Art review: Curated Storefront makes downtown windows vibrant

Cities are living organisms that change from day to day and year to year. As time passes, some parts of a city can get left behind. This happens for a variety of reasons, because of lack of money, or because the pressure to make a substantive change is too great, and people just can’t comprehend it.

Akron is no different than countless cities throughout North America. Parts of Akron highlight the robust, diverse and quality community we know it to be and other parts seemingly limp along. While we would all love for them to become more vibrant, and of course we would support that type of growth, how to start that ball rolling might be out of our grasp.

One area of Akron that has struggled in the past is its downtown. A group called the Curated Storefront is working to bring it new energy.

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Pictured: Reverie by Ian Brill.
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Curated Storefront works to attract investment to downtown Akron through public art displays

AKRON, Ohio - Akronites will want to navigate the orange barrels downtown this month and check out new art installations in storefronts on Main and Mill streets, and in the Northside Arts District.

Curated Storefront is a 2016 $100,000 Knight Arts Challenge winner that aims to showcase buildings that are abandoned, with a few under renovation, through ongoing, curated exhibitions. The current multimedia work ranges from brilliantly lit LED displays to digitally printed, cut and folded paper houses.

The idea is to draw people into downtown and activate the properties, some of which sat empty for years but sold or were rented within months of being highlighted through the project, said Executive Director Rick Rogers.

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ACF funds distribute $2.2 million in quarterly grants, Curated Storefront a recipient

AKRON, Ohio (June 8, 2018) – Today, Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors approved grants totaling $2,217,890, including $588,500 in competitive arts and culture grants chosen by the foundation’s Community Investment Committee.

This quarter’s arts and culture funding included a $5,000 grant to The Curated Storefront to bring vibrancy to downtown Akron through window art displays in vacant street-level buildings.

The Curated Storefront is a series of ongoing exhibitions that will revitalize unused storefronts in downtown Akron with multimedia art installations along Main, Market and Exchange streets. To date, the project has transformed more than 40 spaces in prominent locations like Cascade Plaza and the United Building.

Curated Storefront Director Richard Rogers said the exhibitions are attracting new businesses to Akron.

“My idea is to use art in these empty storefronts to attract more commercial development downtown and bring people here to live and re-energize Akron,” Rogers said. “We’ve heard a lot of good feedback from the community. We’ve had some storefronts that have been empty for a number of years, including where Akronym Brewing is now located. That space was empty for eight years, and we programmed it for about six months before it was rented.”

... read more of the article by clicking the headline text and watch the video segment detailing many of this quarter's recipients.

To find the current Curated Storefront exhibitions around town, click

WKSU Reports: Curated Storefront Puts Art at Downtown Akron's Street Level

"Passing through downtown Akron will now be a little more colorful thanks to a project called Curated Storefront. The project puts art installations in buildings at street-level, including vacant spaces, in an effort to make urban areas more welcoming. There are 13 installations in all."

Click the title link to experience the full segment by WKSU Producer, Andrew Atkins.

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Artist Ron White Featured in Western Reserve PBS TV Show Around Akron with Blue Green

Curated Storefront artist Ron White is one of three artists featured in the Western Reserve PBS TV show Around Akron with Blue Green. Click the title to navigate to the 30 minute broadcast and learn about some of the Movers and Shakers that make this city great.

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