Akron, OH – The Akron Art Museum highlights regional artists with the upcoming fall exhibitions Akron Art Mail, on view now, and Making Your Mark, beginning November 5, as well as an artist conversation series titled On Process available on the museum’s website.
These initiatives are part of the Museum’s concerted effort to develop new connections with the regional artists’ community. “We are glad to have the opportunity to celebrate creative artists in our region. I believe that there is so much talent in this area, and we want to be able to highlight it,” Jon Fiume, Interim Executive Director, said. Three initiatives launch this fall with more coming in 2021.
Akron Art Mail is on view now through February 21 in the Judith Bear Isroff Gallery. This exhibition includes commissioned postcard-sized works from fifteen regional artists and ten writers. The commissioned artworks have been printed on postcards and are available to the public at no cost by picking them up from the Museum’s community partners of this project, such as the Akron Summit County Public Library.
In addition, the Museum is distributing blank cards for free to any community members who would like to create their own art. If returned to the Museum, these cards will also be included in the exhibition. As postcards are received, this exhibition will continue to expand to more and more surfaces around the gallery. The project will also be documented in an ebook catalog online once complete.
Making Your Mark begins on November 5, 2020, through March 14, 2021, in the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation Gallery. The show includes nine regional artists, focusing attention on their diligent, skillful work to connect visitors to the people behind the art. Instead of traditional labels beside the art, viewers can explore quotes from the artists and displays of some of the tools they use. The artists also created virtual tours from pictures and sounds from their studios to give a first-hand, intimate sense of their craft. Tours will be available on the Museum’s website.
“We wanted to showcase art that is appreciably more interesting in real life,” Seema Rao, Deputy Director & Chief Experience Officer, said. “Certainly, they are lovely online if you are unable to visit. But, if you are able to do a socially distant gallery visit, you will be rewarded with exceptionally, finely crafted works made by artists in our region.”
Admission to the Museum is free for all through December 31, so visitors can see both exhibitions while on view this holiday season.
On Process is a video series that also highlights artists and how they create through pre-recorded conversations with 27 regional artists who share details about themselves and each of their unique, creative processes. All conversations are posted to the website so viewers can watch them at any time and for educators to use as resources. The far-ranging conversations explore many issues of contemporary life including COVID, the challenges of the art world, and racism. The Museum is featuring one artist per week on Saturdays on social media starting now.
These three initiatives were undertaken with pay equity in mind. Artists were consulted to help determine equitable pay rates. All the artists were paid for their time and loans of work. “As one of the artists in Akron Art Mail, April Bleakney, says ‘Art is Work.’ We’re happy we’ve had the opportunity to work with over thirty regional artists and authors this season. We’ll continue to find ways to add to the region’s creative economy with our offerings. A healthy arts culture is important to us. These new additions to our galleries and content were made possible with collaborative planning and curation between many departments. The staff did a wonderful job creating these outlets for regional artists to be a part of the Museum, and I’m looking forward to learning more about artists in the community as the new exhibitions go on display.”
These projects allow the Museum to continue to financially invest in the local arts economy and to provide emerging artists with a platform to engage with the community. With this focus on regional artists, the Museum aims to celebrate and showcase their great work to the community. See a full list of the artists involved below.
Akron Art Mail Visual Artists:
Justin Michel Will
Gary and Laura Dumm
Lauren Mckenzie Noel
Akron Art Mail Authors:
Making Your Mark Artists:
Amber N. Ford
Erykah Townsend (E.T.)
On Process Artists:
Horrible Adorables (Jordan Perme & Christopher Lees)
Maria Alejandra Zanetta
Dr. Mary E. Weems
Erykah Townsend (E.T.)
Amber N. Ford