time traveling, world traveling, and inner soul traveling without much physical traveling. For students and young people, the ability to do these types of traveling present opportunities to dream, inspire, and create independently. Accessible rich arts, cultural, and environmental experiences nurture young people beyond traditional schooling and at times provide refuge from trauma, bullying, violence, and other challenges that growing up brings. Empathy blooms in their young minds as they are able to experience others’ experiences through arts, culture, and the environment while also having the space to share their own experiences. Building empathy and providing space for authentic expression is particularly important when seeking to build communities that are inclusive, equitable, and just.