Art audiences, supporters, and patrons are all vital to a healthy arts and culture sector. This blog series will highlight some of the people who make the arts work in Summit County. Today we hear from Casey Miller, Founder & CEO of environmntl. (Have somebody you want to nominate for the spotlight? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
What was your first introduction to arts and culture in Summit County?
Being born in Summit County, arts and culture have been so ingrained in my life that I don’t have an exact recollection of what the first introduction was.
What arts, culture, or environmental group do you wish more people knew about? Why?
Cascade Locks Park Association. Often, the community focuses on significant events, and there is not nearly enough focus on smaller or lesser know organizations who are passionate about preserving the different arts and cultures of our region. Taken from their website, “the mission of the Cascade Locks Park Association (CLPA) is to preserve, protect and promote the industrial, commercial and cultural heritage of the Park along Locks 10-16 of the Ohio & Erie Canalway.” Not only do they work toward their goals through the Mustill Store Museum and House, but they also do so by holding family-friendly, community events for residents and visitors to Summit County.
How do arts & culture connect with sustainability?
The intersection of arts and culture events with sustainability is something I believe is not talked about enough. We hear about why arts and culture events matter and their importance, but there is no focus put on what footprint these events leave behind. Throughout the USA, cities are starting to put pressure on major events to be more environmentally sustainable, or otherwise, they will be canceled or even moved from that region. I have a deep passion for this because there is no reason why we can’t have cultural events without trying to make them better for our environment and leave them in a spot to prosper long-term. On top of my full-time job as a Content Marketing Specialist at Focal Point, I am pursuing this passion. I founded environmntl to help events form sustainable action plans to implement for long-term success. My mentor once told me that even a baby step is a step forward and step towards a better future. I don’t see any reason that our arts and culture sector here in Summit County can’t start making that move.
Why is it essential for young professionals to take an interest in arts and culture?
Community. Young professionals need to find a real community and not just focus on their careers. By finding an interest in arts and culture, no matter the niche, opens young professionals up to a world outside of presentations, computers, and networking events. In my own life, I have found myself consumed by work, and doing even the smallest things in arts and culture has allowed for a balance that keeps me from feeling burnout or overwhelmed.
You participated in the cultural plan public feedback session hosted by Torchbearers. Why did you feel this was important enough to give your time and talent toward?
Akron has so much to offer, and I frequently think it gets overlooked because we are so used to it. We feel like it is normal for these things to happen, and we push them to the side. I attended this event after I had just moved home after having completed my Master’s degree while abroad.
The program I was in was Global Entertainment and Music Business, and it had a diverse group of candidates who all brought with them art and culture backgrounds from around the globe. When you find yourself surrounded by this, you realize just how unique everyone and every place is and that there are ways to capitalize on this. However, you also learn about ways your home can improve and grow and find the best ways to thrive in an ever-changing environment.
By attending this Torchbearers session, it was the perfect opportunity for me to bring back what I leaned and voice my passions to a crowd I know cared and would listen. Whether it be the fact that I want events to be more environmentally sustainable, more accessible to everyone, or even just marketing them better – I felt like this Torchbearers event was the place for me to start making my voice heard.