The University of Akron’s Art Bomb Brigade is back in action, making Akron’s cultural landscape “a lot more groovy.”

A public celebration to unveil its latest effort will run from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Grand Exchange, 933 W. Exchange St., Akron, with free food and entertainment.

This spring, UA students worked with Jeremy and Christy Lile, owners of the Grand Exchange community center, to design a mural with the local community in mind. In consultation with the Liles, students created imagery for the mural to "symbolize love, beauty, hope and innocence," according to a news release.

Students also took inspiration from artist and urban planner Theaster Gates, who said design can change how people perceive themselves.

Art Bomb Brigade, winner of a Knight Arts Challenge grant, is a mural project started by Elisa Gargarella, a University of Akron faculty member at the Myers School of Art, and Marissa McClellan, executive director of Crafty Mart. Gargarella and McClellan operate Art Bomb Brigade as an art education and creative leadership program. Students are at the center of the planning, funding, implementation and outreach of the public art projects.

CAC releases report

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) recently released its 2018 Report to the Community, highlighting how the organizations it funds provided nearly 7 million arts and cultural experiences in Cuyahoga County last year.

One of the largest local public funders for arts and culture in the nation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has invested $182.4 million in 404 organizations and made nearly 2,200 grants since 2007, made possible in large part from a local tobacco tax.

The report highlights how organizations funded by CAC brought people together. For example:

• Praxis and the Cleveland Seed Bank worked together to plant indigo and launch a natural dye garden in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood.

• Lake Erie Native American Council and Talespinner Children’s Theatre collaborated on performances that educated Northeast Ohio children about Native American stories.

• MoCa Cleveland continued its efforts to make the museum open and accessible for all audiences.

• Artist Archie Green collaborated with Lexington-Bell Community Center to launch workshops to boost children’s self-esteem and improve their mental health.

The report also details that of the nearly 7 million who attended CAC-supported events, 52% were free of charge. Its online calendar, ClevelandArtsEvents.com, had more than 140,000 viewed events in 2018.

The report is available at http://www.cacgrants.org/2018.

It begs the question of whether the arts and educational environments of any city, if allowed to benefit from a special levy on tobacco, alcohol or any of the other so-called "sin economies," wouldn’t also prosper the way that Cleveland has.

 

FRIDAY

Soul Train Presents: “Ornate Acids, An Exhibition by Arabella Proffer” opens with a 6-8 p.m. reception at 191 S. Main St., Akron. Free admission. 330-573-0517; info@akronsoultrain.org; www.akronsoultrain.org.

 

SATURDAY

CMA Members’ Party — The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., University Circle, holds a 6-9 p.m. party for members. Events include a live painting by contemporary Japanese artist Miwa Komatsu, and the exhibits “Shinto: Discovery of the Divine in Japanese Art” and “Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950.” Members $25 (bring a friend for $35). Live music, beer and wine cash bar, light snacks. To reserve tickets, go to http://bit.ly/2H69SVO or call 216-421-7350.

 

SUNDAY

Mother’s Day @ CMA — The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., University Circle, hosts a day of programs to celebrate Mother’s Day. Highlights include free admission for mom to “Shinto: Discovery of the Divine in Japanese Art.” Mother’s Day brunch will be available for $23 at Provenance, the museum’s fine dining restaurant (make your reservation at 216-707-2600). Guided tours of the collection, works celebrating moms in ARTLENS Gallery, and art-making activities for the family. 216-421-7350.

 

WEDNESDAY

Art in Moving — Moving Connections, a wellness program of Verb Ballets, holds an 11:30 a.m. movement workshop on Wednesdays in May at the Akron Art Museum. Designed for seniors, it encourages creativity, social interaction and appreciation of the arts through movement. Seniors develop flexibility, breathing and concentration. For all ability levels; can be done while seated. Includes a 10-minute art talk. Free, but registration is required at http://bit.ly/2H5CzSy. For more information, contact Desmond Davis, at ddavis@verbballets.org or 216-397-3757.

 

PLAN AHEAD

Panel discussion — Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St., Akron, has organized a panel discussion from 7-8 p.m. May 16 in conjunction with its current exhibit, “Crooked River Contrasts,” which examines through photographs the impact of the Cuyahoga River fire 50 years ago and the resulting awareness for the environment. The event will be held in the main gallery and it's free. Reserve a seat at https://bit.ly/2Woo80T. The exhibit continues through May 18.

 

Dorothy Shinn writes about art and architecture for the Akron Beacon Journal. Send information to her at the Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640 or dtgshinn@att.net.