New/Native: Akron Photographers

Compiled by M. Sophie Hamad and Katie Jackson



Name: Emily S. Durway

Occupation: Attorney and photographer

Hometown: Austin, TX

Neighborhood: Highland Square


What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar?

  1.  Many people haven’t walked the entire canal downtown, which is an amazing feature.
  2. Coach House Theater
  3. Cover-charge-free live, original music that is so accessible (alternative and rock and singer/songwriter). For Classical Music—Tuesday Musical Association has been around for over 125 years. They bring in national and international classical, brilliant musicians for a six-concert series each year. Much of the music is a mixture of various classical composers and modern, more avant garde pieces. All the concerts are free to University of Akron students and all area school-aged children. It is one of the things I invest in each year. They have worked with the Knight Foundation and many others so that they can bring in these famous and talented musicians for longer periods of time in order for them to give master classes for area public school students, orchestras, and bands.  Various groups have also performed at local senior living facilities.


What is your favorite local cultural asset?

The breadth of visual, literary and musical artists that are creating in the community is staggering.  The Knight Foundation, GAR, Mustard Seed in Highland Square, Blu Jazz, Uncorked, Musica, Coffee Pot, The Akronist, The Devil Strip, SummitLive365, Stan Hywet, Coach House Theater,  The Civic, Arts Alive (I know I am missing many of them) and other local patrons that provide space/funds for these endeavors. Without this infrastructure of venues, businesses and nonprofits, there would be little to no platform for artists.


When did you fall for Akron?  

I came to Akron to attend the School of Law at the University of Akron. My mother’s family is from Akron. My mom grew up here. My Grandfather Gustely was a teacher and then principal at an Akron Elementary School. My Uncle Bob Gustely was a guidance counselor at Firestone High School, and my Aunt Annie Gustely was a guidance counselor at Akron Elementary Schools. I used to  visit every summer. Seeing Shakespeare at an early age, at Stan Hywet, left a huge impression on me as a child.  I still love live theater.  


As a transplant, and not just a visitor—I fell in love with Akron when I started going to the Howe Meadow Farmers’ Market and then the Art Walk once a month. I met so many people that were local artists and artisans. I realized what a supportive, energetic community existed in Akron. On a single Saturday I could go to a farmers’ market, walk around the Ira Trailhead, see local artists’ work, listen to an original band at a club and go out for drinks downtown.  


Where in Akron do you like to escape?

The Summit County Metro Parks is where I escape. So close to the city, you are transported to small trails and beautiful vistas.  


Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?

Nepali Kitchen’s food is delicious, inexpensive, exotic and feels like home, all at the same time.



Name: Tim Fitzwater

Occupation: Commercial Photographer

Hometown: Bath

Neighborhood: North Hill


What do you wish was more on Akronites’ radar?

I wish more Akronites realized that they can get involved and impact the direction of the city – the groups working hard to make Akron better want their help.


What is your favorite local cultural asset?

The Towpath Trail, Freedom Trail, Hike and Bike Trail, and biking opportunities in general (but there is always room for improvement).


When did you fall for Akron?  

Growing up my Dad always took us downtown for events such as the Corporate Challenge and Kids Are Number One Run – I thought the “big city” was so cool and bustling. At the time I didn’t realize Akron was then a ghost town in the evening and on weekends.


Where in Akron do you like to escape?

The Matinee


Why should everyone try your favorite local restaurant?

Everyone should ride their bike down to Fisher’s in Peninsula and sit on the patio – they now have a decent craft beer draft list and their food is much better than the chain-like stuff at The Lizard.



Photo of Emily Durway by Emily Durway

Photo of Tim Fitzwater by Tim Fitzwater