ArtsNow Patron Spotlight: Pastor Eugene Norris

Art audiences, supporters, and patrons are all vital to a healthy arts and culture sector. This new blog series will highlight some of the people who make the arts work in Summit County. (Have somebody you want to nominate for the spotlight? Reach out to

Art needs and deserves an audience and advocates. In our newest series, the ArtsNow Patron Spotlight, we’re putting the stories of our local arts patrons front and center. Today, we hear from Pastor Eugene Norris.

What was your first introduction to the arts scene in Summit County?

I was a third-grader at Crouse Elementary School. Our class art project was to make a figure out of cardboard, cover it with aluminum foil, and then use sandpaper to take off some of the black paint to reveal the image underneath. I did mine as the superhero Iron Man. I didn’t think much of it, but the teacher did! She entered it into a contest, which it won for our school and was placed into the galleries of the Akron Art Museum for the season. When my family and I went there to see it, I had never been to a museum before. That trip opened me up to a whole new world; one in which I enjoy the arts.

Pastor Norris’
third-grade project

How do the arts in Summit County impact your life?

I love seeing art in Summit County. It lets you know there is someone there. Sometimes rather unassuming with a whole different lens; violence with a flower breaking through in sunlight; lack of resources with taking old pieces of metal and turning them into an art piece. The desire to see miracles placed on buildings speaking to you as you drive by and making you wonder.

What artist or arts organization in Summit County do you wish more people knew about?

ArtsNow would be one of those. I had no idea they existed, but I’ve met Nicole, their Executive Director, and find her to be such a wonderful person. Also Mac Love; visiting his gallery and seeing all the wonderful pieces by local artists is inspiring. I also just recently visited the glass shop and a former church on Spencer Street.

What is a “can’t miss” Summit County arts experience?

For me, the gallery of sculptor and artist Woodrow Nash on Copley Road.