Drumm also created the original First Night button 20 years ago. The button will be worn by thousands of revelers for admission to 10 venues on Thursday, Dec. 31, from 6 p.m. to midnight.
The inaugural First Night Akron took place on Dec. 31, 1996 not only to welcome 1997 but the start of a renaissance in Downtown Akron. The streets and businesses looked very different then, but the goal of the event was the same as it is now: to celebrate the arts in a family-friendly, affordable way with thousands of revelers in the heart of the city.
Drumm’s design that year was a moon, something he felt would be most appropriate as the activities took place at night. His creation set the standard for other button artists in the years to come.
His creation for the 20th year is not a sun, a moon or even a cat, but a colorful bird. Resembling a phoenix, his design speaks to the transformation and regeneration of Downtown Akron and how far the vibrancy of the neighborhood has come since 1996. Much like the phoenix who rises from the flames reborn, Downtown Akron has done – and continues to do – the same.
Don Drumm was born in Warren, Ohio in 1935. After studying medicine for two years at Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio, he decided to pursue a career in art. He transferred to Kent State University, where he received a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in art. He subsequently worked as a designer for the Industrial Design firm “Smith, Scherr and McDermott” for two years. In 1960, Drumm opened his own studio, as a full-time practicing sculptor and designer/craftsman near the University of Akron. In 1971, together with his wife, Lisa Drumm, he expanded the studio to incorporate a one-room gallery. Since then the enterprise has grown extensively and now embraces eight buildings, providing gallery facilities for over 500 artists and studio space for three resident artists.
First Night Akron is a family-friendly celebration of the arts with more than 70 music, dance, theater, art and interactive experiences for guests of all ages. This year, Lock 3 has been added to the footprint bringing the total number of venues to 10.
Admission buttons are now on sale for $10 each with children 9 and under admitted free with a button-wearing adult. Buttons may be found at Acme Fresh Markets (16 locations) participating FirstMerit Bank branches (37 locations), Akron Art Museum, Akron Civic Theatre box office (across the street from the Civic on the first floor of the Ohio Building), Angel Falls Coffee in Highland Square, blue: A Goodwill boutique, The Library Shop at Main and Lock 3.
Buttons are also available at www.firstnightakron.org and the DAP office in Greystone Hall. On the evening of Dec. 31, admission buttons will be available at Acme Fresh Market until 8 p.m. and at the Akron Civic Theatre and The Library Shop at Main. First Night buttons provide admission to all event sites and free METRO bus rides to each venue.