New website,, to be launched as one-stop-shop for Summit County arts, culture

Staff Writer, Akron Beacon Journal

A new website designed to be a one-stop shop for community members to find out about arts and culture events as well as artists and venues throughout the county will be launched Thursday evening at a special event.

The site,, is the first project of ArtsNow, a new nonprofit formed this summer to promote and strengthen arts and culture in Summit County. The organization grew out of a study that showed the need for better communication and marketing of events and artists of all sizes in the county.

The website will go live at the event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the John S. Knight Center in Akron.

Both the organization and website are the first efforts in the state, said Nicole Mullet, ArtsNow’s executive director.

“We are focusing on Summit County and shining some lights into the county where people haven’t been paying attention. There’s a ton going on,” said Mullet. “The website is pretty fun, it lists everything from free stuff to Top 10 [chosen by what users determine is most popular], to festivals, dance, education, music and workshops. We’re looking at culture pretty broadly.”

The Summit County Arts and Culture Landscape Study showed that people in Summit County had “to work too hard to discover all the great things going on in the arts and culture scene. This tool will address that challenge head-on, connecting culture to community in a dynamic way,” said GAR Foundation president Christine Amer Mayer.

Artists, nonprofit organizations and venues will be able to create profiles on the website, which can showcase their events and also link to their own websites, if they have products, events or services to promote.

There is no cost to post events or use the website, which is funded by grant money.

Mullet said connecting artists to each other — who are often working in their own silos — will “create opportunities for creativity for artists throughout the county. Maybe they’ll find a space to perform they didn’t know was an option.”

Having a one-stop-shop website is exciting, said Bronlynn Thurman, a 25-year-old artist who specializes in many mediums, including graphic arts, cartooning and photography.

“To have everything in one place and have people access it and have people know about all the things happening in Akron, it’s a beautiful thing. It’s essentially what I’ve been trying to do but on a massive scale, said Thurman, who also writes an arts and food culture blog, “Tea Time with the Mad Artist” and is an arts editor with the Devil Strip, an alternative publication.

Thurman also likes the idea of connecting with other artists.

“I want to support other artists and I want to help them be better and I don’t see it as competition,” she said.

Another artist featured on the new website is Jean Henriott Trawick, an 81-year-old Akron artist who, before she entered an arts competition two years ago, had never had her art displayed publicly.

Since then, Trawick, who specializes in collages, watercolors and cartooning, said her opportunities have “snowballed” and her art is featured and available in several local locations, including Rubber City Clothing and the Akron Art Museum.

“The fact that someone like me could promote what I am doing” is beneficial, said Trawick. “I see it especially helpful for someone like me who doesn’t want to set up a website.

“It’s a great chance for artists to have a platform from which they can reach out,” she said.

While Trawick set up her own online profile on the website, Mullet said artists or venues who don’t have Internet access can still be listed on the site. They should email or call 330-643-9016 for assistance.

ArtsNow has initial funding of about $300,000 for three years from several foundations, including the GAR Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation and the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation.

Mullet said ArtsNow’s next project will be to pull together various groups and artists from around the county to figure out how to “do things better and smarter and tell the story of the arts and culture in Summit County.”

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or and see all her stories at

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