Transforming Akron to a viable and attractive urban destination through the arts.

The Curated Storefront is a series of ongoing exhibitions that activates unused storefronts with multimedia art installations in downtown Akron, Ohio along Main, Market and Exchange Streets.

“Streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city, are its most vital organs. Think of a city and what comes to mind? Its streets. If a city’s streets look interesting, the city looks interesting; if they look dull, the city looks dull.”

~ Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

Downtown Akron was once full of life and energy. Today, much of its street-level infrastructure is vacant. By engaging audiences through the physical transformation of the city's neglected and underutilized urban spaces our team will facilitate opportunities for unexpected and exciting encounters with the city and its buildings.

To see sites considered for The Curated Storefront click the box below: 

Featured Storefronts

O'Neil Building, 222 King James Way

Percolator, by artist Mark Schatz, is a mixed-media installation that presents the built environment through the lens of geological time, in a state of slow but constant collision and invention. It fills the broad expanse of the O’Neil building windows with a mural-like abstraction of geological layers, pierced by peep holes and cave-like openings to reveal kaleidoscopic and crystalline representations of familiar landscape and architectural forms.

The Law Building, 161 King James Way

Amidst the harried construction on Main Street, a light wooden boat hangs mid-air. Over seven feet in length with a single paper airplane suspended above, Blackbird: For A Brown Baby Boy offers an imagined space where Lee Howard Dobbins, an enslaved child who ran north along the Underground Railroad in 1853, might have been free. With visual and sonic elements continuing inside the building’s lobby, this collaborative installation by artist Johnny Coleman and curator Joseph L. Underwood invites introspection and recalibration of perspective regarding the grave effects of devaluing our neighbor’s personhood.

68 East Mill Street, Greystone

Summit County artist, Micah Kraus, created new work by responding to surroundings and things he encounters in his neighborhood. By combining laser engraved monotypes, paper, ink, gold leaf, wood, and digital video with inspiration from the words of artist George Georgiou “remind myself of the significance of the ordinary and familiar that is right in front of my nose.”, Board-Up / Gilded Storefront emerged.

Cascade Plaza, 1 Cascade Plaza

Displacement is an examination of space, material and pattern along with consideration of regional history and sense of place native to Akron. The two sculptural pieces of recycled tires, steel, and wood on view at Cascade Plaza were made by artists Drew Ippoliti and Charlie O’Geen with assistance from Julie George, Morgan Jones, Catie Newell, and Kayla Weinman.

106 North Main Street, Northside

Installation artist Kit Freund has interest in the transformational power of humble materials and simple forms, which he expresses in Four Lamps. In this exhibit located in the Northside District of the city, he used concrete, light, and wood to make the space mysterious and intriguing.

Polsky Building South, 225 King James Way

Painter Max Markwald, a recent graduate of The University of Akron’s Myers School of Art, explores iconic figures and gender identities in his work. By painting large scale realistic portraits of ordinary people, the artist transforms his subjects into icons. The two largest oil paintings on display measure 90 inches by 72 inches and easily fill one set of windows. The scale of these two works alone, invites you to further investigate the detail used to define each iconic character.

Polsky Building Corners, 225 King James Way

To enliven both corners of the Polsky Building drawing attention from one block to the next, artist team Steve Levey and Casey Vogt installed a series of colored filtered lights titled, Color Me Impressed #1-#4. The intermixed fluorescent and LED lights can be easily viewed both day and night and can be seen from the far parking lot behind the Akron Civic Theatre.

The Law Building, 163 King James Way

A graduate of the Myers School of Art at The University of Akron, artist Winnie Daulbaugh’s most recent works include autobiographical prints, sculptures and installations that address vulnerability, relationships, and celebration. Through examining her role in a family dynamic fractured by alcoholism, and with the new found sobriety of a loved one influencing her greatly, she is able to document and work through past, current and future struggles in her practice. My sweetest friend, you could have it all … my empire of dirt., 2018 is a site specific installation located in the Law Building. It is inspired by the same ideas where the imagery was created through analyzing memories and recent occurrences as well as dissecting music, she feels, describes a certain feeling, place or time in her life.

Polsky Building North, 225 King James Way

A curated selection of student work by the Myers School of Art, The University of Akron, Painting League is exhibited in the north display of the historic Polsky Building. Led by artist and professor of painting and drawing Matthew Kolodziej, the students in the intermediate and advanced painting courses explored their own interests, researched, and developed compositional ideas which led to their final pieces. Passion for image making and exploration of how materials can form content are what link the works on display.

The Law Building, 165 King James Way

Local gallerist and photographer Darlene VerSluys enjoys capturing beauty in nature and augmenting her images with vivid color. In this digital photography series, Movement of Water, she focused her eye on playful sections of water, made the images larger than life, and added her own touch of color theory to make the corner of Church and Main Streets downtown come alive.

263 King James Way, Mayflower Manor

Artist Dragana Crnjak likes to think of the drawing and painting process as structuring the air, embracing its absurdity yet believing in its potential to reveal meaning. In her latest body of work, As if Staying, she uses images of collected patterns found within Siberian ethnic embroideries. The process of manipulating and enlarging these domestic and small-scale elements into abstracted landscape-like fields, conceals and transforms the scale and nature of something mundane and familiar into something unknown, new, and even peculiar.