Mr. East Akron

Art Minson, a life of service.

by Bronlynn Thurman


When you’re driving south down Arlington, you may have noticed a large mural of a waving older man with the words “Mr. East Akron” over his head. You may have wondered who Mr. East Akron is and what he did to receive such an honor. Well, I did some digging.

Art Minson was a man who dedicated his life to helping the east Akron area thrive. For more than 50 years, Minson volunteered his time and gave as much as he could to Akron. Having worked at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. for 40 years, he helped create a credit union for African Americans to help them get home loans after being turned away and became president of the United Rubber Workers. He would often take trips to D.C. to lobby for civil rights and was a life member of the NAACP.

But there’s so much more to this fantastic man’s legacy. Minson was an advisor for the Millennium Fund for Children, a board member of Ohio Citizen Action, volunteered with the East Akron Community House and Akron Community Foundation and created a soup kitchen and food pantry for St. John’s CME Church. He was instrumental in the creation of the East Akron Development Corporation and when he received the national JCPenney Golden Rule Award along with $10,000, he donated the money so that children in a low-income building could have a playground.

As a young man, Minson was a trumpet player. He started his own band called the Art Minson Band and played with greats like Duke Ellington and Count Basie. He was also a part of the Goodyear Band that played across the country at schools and hospitals during World War II.

Minson passed away in 2005, and from 2010-2012, local artist, small business owner and art teacher Micah Kraus, along with some area middle and high school students, constructed the mural to honor this great man.

“I’ve never made a fortune,

and I’ll never make one now.

But it really doesn’t matter,

because I’m happy anyhow.

As I go along my journey,

I’m reaping better than I’ve sowed.

I’m drinking from the saucer,

because my cup has overflowed.”


(Featured image by Bronlynn Thurman)

Bronlynn searches for the stories behind the art. Follower her on Twitter and Instagram @_bront_.