A new organization will open its doors in Summit County on July 1. ArtsNow – with the tagline “connecting arts, culture and community in Summit County” – is an outgrowth of The Summit County Arts & Culture Initiative, which began in 2014 following a study commissioned by GAR Foundation and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The organization will help build our local arts and culture sector, making connections among residents, the local arts industry, nonprofits and businesses, among others.
Longtime Akron resident Nicole Mullet was recently hired as the new nonprofit’s executive director.
“I am very honored to begin my new position and am especially excited to start working with a strong Board and dozens of other committed community volunteers to continue the advancement of arts and culture in our community,” said Mullet, who began her career as a middle school teacher in Richmond, Va., and comes to ArtsNow from The University of Akron, where she has been employed since 2007, most recently serving as the Director of Tech Prep for the College of Applied Science and Technology.
Her civic activities are many, including Torchbearers, where she currently serves as Vice President; Better Block Akron; Greater Akron Chamber’s committee for the YP Summit; and Project Learn of Summit County.
She received her bachelor’s degree of Arts in Education and master’s degree of Arts in Education from The University of Akron.
The comprehensive study that brought about the forming of this organization was the first of its kind in this community and it assessed the landscape of the arts and culture sector in Summit County. (See study findings at: http://www.garfdn.org/Data/Sites/1/artsandculturalassessmentforsummitcounty.pdf).
An 18-month community engagement process addressed study findings around business and arts engagement, centralized communications and diversity within the arts and culture sector, and involved over 250 individuals from throughout Summit County through active work groups and task forces.
ArtsNow will work to strengthen the vibrancy and vitality of Summit County and enrich the lives of the community through the advancement of arts and culture in partnership with arts and culture organizations, other nonprofit and civic organizations, businesses and individuals.
Its first major initiative is a countywide interactive website showcasing all arts and culture happenings in Summit County — from productions and exhibits at venues like the Civic Theatre and the Akron Art Museum to children’s’dance recitals and church choir programs. The site is underway and will go live this fall. The website will also include a comprehensive directory of artists living and working in Summit County.
The 11-member founding Board of Directors of ArtsNow will hold its first meeting later this month. The founding executive director, and Mullet will begin her job on July 8.
She was selected by the search committee of the board, which included artist Jaron LeGrair, GAR Foundation President Christine Amer Mayer, Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Gregg Mervis, Executive Director of the Akron Civic Theatre Howard Parr and CEO of Harwick Standard Ernie Pouttu.
Additional Board members are: Mark Auburn (former Senior Vice President and Provost and former Dean of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Akron); Candace Campbell-Jackson (Vice President for Student Success and Vice Provost Academic Success, University of Akron); Olivia P. Demas (attorney and civic volunteer and advocate); Jon Fiume (Chief Operating Officer, Mustard Seed Market); Shane Wynn (photographer); and Deb Yandala (CEO, Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park).