Episode 1 – Akron Is Lit

Well, here we are! We have arrived at the very first episode of the “Gimme Arts Now” podcast. Logan Lane, ArtsNow’s EXL Center intern, has been chronicling the development of the series in our blog as he works Roger Riddle to bring you all the cool cultural happenings going on around Summit County.

In the upcoming episodes, we’ll talk to artists, art venues, and art patrons to find out what they’re creating, how they’re engaging their communities, and what draws them to art in the first place.

The first episode (“Akron is Lit”) is all about the literary arts. More specifically, we wanted look at what goes on behind the scenes. What does the creative process look like for a writer? Where and how do they get their feedback? What does good feedback even look like?


photo courtesy of David Giffels

To help us make sense of it all, we interviewed Akron-based author and University of Akron professor David Giffels. He told us a little about his last book, a collection of essays called The Hard Way on Purpose, and gave us the scoop on his newest project. He also told us that he’s a huge fan of collaboration, writers’ groups, and public outings to support the literary arts.

He mentioned his own writers group, an informal and now defunct group of Akronites called “The Butt Wranglers,” a popular reading series in Cleveland (“Brews and Prose”), and another series held right here in Akron (“That One Time Downtown”).

ArtsNow is alway sharing with and learning from other arts organizations all over the nation to get an idea of how they are supporting the arts in their community. So, when Roger learned that the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) played a role in a number of literary programs and events in Queens, New York, he reached out to QCA’s

Molaundo Jones to hear a little more about what they were doing to help build with their strong literary community.

Jones told us about the QCA LAB program which gives artists a chance to present new works and get feedback from those in attendance. They also host an artist peer circle that meets once a month. The group comes together to discuss their projects, set goals, and hold each other accountable for meeting their goals and completing their projects.

We also learned that they fund an event called the LIC Reading Series where published local artists read from their releases at a Long Island City bar.

Finally Jones shared with us a little about a “How to Get Published” panel they hosted as part of their “Under the Hood” professional development series.


photo courtesy of artist’s SummitLive365 profile

Finally, we hear from SummitLive365.com artist Noor Hindi to hear about an organization she co-founded called “Poetry in Akron.” Noor, a poet herself, told us about the regular poetry readings Poetry In Akron hosts all over Akron, and what its like to read your work in front of a live audience.

We hope you found lots of tasty art treats in this first episode. Listen up at the top!