New/Native: Christy Bolingbroke and James Thomas Talbert

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Name: Christy Bolingbroke

Occupation: Founding Executive / Artistic Director, National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron (NCCAkron)

Hometown: Houston

Current Neighborhood: Downtown Akron

What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar?

The NCCAkron, but we’re just getting started, so it’s okay we’re barely a blip. That seems about right. But heads up, we hope to highlight how research and development practices apply to the performing arts, especially dance, and share the creative process with everyone.

What is your favorite local cultural asset?

I’m kind of enamored with the Akron Civic Theater. From the outside, with its odd placement and how it wraps around Lock 4 while the inside is magical and otherworldly. Seeing an Indiana Jones movie there one weekend and a concert dance show the next hits a sweet spot with me too. I love anything that can embrace the high brow as well as the low brow.

When did you fall for Akron?

I first came for my interview in June 2016. But Akron and I were just meeting for the first time back then. After accepting the job offer, I came back to look for somewhere to live in August and caught one of the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival performances in the cemetery. That’s when I fell for Akron. Free outdoor shows in the summer are a favorite experience of mine. So while my relationship with Akron was still nascent, that’s when I knew things would work out between us.

Where in Akron do you like to escape?

My apartment is my own private escape right now. Relocating from San Francisco where you scramble for one-fourth of a house-share, I’m basking in a place of my own to cook and nest.

Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?

It’s a tie between Chill ice cream and Nuevo, but both of them have so much to offer in terms of great ingredients and fresh ideas. I feel like Chill overhauls all 32 flavors regularly, making it hard to develop a singular favorite. Half the fun is going there and getting to try so many options before you have to commit to one (or let’s be honest—at least two). And Nuevo was such a wonderful discovery. I grew up on (and love) Tex-Mex which highlights the fried and the spicy. The modern Mex-style at Nuevo brings the heat, but keeps it healthier with their pickled vegetables and root fries.

How do you hope Akron will be different in five years?

Five years from now, I hope even more people will be dancing – watching, thinking and talking about dance.

(Photo of Christy Bolingbroke courtesy of Andrew Weeks)


Name: James Thomas Talbert

Occupation: Pastor at Citizens Akron Church (

Hometown: The Snyder Avenue Neighborhood of Barberton

Current Neighborhood: Firestone Park


What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar?

I wish more Akronites were aware of the rich history and opportunity that exists in our city.

What is your favorite local cultural asset?

My favorite local cultural asset would be a new Community Development Corporation called The Well in the historical Middlebury neighborhood of Akron. The mission of the well is to make a community aware of the dignity, value, and worth that is inherent to them as human beings through advocating for housing, economy and place-making.

When did you fall for Akron?

This area has been home to me for as long as I can remember. Home for me is where the heart is. I’ve always loved this great city and I always will.

Where in Akron do you like to escape?

My escape and favorite location in the city of Akron is Monty’s Shop, which is the most incredible barbershop in the world. It’s located on W Exchange and provides to its customers stimulating conversation, inclusive community, and the best haircuts in the city.

Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?

Everyone should go to Swensons because Lebron says so.

How do you hope Akron will be different in five years?

I believe that the City of Akron is at a pivotal place in its history from an economic, social, and spiritual standpoint, I hope in the next 5 years the next generation of leaders arise and lead the people of our city into all goodness.

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