DEIA Advisory Board for Arts and Culture Celebrates Commendation from Summit County Executive and Council
AKRON, OH (August 16, 2022) – On Monday, August 15, 2022, at the Summit County Council Chambers, Executive Shapiro and Summit County Council presented the DEIA Advisory Board for Arts and Culture a commendation thanking them for their work. Following the County Council meeting, leadership from the County of Summit as well as the County Council joined community leaders at Akron Civic Theatre for a reception in the Grand Lobby hosted by the Advisory Board.
The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Advisory Board for Arts and Culture, was identified as a key strategy of the Cultural Plan and launched with support from Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation, Knight Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council. The Advisory Board serves Summit County residents as a trust of thought-leaders and advocates to assist in developing priorities to advance equity in Summit County’s arts and culture sector.
This Advisory Board, led by Chair, Dr. Sheldon Wrice and Vice Chair, Jocelyn Grant, is a direct outcome of the community-driven Cultural Plan—a living document intended to examine and strengthen the community through exploring arts, humanities, culture, natural resources, and heritage.
In Council Chambers, Dr. Sheldon Wrice thanked Executive Ilene Shapiro, Council President Liz Walters, Vice President Veronica Sims, and the County Council upon receiving the commendation on behalf of his colleagues. They were also joined by community leaders like University of Akron President, Gary Miller and Mrs. Georgia Miller.
“97% of residents told us that equity is key to the future of arts and culture in our community–and the development of the Advisory Board is a direct result of those voices. Voices that are reflected in the Cultural Plan,” said Dr. Wrice, Vice President of Inclusion and Equity and Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Akron. “It is an honor to serve in a community with leadership like those here today who understand that the strength and future of Summit County resides in our ability to be an inclusive community where all people are acknowledged, welcomed, and respected.
After the presentation to the DEIA Board, a reception was held at the Akron Civic Theatre, where Council members joined with ArtsNow leaders and DEIA Advisory Board members for live entertainment and celebratory remarks from those closest to the Board.
A performance by Hearts for Music, led by Kitreal Chin, featured artists of all abilities. In his remarks as he introduced the performers, Chin shared that he is partially deaf which is a constant inspiration to ensure Hearts for Music is a musical ensemble that is truly open to all abilities. The orchestra is made up of 20 to 25 children and/or young adults with a variety of special needs. By manipulating and playing a combination of acoustic instruments, digital instruments, and adaptive instruments, the Hearts For Music Orchestra tackle a broad range of musical works ranging from classical symphonies to modern pop and rock.
Speaking to the performers, Executive Shapiro said, “The arts and talented artists like you, are a big part of why I am so proud to live in Summit County. Arts Now and our local artists are a vital part of our community, helping to keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront of all we do. We are proud to support you.”
For more information about members of the DEIA Advisory Board or ArtsNow, please visit artsnow.org.
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Nicole Mullet, Executive Director 330-203-1606
ArtsNow works to leverage the arts and culture in Summit County to support and strengthen the region’s economic and social vibrancy. Learn more at ArtsNow.org
DEIA Advisory Board for Arts & Culture
The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Advisory Board for Arts and Culture, which was formed with as a direct outcome of the Cultural Plan and support from Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation, Knight Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council, serves Summit County residents as a trust of thought-leaders and advocates to assist in developing priorities to advance equity in Summit County’s arts and culture sector. The Advisory Board works to advance the knowledge that people of all ages, races, genders, orientations, religions, abilities, means, and backgrounds must have access to and participate in the creation of a thriving cultural scene.
Hearts For Music was created to provide opportunities and avenues for individuals of all ages and abilities to pursue their love for creating and performing music in a professional ensemble setting. At the core of Hearts for Music, is an orchestra made up of 20 to 25 children and/or young adults with a variety of special needs. By manipulating and playing a combination of acoustic instruments, digital instruments, and adaptive instruments, the Hearts For Music Orchestra tackle a broad range of musical works ranging from classical symphonies to modern pop and rock. Learn more at www.heartsformusic.org.