When the West Hill Neighborhood Organization decided it needed a flag to distinguish the neighborhood, the group’s event coordinator tried his hand at creating one.
Rich Hoselton’s designs had one thing in common: They looked like they were made by famous local artist Don Drumm.
That gave the leaders of the West Akron group an idea. Why not have Drumm, who lives in West Hill, design the flag?
Drumm agreed, much to the delight of Hoselton, who isn’t an artist, and other leaders of the West Hill Neighborhood Organization (WHNO). The group is hoping the flags will be a hit, like the bags Drumm created for Acme a few years ago that helped raise money for the Akron Area Arts Alliance.
Acme sold out of the first 5,000 reusable Drumm bags it stocked in about three hours.
“These things make me very happy,” Drumm said of his charitable efforts in a recent interview at his studio/office.
The flags, like the Acme bags, feature two designs with the chubby sun face that distinguishes Drumm, a renowned sculptor and designer and owner of Don Drumm Studios & Gallery near the University of Akron. The flags will be unveiled during the neighborhood organization’s spring membership meeting, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Every Blooming Thing, 1079 W. Exchange St.
“We’re hoping to create a brand and a sense of community pride,” said Hoselton, a Highland Square resident who is the events coordinator for both the neighborhood organization and Downtown Akron Partnership.
Hoselton said most people who hear “WHNO” think it’s a radio station and many don’t realize that Highland Square is part of the West Hill neighborhood, which includes a large chunk of West Akron.
“This is the beginning,” Hoselton said of the group’s branding effort. “We’ll see how successful it will be.”
The idea came from the flag created for Ohio City, a historic Cleveland neighborhood. (Ohio City got the inspiration for its flag from Cabbagetown, a historic neighborhood in Toronto, according to Ohio City’s website.) The Ohio City flag features white stars with a blue background and a red section in the corner that says “Ohio City.” The flag costs $40.
Drumm created four potential designs for the West Hill flag, indicating that two were his favorites. These also were the group’s picks. One design, with a sun and a green background, will hang vertically, while the other, with a sun and a blue background, will hang horizontally. Both are 2 feet by 5 feet and say “West Hill.”
They will be sold for $30 each.
The group also will offer T-shirts featuring the blue background for $20 a piece.
Hoselton said the group will use the proceeds to support different initiatives, including movies shown at Glendale Cemetery and uniform assistance provided to students in the neighborhood. (All Akron elementary school students are required to wear uniforms.)
At Tuesday’s meeting, Scott Sella, owner of Every Blooming Thing, will give a demonstration on container gardens. The event also will include light hors d’oeuvres and entertainment.
WHNO’s next big event will be a More Dirty Little Secrets Garden Tour from 1 to 5 p.m. June 15 and will feature more than 10 residential and commercial gardens. City of Akron trolleys will deliver residents from spot to spot.
Drumm, who credits his wife, Lisa, with the lovely garden at their Corson Avenue home, will sign flags. A stop at his home also will feature living statues and live jazz music.
Drumm said he’s pleased to give back to the Akron area that has been so good to him and his family, and, in particular the West Hill neighborhood where he still lives in the only home he has owned. He is hoping to have one of the West Hill flags displayed during the garden tour.
“If they give me one,” he said, laughing. “I’m not going to buy one.”
Hoselton promised to get Drumm his own flag.
“I’ve got the perfect place to hang it!” Drumm said excitedly.