90th Anniversary


By Antoinette George, Communications Intern 

On February 1, 1922, the Akron Art Museum opened its doors as the Akron Art Institute in two borrowed rooms in the basement of the city’s public library. In the past 90 years, the museum has survived and grown despite significant hardships including the Great Depression a disastrous fire, World War II and multiple moves. Today, the Akron Art Museum occupies two iconic buildings and boasts a world-renowned collection of over 5,000 objects. The dream of the Institute’s founding committee to become a collecting institution holding work of national significance and offering art exhibitions of historical and modern international art has been realized.

The museum celebrated this momentous anniversary with a Community Open House on February 5, 2012. Nearly 2300 visitors enjoyed free admission to the collection and exhibition galleries and a mesmerizing performance by Ohio abstract performance artist Al Bright, who was accompanied by the Jesse Dandy Band. Visitors also enjoyed cupcakes and cakes with images of some of the museum’s most popular artwork.

Akron Mayor Donald L. Plusquellic recognized February as Akron Art Museum Month in honor of the museum’s many achievements through the years. In his proclamation he encouraged all to continue to visit this important institution that has been and continues to be essential to our region’s cultural heritage.

Al Bright presented the community with an unforgettable experience of abstract performance art. For over four decades, Bright has explored the realm of abstract expressionism by creating art to live music in front of public audiences. This interesting form of art allows Bright to include the audience in the piece’s creation. He reminded the audience that their energy and response were important stimulants to his creative process. In addition to the audience’s participation, the different selections of jazz played by the Jesse Dandy Band also provided Bright with artistic inspiration.

This celebration rewarded the community with an elaborate setting of appreciation and reminded visitors of the important role they play in helping the Akron Art Museum continue its mission of Enriching Lives through Modern Art.

More anniversary activities are being planned through the year to inspire and engage the community.