Akron can now wear its heart on its storefront.
And depending on how much love you show for our fair city, the hearts will grow and grow and grow and grow and grow.
Five Zelda-like hearts — yes, like the video game — were installed this week in the windows of the Akron-?Summit County Public Library along South Main Street.
The temporary art installation is part of the Knight Foundation-funded Curated Storefront project that is putting artwork into empty storefronts in town.
One heart at the downtown library is already aglow and the others should follow suit whenever a certain number of tweets with the hashtag “iheartakron” are sent out.
How many tweets are needed to set each heart ablaze is a secret, as is how long it actually takes to jump-start them.
But once they start going off, said Courtney Cable, who is helping to coordinate the effort, like the video game, there are hidden surprises that light up as another level of, well, love for Akron is achieved.
The hearts are the work of artists Markus and Margarita Benitez-Vogl and have been modified from a previous appearance at Cleveland’s? IngenuityFest.
“The [tweets with the hashtag] are a great opportunity for people around Akron to show other people around the world what they love about the city,” Cable said.
The whole point of the art installations in the otherwise empty downtown storefronts is to add some “visual excitement” to Akron’s streets and hopefully, Cable said, to get workers out of the tunnels and skywalks and back to walking the sidewalks in the city.
“We want to show that there is real potential in these empty spaces,” she said.
Some of the other installations have been up for a while and others are just about ready to make their debuts.
The flashy, neon letters of artist Dana L. Depew have been aglow in windows of the parking deck at High and Market streets for weeks now.
Depew says the installation pays homage to Ben Vautier’s 1965 work titled To Change Art Destroy Ego. He used neon and argon sign letters from closed and abandoned businesses.
Other works of art, including paintings and other images, can be found in the windows in the United 1 Building at the corner of Market and Main streets.
Cable said artists are still working on a new installation in a former police substation in Cascade Plaza on South Main Street.
The finishing touches are being made on another installation in the former Ohio Brewing Co. space by Lock 3 Park that actually is another separate Knight-funded project, #Overlooked . Artist Shane Wynn took photographs of some of Akron’s overlooked remarkable women in distressed buildings and spaces.
“I call this cross-pollination,” she said. “We combine to make a beautiful flower.”
The eight large photographs are hard to miss as they take over most of the window space overlooking South Main Street. There is actually a ninth photograph that will be rotated in, as they simply ran out of usable windows.
“People are already stopping to look at the photos, so that’s cool,” Wynn said.
And this is exactly what Cable and the other artists hope will happen over the next two years as art installations are rotated in and out every few months or so.
“We want to showcase that art can be a part of everyday life.”
Craig Webb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3547.