Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors approved grants totaling $2,217,890, including $588,500 in competitive arts and culture grants chosen by the foundation’s Community Investment Committee.
This quarter’s arts and culture funding included a $5,000 grant to The Curated Storefront to bring vibrancy to downtown Akron through window art displays in vacant street-level buildings.
The Curated Storefront is a series of ongoing exhibitions that will revitalize unused storefronts in downtown Akron with multimedia art installations along Main, Market and Exchange streets. To date, the project has transformed more than 40 spaces in prominent locations like Cascade Plaza and the United Building.
Curated Storefront Director Richard Rogers said the exhibitions are attracting new businesses to Akron.
“My idea is to use art in these empty storefronts to attract more commercial development downtown and bring people here to live and re-energize Akron,” Rogers said. “We’ve heard a lot of good feedback from the community. We’ve had some storefronts that have been empty for a number of years, including where Akronym Brewing is now located. That space was empty for eight years, and we programmed it for about six months before it was rented.”
An additional grant of $3,000 was awarded to Crafty Mart to support its Maker Sessions, which connect artists and creative business people to resources in the community through panel discussions, workshops and networking.
“We found out that there was a huge need for entrepreneurial training for artists in Akron,” said Brit Charek, executive director of Crafty Mart. “No matter how good of an artist you are, you’re not going to make a living at it if you can’t sell it. Now, since we’ve been doing the Maker Sessions Entrepreneurial Curriculum for three years, we’ve been able to tailor our curriculum to [the entrepreneurial artists’] exact needs.”
An additional $27,500 in arts and culture funding was contributed through the community foundation’s grant co-investment program, which enables donor-advised fundholders to review the board’s competitive grant applications and support initiatives that align with their charitable interests. Participating in the co-investment program this quarter were the Howard Atwood Family Fund, Charles E. & Mary K. Booth Family Fund and Friebert Family Fund.
Their funding joins that of the following field-of-interest and unrestricted funds, which were created by charitable residents to support emerging needs in our community: Adam Fund, V.E. (Tom) Atkins Fund, Board of Directors Annual Giving Fund, Community Fund, Decker Endowment Fund for Families, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund, GAR Foundation Fund for Dance in Summit County, C. Colmery Gibson Polsky Fund, Lucille Scott Harris Fund, Vivienne S. and Russell R. Johnstone Family Fund, Arthur Kelly Fund, John S. Knight Fund, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund for Dance, William C. Krisher Fund, John A. McAlonan Fund, W. Bishop & Elizabeth C. McIntosh Fund, Pat and Alan Ockene Fund, Polsky Fund, Helen S. Robertson Fund, James G. Robertson Fund, Roush Memorial Fund, Shaw Foundation Fund, Jean P. Stevens Fund, Ronald L. Stiles Fund, Dr. Kenneth F. Swanson Fund for the Arts, William Wallace Fund and Muriel A. Zodrow Fund.
Their grants will support the following arts and culture programs:
Akron Art Museum, to support community engagement activities through exhibits, education, performances, health and wellness events, and outdoor programming in the Bud and Susie Rogers Garden, $60,000
Akron Civic Theatre, for community-based programming, free admission tickets for residents in need, and a planned restoration project — including new performance space, staff offices and a new box office and elevator — at the Akron Civic Theatre, $36,000
Akron Public Schools – Project Rise, to support Performing Arts Can Teach (PACT), a theater-based enrichment program for Akron Public Schools students experiencing homelessness, $11,000
Akron Soul Train, to support fellowships for local artists, including exhibitions of their work, $5,000
Akron Symphony, to support music education and outreach programs, including Concerts for Kids, Gospel Meets Symphony and Akron Youth Symphony, $16,000
Apollo’s Fire the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, to support concerts and programs for the 2018-19 season, including the Community Access Initiative, which offers discounted and free tickets to community members, $10,000
Art Sparks, for Dynamite Duos, a peer-based dance and music program for Akron Public Schools students with developmental disabilities, $7,000
Artists of Rubber City, to provide resources for local visual artists, including gallery exhibits, educational workshops and networking events, $2,000
ArtsNow, to advance Summit County’s arts and culture sector through events, partnerships and advocacy, $10,000
Ballet Excel Ohio, to support Reach Out and Dance, a 25-week program that provides free dance instruction to elementary and middle school special education students in Akron Public Schools, $5,500
Ballet Theatre of Ohio, to support “Take Me Out to the Ballet,” a partnership with Akron Public Schools that brings grade school students to an in-theater performance of “The Nutcracker,” $6,000
BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation, to support the Master Class Program, which includes live performances from jazz masters and educational experiences for students, $6,000
Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, to support performances, workshops and educational activities during the Balch Street Theatre’s 2018-19 season, $5,000
Children’s Concert Society of Akron, for the Akron Public Schools In-School Concert Series, which brings live concerts with culturally diverse music to students in an informal, hands-on setting, $12,000
City of Akron, for the annual Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival, which offers free dance performances in Akron parks, $50,000
