Akron – The Akron Art Museum and Akron-Summit County Public Library’s new Akron Art Mail project aims to put art and writing into the hands of people throughout our community. The project has three main components: commissioned art postcards offered free for patrons, an exhibition of community-created art postcards open from October 15-February 21 st , and an e-book catalog of the project.
“COVID has transformed our society, with increased isolation and decreased opportunities for authentic experiences. Our goal is to find ways to connect people to art and each other,” Jon Fiume, Interim Executive Director, said. “We hope people share these postcards with friends and share their experience with the program on social media. We know the gift of art can enliven anyone’s day.” The Museum commissioned fifteen regional artists and ten writers to produce postcard-sized works. The postcards will be distributed through the Akron-Summit County Public Library and additional community partners around Akron such as IBH Addiction Recovery Center, Choices: a Community Social Center, Mustard Seed Market and Cafe-Highland Square, Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, and Ronald McDonald House of Akron.
This project allows the Museum to continue to invest in the local arts economy and to provide emerging artists a platform to engage with the community while also maintaining the safety of those involved. Despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic, the program allows the Museum to create a community-wide impact by making the postcards available for free.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership with the Museum to support local artists and to engage the community as we continue to work through the ripple effects of the COVID pandemic,” Library Executive Director Pam Hickson-Stevenson said. “The Library’s role as a provider of information and ideas for creative use of leisure time make it well-suited as a distributor of postcards. It’s a fitting extension of our partnership with the Museum on bringing the Akron Art Library to life.”
The project also hopes to spark individual creativity, as the Museum will distribute blank cards for community members to create their own art. These cards will be addressed to the Museum and, if sent back, will be included in an exhibition of the community’s submissions alongside the commissioned art postcards from local creators. Mr Fiume explains, “We are very excited to see what the people of Akron send us, and to share their best expressions as we display their creativity on the walls of the Museum.” The exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Isroff exhibition gallery. As additional postcards are returned, this display will continue to expand to more and more surfaces around the gallery—with enough submissions, the Museum hopes to have the space thoroughly enveloped by these community creations. The exhibition will also be presented in full online. The many postcards in the exhibition are not intended to center around one particular theme or topic. Instead, the Museum hopes that they will embody the present moment, with all of its disruptions, frustrations, possibilities, and promise.
The work of the commissioned artists will be preserved on Summit Memory and the entire project, including many community submitted works, will be documented in an e-book that will be available for free through the Akron-Summit County Public Library.
Justin Michael Will
Gary and Laura Dumm
Lauren Mckenzie Noel