“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:
Polsky Building South Corner, 225 South Main Street
A collection of international Rock & Roll music posters and news and magazine articles from the journey of The Black Keys are aglow in the south corner of the Polsky Building. The American duo rock band formed in Akron, Ohio in 2001 and emerged as one of the most popular garage rock artists during the second wave of the genere's revival in the 2010's. The posters are artworks in themselves as they were artisan made to promote shows that were performed at venues including Coachella Valley, CA, Madison Square Gardens in NYC, NY, Le Bataclan in Paris, France and many other cities across the world including Melbourne, Australia, Tokyo, Japan, and back to Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Hand-selected from the collection of Mary and Chuck Auerbach, the posters and articles are displayed on a brick background to emulate an urban concert venue wall.
O'Neil's Building, 222 South Main Street
These are the faces of Northeast Ohio. Couturiers. Architects. Designers. Painters. Photographers. Sculptors. Musicians. Poets. Teachers. Muses all. Photographed by Laura Ruth Bidwell.
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.
Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 South High Street
Sign Waves is a user driven interactive display station that captures the gestures of onlookers, which in turn become looped material for the art. The first project in The Optics of Memory series, SignWaves was designed through the leadership of Diane Davis-Sikora with the assistance of co-collaborators Bo_Sheng Liu, Chip Clark, electronic artist Chris Yewell, and over *50 CAED Design Students in final production. (*College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Kent State University.)
Everett Building, 39 East Market Street
Dennis Wojtkiewicz is best known for his exploration of light in his oversized oil paintings of fruit and flowers. Each subject is encapsulated and transfixed with a heightened approach to realism. The symbiotic relationship of color and technique instills the work with an interior glow and palpable sense of spirit.
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.
Sojourner Truth Building, 37 North High Street
A Crown, a Necklace and a String of Jewels is a tribute to Sojourner Truth for the persistent activism in her campaign for women’s rights, tireless work as an abolitionist and the pursuit of justice for all. This site specific installation by Jeffry Chiplis and Dana L. Depew is made of reclaimed argon and neon signage.
United Building, 1 South Main Street
This mixed-media showcase features the work of Jonah Jacobs, John Comunale, Matt Miller, Christopher Hoot, Jim Leverton, Timothy "C-Rex" Johnson and Anthony "Nino" Meyo along side two works from www.HieronymusObjects.com, painters Mary A. Waters and Charles Bierk.
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.
68 East Mill Street, Greystone
Summit County artist, Ron White, creates Distorted Ceramic Portrait Sculptures and Charcoal Murals, both of which are on display directly across from the James L. and John S. Knight Center. The busts depict portraits of human emotion, behavior, interaction and reaction. These people are characterized to exhibit a notable moment of humor, politics, personal style, or the struggle of the morning ritual.
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.