How to get your arts fix in Akron
by Bronlynn Thurman
Every year there are major art events happening in Akron. You just need to know where to look.
Akron Arts Expo is an annual juried fine arts and craft show held one weekend in the summer at Hardesty Park. It features over a hundred artists. It is free to attend and offers music, food and interactive activities. The weekend also pairs “Taste of Akron” and a wine tasting with the expo. Visit akronartsexpo.org to keep up-to-date with 2016’s event.
Akron Art Prize
Every autumn, The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation sponsors a massive art competition called the Akron Art Prize. The competition involves several area galleries and hundreds of local artists. This gives many artists the opportunity to showcase their work to a wider public. But it also engages the community by allowing them to travel to each participating gallery and vote on their favorite piece via an app. The winner is awarded a grand prize and there are a couple of runner-ups. Visit akronartprize.org for information on how to submit.
On March 12, Akron’s creative community will gather for an annual festival to celebrate culture, art and music. This upcoming year, it will be held at the Summit Artspace. They use a sustainable, zero waste framework while creating a space that allows people to express themselves without judgment. Interactive art, musical performances, yoga classes and food overlap over the course of the day-long festival. Visit the Facebook page for all the up-to-date information — facebook.com/BigLoveAkron
While the organizers have been putting on events for crafters and artisans since 2009, once the group started operating as a non-profit, they’ve been offering events almost every calendar month. There’s the original big events — the Mom and Pop Shoppe (April 2, 2016) and the namesake Crafty Mart (every Small Business Saturday) — but now they’ve added monthly pop-ups during downtown’s Art Walk (Summit Artspace, 3rd Floor). In 2015, the org even hosted Akron Farm & Flea and a special winter pop-up at Lock 3. If you’re into handmade goods, visit craftymart.org for details.
Started by local artists, the monthly Artwalk in downtown Akron has become a consistent event in the community. Every first Saturday of the month, starting at 5 pm, the downtown area galleries open their doors to the public for a big art fest. The city provides free trolley service during the evening and it’s free to attend. The participating galleries and exhibits change each month so it’s always a new experience.
“What happens when art class meets cabaret?” Every first Wednesday of the month, Akron’s chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School meets, usually at Jilly’s Music Room, for three hours of life drawing centered around a specific theme. Run by local artist Bill Lynn, Dr. Sketchy’s involves art, music, beer and prizes. You can also catch them at Oddmall Typically it’s $10 to attend. Check them online to find out the current location and more — facebook.com/DrSketchyAkron
DEVO founder, Mark Mothersbaugh, is an Akron native, a talented artist and a famous musician. From May 27 through August 28, Mark Mothersbaugh’s “Myopia” exhibit will be featured at both the Akron Art Museum and the Museum Of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Cleveland. The exhibit will span work from 1970 to present and is the first retrospective of the artist. The Akron portion of the exhibit will feature recent sculptures, prints, rugs and a collection of 30,000 postcard drawings while the Cleveland portion focuses more on his music, early sketchbooks, musical experimentation and the band’s commercial development. Visit both exhibits to get a fuller view of Mothersbaugh’s life, vision and art.
One-hundred percent free to the public, Oddmall is part art fair, part craft show, part comic con, part gaming festival, part cosplay extravaganza, part toy show, part antique show, part vintage fashion show, part geeksplosion, part music fest, part magic show, and part various undefinable othernesses. If it’s fun, artsy, geeky, crafty or odd, chances are it can be found at Oddmall. It’s the Emporium of the Weird. oddmall.info/ohio
Elves and art go together like wine and cheese. Where there is art, there is Bronlynn scouring the scene. Follow her journeys on IG and Twitter at @_bront_