Gamers find Pokemon and artwork in downtown Akron

On Saturday afternoon, the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau hoped to entice at least some of those gamers to experience the public art covering walls and storefronts downtown and perhaps catch a shiny Squirtle or secure a coveted mythical Celebi.

The event, dubbed Good Art Hunting, is one of three planned here over the next few months and is being spearheaded by Roger Riddle, the visitors bureau’s marketing and social media manager, in collaboration with the game’s creator. It came about from a Niantic/Knight Fellowship designed to enhance community programs and is among similar events in cities like Philadelphia; Macon, Ga.; and Charlotte, N.C.

Halfway through Akron’s event on Saturday, more than 50 people were wandering the streets looking for the digital monster and, planners hoped, absorbing the public art.

People turn out

Akronites Jennifer Homan and her 6-year-old daughter, Alaina Showden, were walking near the Akron Civic Theatre hoping to sneak up on a Shiny Pikachu but also enjoying the nondigital visuals.

“I actually like the art,” Homan said. “We come down at least once a week and see the different paintings that are on the streets anyways. Gives her a bit of culture.”

Homan has been playing traditional Pokemon for more than a decade and has spread her love of the game to her little one over the past year.

“I found a Pikachu!” Alaina said proudly.

While the mother and daughter team often walk downtown to check out the various art offerings, Homan does think the event will achieve its other goal.

“It does actually bring people out,” Homan said. “I never see this many people down here just Pokemon-ing. It’s not what you see a lot, so that’s good. Gives them a little bit of a workout.”

“The art’s my thing. Most are just here for the Pokemon, but I like them both,” she said. …

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Artwork pictured on left: Paper Plane IX by Nuno Viegas
Artwork pictured on right: Polsky Pattern by Brian Peters of Building Bytes, LLC