Who We Are

ArtsNow works to leverage the arts and culture in Summit County to support and strengthen the region’s economic and social vibrancy.


ArtsNow envisions a Summit County where our arts & culture assets are fully leveraged to support and strengthen the region’s economic and social vibrancy. The public’s demand for and participation in arts & culture is high, and artists and arts organizations deliver diverse, innovative, and accessible offerings that make Summit County a highly creative community that is extremely attractive to artists, businesses, and residents. Because of the sector’s strength, Summit County’s arts & culture enjoys strong and growing support from the public and private sectors.


ArtsNow strengthens Summit County by advancing its arts & culture assets and building connections between arts & culture and the broad community. ArtsNow:

  • Provides residents of Summit County access to information about the diverse arts & culture offerings available in Summit County.
  • Aggregates and analyzes data about arts & culture to drive sector improvement.
  • Advocates for arts & culture across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
  • Convenes and connects makers and presenters to strengthen the sector’s impact and relevance.
  • Builds and strengthens funding for arts & culture.

Executive Director

Nicole serves as the Executive Director of ArtsNow, an organization that helps build and strengthen a thriving Summit County arts and culture scene to add economic vitality and social vibrancy to our region. In this role, she collaborates with local leaders and organizations to advocate for the arts and culture sector, connects local talent to resources, and leads a team that promotes the diverse catalog of arts and culture offerings across multiple platforms to Summit County residents.

In 2023, Nicole was invited to serve on the Support Summit DD Levy Advisory Committee, demonstrating her commitment to furthering this vital cause. The board of trustees for The University of Akron confirmed President Gary Miller’s appointment of Nicole to a UA seat on the board of the Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. (NETO) in February of 2020. In addition, Nicole serves on the board of United Disability Services (UDS) and was elected to serve a second term with the Private Sector Network Council of Americans for the Arts representing Summit County and Ohio. 

Nicole received the Metamorphosis Award for Transformational Leadership from the Akron Zoo in 2024 and the Spotlight Award from Collide: Cuyahoga Falls in 2023. In 2020, Nicole received the Glass Half Full award from the GAR Foundation and in August of 2019, she was selected by Crain’s Cleveland Business as a Notable Women in Nonprofit.

Nicole is a graduate of Leadership Akron Class 34 and is a proud alumna of Torchbearers, where she served as member, committee chair, and board member from 2013 to 2017 and as president in 2016.

Associate Director of Community Impact

Grace Carter serves as the Associate Director of Community Impact at ArtsNow. She earned her B.A. in art history with a minor in pre-law from Kent State University and her M.A. in arts administration from The University of Akron. Her M.A. thesis, Decolonizing the Modern Museum: Policies and Procedures for Best Practices, examined museum acquisition and deaccessioning policies with regard to repatriation of objects acquired during periods of colonial rule. Notable projects at ArtsNow include managing SEEN: Advancing Equity in Summit County, a project that involved hiring photographers and videographers to assemble a database of content highlighting the diversity and vibrancy of Summit County’s arts and culture sector; developing a guide to best practices around citing artists’ work on social media; and spearheading communications for River in the City, an NEA-funded project that brought permanent public art installations by internationally recognized artists Peter B. Jones and Stacy Levy to downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

Grace’s art exhibition reviews and artist profiles have been published in regional magazines such as CAN Journal. She has contracted as a freelance grant writer with clients in northeast Ohio and New York City, raising nearly $100,000 on behalf of nonprofit organizations in 2023. Previously, she worked as Community Engagement Coordinator at Summit Artspace, where she grew the organization’s press and email lists and social media following substantially. During her time at Kent State, she worked for the Kent State University School of Art writing profiles on alumni and newsworthy events; served as Curatorial Assistant for the We The People exhibition; and volunteered as Director of Communications for the Art History Club and Secretary for the Art Club. At Worthington Yards/YARDS Projects, she worked as a curatorial assistant on exhibition planning and installation, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland, she interned in the Education department. 

Grace’s passion is using her administrative and leadership skills to support artists and creatives. In addition to her work in the arts, she has served in the fitness industry as a yoga instructor, specializing in making yoga accessible to those with mobility challenges. She was awarded the honor of Staff of the Year at the Kent State University Student Wellness and Recreation Center in 2021 and holds her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from the Cleveland Clinic with a sub-specialty in yoga for seniors.

Outside of her work at ArtsNow, Grace enjoys strength training, reading, and taking long walks. She is also an active member of the Junior League of Akron.

Communications & Marketing

Learn More About ArtsNow

Our Story          Partnership Opportunities          Donor Information          ArtsNow Timeline Board of Directors