Gathered under the celestial dome of the Akron Civic Theatre, members of Akron’s advertising elite on Friday elevated a few stars of their own.

About 400 people assembled for the annual ADDY award ceremony conducted by the Akron chapter of the American Advertising Federation, or AAF-Akron. The event celebrates creative achievements of the area’s advertising community, and Friday’s event was the 74th for Akron chapter.

Although the theme of Friday’s event was “ADDY Cadabra!”, it quickly became a ceremony highlighting an up-and-comer and an experienced sage.

University of Akron student Kim Wengerd received the Susan B. Kosich/Oliver Printing and Packaging Co. scholarship. Wengerd wrote a winning entry on her efforts to create a family crest. She is studying graphic design at the university.

The man who helped start the graphics design program at UA received the next award.

Dennis Kleidon, who taught at UA until the mid-1990s, received AAF-Akron’s Silver Medal, the organization’s award for lifetime achievement. He is co-founder with his wife, Rose Kleidon, of Kleidon & Associates.

While Wengerd may be the Akron chapter’s latest addition, Kleidon is its longest active member.

In his acceptance speech, Kleidon told his colleagues that they are, and should be, driven by a desire to create beauty. He said he rejects the idea of traditional retirement and plans to continue working. He is a past president of the Akron chapter.

“It’s a time to put on new tires, a time to recharge your batteries,” Kleidon said. “Change is essential to a vibrant life.”

Now in the “enlightenment” stage of his life, Kleidon has concentrated on art and is having success. He hopes to take part in a competition at a New York gallery soon and has had showings in Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Western Reserve Academy in Hudson won the night’s top award, the best of show, for its “Your Second Home — WRA Musical” video.

 

“Every time I watched it, there was something new that I enjoyed,” said Michelle Lansing, one judge in a panel of three that selected the video, which features students, teachers and alumnae singing the praises of the boarding school.

Multiple gold and silver honors were also awarded.

This year, 326 entries were submitted and 90 professional awards were distributed to agencies, corporations, organizations and individuals for the local ADDYs. In 2018, 317 entries were made.

For the 2019 ADDYs, students entered 58 works, and 24 honors were distributed.

 

Cecilia Sveda, executive director of the AAF-Akron, said Friday that student entries this year reached an all-time high.

The three ADDY judges each chose an entry to honor.

Kleidon & Associates, Dave Szalay Design + Illustration and Todd Biss Productions each received a Judge’s Choice award.

For a full list of winners, visit www.aafakron.com.

 

Alan Ashworth can be reached at 330-996-3859. Follow him on Twitter @newsalanbeaconjournal.