news release: Akron Art Museum to Create a One Acre Art Park in Downtown Akron
For Release: July 9, 2015
Akron, Ohio—The Akron Art Museum is enlivening the landscape of the city—both literally and culturally—with the creation of the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden in July 2015. The garden will reinvigorate a static one acre tract of land along the south side of the museum, creating a new civic commons in the heart of downtown Akron. Embodying the art museum’s commitment to civic engagement and economic development, the garden will welcome a range of activities, including introspection, exploration, expression, social interactions and meaningful art experiences.
Akron Art Museum Executive Director and CEO Mark Masuoka said, "The Akron Art Museum will continue to take a leading role in the community as a change agent for education as well as cultural, civic and economic development. Our community and its leaders understand the potential for the arts to enliven and enrich lives, to attract and retain talent and to inspire innovation and develop new economic opportunities.”
The art museum will manage and program the space, however, the garden will be open to the public and available to visitors for a range of creative activities, such as a trailhead for bicyclists, a picnic and play space for families, an outdoor space for yoga or even an exploration space for urban naturalists.
Masuoka said, “The Bud and Susie Rogers Garden will function as an art park and community space that will transform the urban landscape of downtown. The garden is just the first drop that will create a ripple effect of cultural development that we will champion in the blocks surrounding the current footprint of the museum.”
After extensive community and museum staff input, Philadelphia-based landscape architecture firm OLIN Partners created a design faithful to the concepts of creative placemaking. The garden incorporates a series of green spaces that will link South High Street to South Broadway along the south side of the art museum. 24-hour public access will be provided by a tree-lined direct pathway connecting South High and South Broadway on the garden’s southern edge. The pathway will invite varied walking paces, including contemplative and meditative walks, while fulfilling pragmatic point A to point B pedestrian travel in grace and beauty.
The garden has been made possible by a lead gift from Rick and Alita Rogers, and will be named in honor of Rick Rogers’ parents, longtime community volunteers and museum supporters, Bruce “Bud” Rogers and his wife, Suzanne “Susie” Rogers. “We are happy that this pledge will return money made in Akron to the community that helped make our success possible,” said Rick Rogers. Alita Rogers currently serves on the board of directors of the Akron Art Museum and is chair of its Governance Committee. Rick Rogers was president of the board when the museum broke ground in 2004 for the celebrated John S. and James L. Knight Building.
“We are extremely thankful to the Rogers family for their generous lead gift,” Masuoka said. “With their help, we will develop the garden into a truly innovative public space, giving everyone the opportunity to have a meaningful art experience and further embodying the Akron Art Museum as a public art space for creative expression and exploration.”
Masuoka also offered his thanks to the city of Akron for additional support, saying “We are grateful for the assistance we’ve received from the city of Akron. Their vision and enthusiasm for this project has been an important part of its realization. Thanks to the city, we will be able to offer the added benefit of free parking in the South High Street parking deck to our members.”
The Bud and Susie Rogers garden will begin construction in July 2015, with limited programming and usage beginning in late fall 2015 and winter 2016. A grand opening of the garden is planned for spring 2016.
Accompanying Image: Axonometric View of the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden © OLIN 2015.
About Bud and Susie Rogers
Bud Rogers is the former president and chief executive of the B.W. Rogers Co. He has volunteered with the American Red Cross, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, Sumner on Ridgewood and the United Way of Summit County. He has been board president of each organization and was general chairman of the 1999 United Way campaign.
Susie Rogers is an emeritus member of the board of governors for Akron Golf Charities, past board president of the Junior League of Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association and Akron Garden Club, and past president of the Western Reserve Academy/Pioneer Women. She has also helped with financial campaigns for the Boys and Girls Clubs and United Way.
In 2007, Bud and Susie received the H. Peter Burg Community Leadership Award from the Red Cross, Summit County Chapter. In 2008, they received the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. Both are past recipients of the United Way's Distinguished Service Award.
About the Akron Art Museum
The Akron Art Museum, dedicated to enriching lives through modern and contemporary art, showcases regional, national and international art created since 1850. The museum’s collection is presented in a spectacular facility designed by Viennese architectural firm Coop Himmelb(l)au and includes over 5,000 works of art, with a strong focus on contemporary painting, sculpture and photography. Nearly a dozen exhibitions each year present prominent artists in various media including painting, sculpture, photography, video, design and glass.
In addition to its ever-changing collection and exhibitions, the museum offers many opportunities to discover new perspectives through programs that include films and video, lectures, workshops, tours and concerts.
Address: One South High, Akron, OH 44308
Gallery, Store and iQcafé Hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 11 am – 5 pm, Thursday: 11 am – 9 pm, Closed Monday and Tuesday and most major holidays
Library Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 11 am – 4 pm
Admission: Adult general admission is $7, Student and Senior (65+) general admission is $5, Children (17 and under) are FREE, members are FREE. Gallery admission is FREE every Thursday.