The proceeds will support a scholarship in memory of Akron artist John Puglia, a UA graduate who died of cancer at age 48 in 2013. Puglia was well known in the region for his own art and his collaborations with other artists.
John Sokol, Don Harvey, Michael Loderstedt, Andrew Borowiec and Arnie Tunstall are among the artists who have contributed works for the auction, which will take place during the gallery’s closing reception for “Never Not Working: The Art and Influence of John Puglia.” The Emily Davis Gallery is in Folk Hall, home of UA’s Myers School of Art, 150 East Exchange St. The closing reception, refreshments, music and parking are free.
Photographer and UA Distinguished Professor Emeritus Andrew Borowiec says that the Puglia Scholarship will enable UA art students to expand their educations beyond Akron by traveling to New York City. “John participated in a class trip to New York City when he was a student here at UA, and it had a profound and lasting influence on his life and art,” Borowiec explained.
Further, says Robert Huff, director of UA’s Myers School of Art, “This auction is a way to contribute toward keeping John’s legacy alive, and to acquire artwork by some of our region’s most accomplished artists.”
Showcasing Puglia’s work as well as that of his friends, classmates, teachers and protégés, “Never Not Working” is likely the last chance to see all of the late artist’s work in one place. The career retrospective spans Puglia’s work as a UA student in the 1980s to the ambitious paintings and collages he created near the end of his life that focus on Akron’s factory culture and Akron-born heavyweight boxing champion Michael Dokes.
Puglia worked 19 years at Roadway Express (later YRC), rising to the position of director of corporate communications. His many accomplishments include creation of a Roadway-sponsored traveling Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and launching one of the first successful corporate websites. His Roadway site is now in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Museum. From 2009 until his death, Puglia was creative director for WhiteSpace Creative in Akron. He also founded the Millworks Galleries, which opened in 1990 in the formerly abandoned BFGoodrich factory space in downtown Akron.
For more information, call The University of Akron’s Myers School of Art at (330) 972-6030.