The University of Akron’s Art Bomb Brigade is back on the streets, planting seeds of color in the community. This spring, UA students have worked with Jeremy and Christy Lile, owners of The Grand Exchange, to design a mural with the local community in mind.
The Grand Exchange was born out of a desire to redevelop a space that could foster a sense of belonging and provide a place for individuals to create, collaborate and exchange. The Liles said, “This building has always been about the community—it’s an expression of our shared life together.”
A public celebration to unveil the mural will take place Thursday, May 9, 6 to 8 p.m. at The Grand Exchange, 933 West Exchange St. Free food and entertainment will be provided.
In consultation with the Liles, students created imagery for the mural to symbolize love, beauty, hope and innocence. “We wanted to invoke feelings of joy in the community,” said UA ceramic student and Art Bomber Morgan Jones.
Students also took inspiration from Theaster Gates, a leader in Ethical Redevelopment, who said that design can interrupt how people perceive themselves by changing the conditions of their daily activity.
Christy Lile added, “Elisa, Marissa and the students in their class exemplified incredible listening and developed a vision for how the mural on our building could make an impact on the way people in our community feel about themselves and the place they live. We love what emerged from this group work and we admire the way the students took direction and expanded their creativity to include elements that mattered to us and felt authentic. This process was exciting and inspiring from beginning to end.”