ArtsNow Patron Spotlight: Svetla Morrison

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 Svetla Morrison.

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

My first art experience in Akron was 10 years ago, shortly after I moved to the States/Akron from Europe. A friend told me that there was an Escher exhibit at the local Art Museum (Akron Art Museum). Not only do I love Escher’s work, but this exhibit was quite exceptional and extensive. It followed the path of the artist’s growth from the beginning to work we know him by today. It was not only inspirational, but there was a lesson in it for me – that no artist starts with their greatness first. No matter how great they turn out to be one day, they start slowly, through the course of their entire life, employing commitment, determination and long hours spent with their craft, until one day they arrive at what they’ll be remembered for. What added to the great value of this experience was the fact that only two cities in the whole USA were hosting this exhibition, with Akron being one of them. It was one of those moments I felt I was really, really lucky to be in Akron exactly at that moment. This feeling seems to have stayed with me ever since, for so many reasons, for the past 10 years, but especially for the exceptional (just like that exhibit) people I have met and keep meeting here.

How do the arts in Summit County impact your life?

The Akron artists I know inspire me not only with the work they create but also with who they are as individuals and the examples they’ve set for me as members of this community. Having the opportunity to connect with them on a human level has provided me with so much wisdom and courage to keep going and believing that no matter what I do as a creator there is value in it as long as my heart is in it.

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

A couple of years ago I got invited by the Knight Foundation, along with two other photographer friends, to participate in a creative initiative that involved children from low-income families. The level of creativity, enthusiasm, and joy the children demonstrated as they worked with the cameras they were provided, was absolutely amazing and electrifying. Their photos – that ended up being developed and displayed – were quite beautiful. So many children had an amazing eye and talent for this visual craft and it made me wonder: how many of them will have the chance to get the support, recognition, and encouragement, but also the resources they need to step on a successful path of self-development and growth that will nourish not only their own lives, but also the lives of their families and enrich their community. So, if there is an artist or artists I would like to see getting any support, I would wish those to be the future artists of this city. Those who are in a disadvantaged position and cannot afford a nice camera, piano lessons or any other pricey creative tools to set them on the path of their inner calling and grow their talent, so they could find themselves persisting in it until one day we see them with their exceptional pieces, result of decades of dedication to their craft.

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

There are so many wonderful art events happening around here on so many levels. And I am so happy to see so much support for the arts from both community and organizations. Maybe I’d love to see more coexistence and intentional support for not-so-typical forms of art which still require talent and artistry. In my opinion, there are a lot of gaps still needed to be bridged in order to create a sense of unity and community where more healthy individuals can thrive.