Akron’s Art Al Fresco around the City Center

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words and photos by Andrew Leask

As we trudge forth into another gloomy Northeast Ohio winter, it’s worth taking a moment to appreciate the flashes of color that help make each cold, gray day spent outside more bearable. Fortunately, public art is plentiful in Akron. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of some of Akron’s many murals, which we often take for granted.

If we missed your favorite mural, take a picture of it, tell us the location and why you love it and Tweet it to @akrondevilstrip.

Akron Civic Theater, 182 S. Main., St., Downtown

Spanning the entire side of a four story building next the Akron Civic Theatre, this first mural takes the award for the largest on this list. It’s also the most abstract—a funky jumble of floating bubbles and squiggly lines. It’s weird, sure, but anything more representational would probably be intimidating at this scale.

The Nantucket Building, 17 S Main St., Downtown

Tucked inside a courtyard next to the Nantucket building, this mixed media installation beams with Akron pride. With panels celebrating local heroes from Chrissie Hynde to LeBron James, and local treasures from the Akron Symphony to the Goodyear Blimp, you should take a moment to gaze at it and be reminded of the things that make this town great.

The Corner of State St. and Main St., Downtown

On the side of the overpass near the corner of State and Maine streets is an easy-to-miss splash of color. With its bright flowers and oversized bumblebees, it looks like something out of a children’s storybook.

Hazel Tree Interiors, 143 W Market St., Downtown

This one deserves kudos for accuracy. The tree that covers the side of the Hazel Tree Interiors building, is, in fact, a hazel tree (yes, I looked it up). It’s also impossible to miss when driving. Just don’t veer off the road while you’re trying to make out the “AKRON” spelled out by the tree’s roots.

Land of Plenty, 339 W. Market St., Highland Square

This one’s a twofer. Two very different murals cover both sides of the Land of Plenty antique store building. The west side—with its geometric and architectural patterns in purples and blue-greens—keeps Akron looking prim and proper.The east side—with its canary yellow and acid green sci-fi landscape occupied by a trio of cartoon Cyclops monsters—keeps Akron children awake at night.

Angel Falls Coffee Company, 792 W. Market St., Highland Square

The mural that graces the side of Angel Falls Coffee Company in Highland Square is bold, bright, and beautiful. And you can’t say it lacks a sense of humor. Occupying one corner of the tattoo-inspired mashup of tile patterns, crashing waves, flowers, and a bouquet of hands held in meditative mudras are the words “keep it simple.”

 

Andrew Leask spends way too much time watching cable news shows. He writes fiction in the company of his wife, Amy, and their two cats, Monty and Nigella.

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