Crafty Mart, to support the Maker Sessions Entrepreneurial Curriculum, which connects artists and creative business people to resources in the community through panel discussions, workshops and networking, $3,000
Crossroads Writers Conference, to support a writers conference in Akron, where national, regional and local writing professionals can connect, $5,000
The Curated Storefront, to support window art displays in vacant street-level buildings in downtown Akron, $5,000
DANCECleveland, to bring modern dance company Abraham.In.Motion to Akron for an educational residency program and performance, $10,000
ETC All American Youth Show Choir Inc., for the 2018 ETC Summer Show Choir Camp, a free five-day performance camp for 70 low-income middle school students, $1,000
Friends of 91.3, to support radio station operations and community service programs, $12,500
Girls Rock Camp Akron, for a weeklong music experience for Summit County girls ages 10 to 16 that includes forming a band, writing songs and performing at the Akron Civic Theatre, $1,500
GroundWorks DanceTheater, to support performances and outreach, including free workshops for young dancers, community and school performances, and 20th anniversary programming, $10,000
Himalayan Music Academy, for operating support, including music, dance and language classes for community members, and for the North Hill Music Festival, $3,000
The Illusion Factory, to support free children’s theater performances for Akron Public Schools students in kindergarten through eighth grade, $9,000
Keepers of the Art Education, to support the 2018 Hip-Hop Preservation Project, which features concerts, lectures, films, discussions, workshops and exhibits that counteract the commercialization of hip-hop music, $10,000
Les Délices, for the Experience Early Music in Akron program, a four-part chamber music concert series that includes community outreach performances for at-risk children and adults, $2,000
Magical Theatre Company, for operating support, including resident performances, a children’s script-writing program, touring plays and educational programs, $12,500
Master Singers Chorale of Northeast Ohio, to support performance costs for the all-volunteer chorale’s 2018 concert season, $5,000
Ma’Sue Productions, to support in-school and public performances of “Or Does It Explode?”, a show about the experiences of young African-American men in the 21st century, $2,500
Miami Foundation Inc., to support a mural project in the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services building in downtown Akron, $5,000
Music from The Western Reserve, for operating support, including a six-concert music series in Hudson featuring Northeast Ohio musicians, $2,000
The Musical Arts Association, to support Blossom Music Festival’s 50th anniversary with 19 family-friendly and classical programs throughout the summer, $36,000
The Musical Theater Project, for the Kids Love Musicals! program, which brings musical theater-based programming to special education and traditional Akron Public Schools classrooms, $8,500
National Center for Choreography – Akron, to support dance research and development through residencies, guest artists and inclusive community programming, $10,000
The Nightlight Cinema, to support independent and foreign language arthouse movies, $10,000
None Too Fragile Theatre, for the 2018 Off-Broadway Series, including support for “Boogieban,” a production about PTSD, $5,000
Ohio Shakespeare Festival, to support the 2018-19 season, including outdoor Shakespeare performances at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and shows at Greystone Hall, $5,000
Open Tone Music, to support the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, a free event that features local and national jazz performers in multiple venues throughout downtown Akron, $3,500
Partners for Theater Inc., for Summit StageFest, an outdoor theater festival in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood, $3,000
Rubber City Theatre, to support the 2018-19 season, including plays by Shakespeare and other classic playwrights, workshops, educational experiences, and “pay as you like it” performances for residents, $5,000
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, for operating support for the historic estate, as well as educational, cultural and recreational programs, $45,000
Summit Artspace, for operating support, including exhibitions showcasing the work of local artists, $25,000
Summit Choral Society Inc., to support musical training for children and adults, including the Children’s Choir and Choral Scholars programs, $15,000
Summit County Historical Society of Akron, Ohio, for operating support for the John Brown House and Perkins Stone Mansion, $21,000
Tuesday Musical Association, to support the 2018-19 season’s opening concert with pianist Joyce Yang, along with an artist talk and local school visits, $15,000
Verb Ballets, for Summit County performances and outreach, including the creation of “The Jungle Book” children’s ballet, $7,500
Weathervane Community Playhouse, to support the 2018-19 season, including six main stage shows, special events and classes, $10,000
Western Reserve Historical Society, to support hands-on educational programming at the historic Hale Farm and Village, $21,000
Western Reserve Public Media, for cultural arts and performance programming on Western Reserve PBS, including local shows, concerts and art-related documentaries, $15,000
Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop, for operational support, including a summer residential workshop for students and a year-round leadership academy, $15,000
Celebrating 63 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. As of March 31, 2018, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $220 million with a growing family of more than 600 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation’s funds have awarded nearly $153 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call (330) 376-8522 or visit www.akroncf.org.