“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. This project will engage audiences through the physical transformation of the city's neglected and underutilized urban spaces. It will facilitate opportunities for unexpected and exciting encounters with the city and its buildings. To see sites under consideration for The Curated Storefront click the box below: 


Featured Storefronts

Standard Savings Building, 174 South Main Street

Action Man! is a collaboration of work by performance artist Daiv Whaley and photographer Emily Durway which was inspired by some sci-fi aspects of Akron's architecture as well as David Bowie song lyrics. Each character's name, like Guy Gemini, is derived from a Bowie lyric and its action speaks to important subjects like environmental conservation, racism and sexuality, governmental control, God, pilgrimage and freedom.


Building #2, 31-37 North Main Street

Reverie is a programmatic light Installation by Pittsburgh-based artist Ian Brill. Animated Architecture. 46 windows. 1610 LED-lit cells. 


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.


O'Neil Building, 222 South Main Street

Garden City by Michael Loderstedt is made of digitally printed, cut, folded and glued paper houses, dried plants, monofilament, hardware, and text. A paper house may be obtained after the exhibition closes in exchange for making a $50 donation (each) to ACCESS Shelter & Housing, an Akron service provider for homeless women and children at www.access-shelter.org Please add “Curated Storefront” to the message box when you make your donation.


O'Neil's Building, 222 South Main Street

The Importance of Being Windows by Rita Montlack consists of 48 archival digital photographs of windows shot all over the world as well as locally. They are exhibited on eight storm windows along with their attached screens.


Little Mayflower, 275-279 South Main Street

Artist Candy Coated installed graphic vinyl stickers to black PVC panels titled Energy Flows from Serpents Lips, Drips, and Butterfly Wings, 2018.  The symbols of transformation and renewal that decorate the neglected storefronts have renewed them, providing the way for future growth and prosperity.


Birth & Death Building, 368 South Main Street

Krunchworks' Dominic Falcione created a masking tape mural with 10 colors of tape on plastic film that was backlit to produce a bright and colorful nighttime display which enlivens the entire building. This installation was created one line of tape at a time and the overall colors and effect of the design is transformed by the changing of the background color of light.


Whitelaw Building, 178 South Main Street & Akron Civic Theatre Kiosk

For the historic Art Deco storefront and The Akron Civic Theatre Kiosk, Candy Coated of www.CandyCoated.org chose inspirational imagery found in Japanese and Chinese decorative arts to highlight the beauty of these modern and historic architectural designs highlighting them with vibrant graphics in magenta, bubble gum pink, lime green, and golden yellow.  Vivid cobalt blue lighting on the Whitelaw building activates the night with a moving water effect that compliments the swimming fish and flower vinyl stickered landscape.


The Law Building, 161 South Main Street

Over the past two decades, Yinka Shonibare MBE has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and postcolonialism within the contemporary context of globalization. Working in painting, sculpture, photography, film and performance, Shonibare’s work examines race, class and the construction of cultural identity through sharp political commentary of the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. Odile and Odette, 2005 is on view at The Law Building on  S. Main Street.


The Law Building, 161 South Main Street

Akron area photographer, Dale Dong, has always been fascinated with classical art and contemporary dance. Dance adds form and substance to music. It makes visible the emotional content of music. These images have no sound but communicate the power of the special moments made by the combined artistry of choreographer, composer, lighting designer, and dancer. Even when juxtaposed over an underutilized interior background, the images of dancers catalyze movement.


The Law Building, 165 South Main Street

For the last five years, John R. Buchtel Community Learning Center 10th Grade Biology Students have been studying and photographing microscopic wonders that range from normal to diseased tissues, bacteria, microscopic animals and plants. By enlarging the common samples to a human-sized scale, one can experience the complex exquisiteness typically only seen by science professionals. 


Polsky Building, 225 South Main Street

This wall by Building Bytes, LLC is constructed out of 100 3D printed ceramic bricks that are installed in the storefront of the historic Polsky Building. The design of the brick is inspired by the existing ornate exterior terra-cotta tiles of the former department store.


Akron Savings & Loan Building, 156 South Main Street

On the first floor of one of Akron's sky scrapers, painters Steve Levey and Casey Vogt collaborated to create an installation of DayGlo paint, colorful tape and black lights, which illuminate the corner of Bowery and Main Streets. On the Main Street side is an installation of fluorescent light fixtures, colored filters, and tubes.


Osterman Building, 168 South Main Street

RGB by artists Steve Levey and Casey Vogt is exhibited along the block of the Akron Civic Theatre.


68 East Mill Street, Greystone

The mixed media tableau installation, Hazel Tree Wonderland, is made of hand-dyed rayon, wool roving, silk textiles, two Akron architectural salvaged relics, and more. Designed to draw you in closer, peek into the back left window past the witchy black lace curtain and get a sense of the nocturnal feel and mood of this textile forest. Three artists, Karen Starr, Chelsea Uhl, and Sophie Franchi, worked together to create this fantastical storefront experience.


Polsky Building North Upper Hallway, 225 South Main Street

Akron Soul Train, a non-profit organization that supports artists through a fellowship program, has a variety of visual artists to showcase. Exhibited in this storefront is the work of seven artists from its 2016 through 2018 program, John Sokol, Eva Kwong, Jenniffer Omatiz, Gabe Gott, Stephen Tomasko, Michelle Droll, and Danny Volk.


Mayflower Manor, 263 South Main Street

Kent, Ohio based painter Rachel Jernigan has lived and worked around Akron her entire life and has always wanted it to become a big city. Taking inspiration from this desire, she created works that combined Akron's industrial past with its vibrant present in this exhibit, Welcome to Akron. By combining black, white, and grey patterned backgrounds with symbolic images, her paintings of The Scenic Cuyahoga and Birds of Paradise brighten up the downtown area, while paying homage to its history.