Look. Love. Vote. Akron Art Prize returns for 5th year

Summit Artspace

Summit Artspace during opening weekend of Akron Art Prize 2015

With a combined prize amount of $16,000, new and expanded categories, juror prizes, and art works within one single gallery, the 2016 Akron Art Prize is poised to be a great experience.

Akron Art Prize logo NEW 2016Art Prize, sponsored by the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation and coordinated by Downtown Akron Partnership, takes place at Summit Artspace from Sept. 3-Oct. 1. View more than 200 works of art ranging from photography, sculpture, graphic design, paintings and more with public vote determining $12,000 in cash prizes in six categories. In addition, two civic jurors and two arts jurors will award $1,000 each to four entries.

Entries are accessible for viewing and voting Thursdays-Saturdays from 12 to 9 p.m. throughout the month.

Come to opening night
Saturday, September 3, 5-10 p.m.
Enjoy music by The Dreemers, food trucks and cash bar from 5-9 p.m.

Come to closing night
Saturday, October 1, 12-9 p.m.Vote for entries at Summit Artspace until 8 p.m. and then make your way to the Akron Art Museum for the finale reception from 8-10 p.m. with entertainment by DJ Ben Crazy,  light hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.

Voting
Download the FREE Akron Art Prize app through iTunes or Google Play to view entries, curate favorites and cast votes. Each registered voter, age 16 and older, has up to five votes.

Visit akronartprize.org or facebook.com/akronartprize for details. Share Art Prize experiences on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #akronartprize16.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation provides additional marketing support for Akron Art Prize and presents artists with opportunities for growth through networking, building rapport with galleries and providing tools to promote themselves to patrons.

Distinctly Downtown: Discovering the Zeal of Zeber-Martell

A sunny and warm autumn afternoon was the perfect day to visit the Zeber-Martell Gallery. The sun was shining through the giant windows, reflecting rays of orange, yellow, and green off of the brilliant pieces of art showcased in the gallery. We can thank our local artists for providing the city of Akron with this kind of vibrancy.  FullSizeRender (2)

Michael Martell and Claudia Zeber-Martell are the hearts and souls of this business. In 1975, the gallery was born in Spicer Town on the corner of Spicer and Exchange Streets. That was the era of boutiques, leather shops and record stores. The gallery outgrew itself and found a new home, after a few temporary spaces, in their current location in the Northside District next to Luigi’s and since, the gallery has not stopped growing.

At the time, all that was in the small area was Luigi’s, which was only open at night. The district has since then given birth to the Northside Lofts, Jilly’s Music Room, Akron Glass Works, Palladian Palette and the Akron Symphony Orchestra. This area has simply become a cultural outburst.

Before opening a retail gallery, traveling used to be a big part of Michael and Claudia’s art lifestyle. They would travel to various shows around the country, sell their pieces, and come home to make more. But recently, traveling has become much less frequent in order to focus on the downtown gallery.

FullSizeRender (4)The one show that they do keep close to their hearts is the Boston Mills Artfest each summer in order to stay close with their demographic of patrons who enjoy the artistic lifestyle.

Claudia and Michael are the torch-bearers of this business but they do bring in pieces from other artists as well. About 60% of the pieces are made by Michael and Claudia. Because of the large space, they sell pieces of 15 other artists in the gallery.

One of the most interesting aspects of the dynamics of this couple is that essentially every piece of art they sell, has been touched by both of them. They have been doing collaborative work for the past 25 years. Every piece that Michael makes, Claudia paints. “We have both had separate studios, separate bodies of work, but we always seem to come back together.”

Inspired by British studio potters, Michael taps into his aesthetic by following the strong sense of functionality he adopted from British studio potters. Claudia’s main focus is the painting of the artwork. In the past, she used acrylics to decorate the pottery but now uses glazes and stains. When breaking down the studio duties, Michael does the making and Claudia does the decorating. Even though this is the normal case, both of them can do any aspect of the creation of the pottery in order to keep the business thriving.

Michael compares the studio to the household. “You find that each have their own strengths and you divvy that up… We work better together than apart.”

FullSizeRenderTo help with the daily duties of the business, Michael and Claudia have three part-time employees to assist them through a variety of tasks. Michael and Claudia do the conceptual work and some of their employees do some assembling of jewelry, as well as casting, fabricating, cleaning, smoothing, and other preparation in order to fire the pottery pieces. This help is especially important during the holiday season when Christmas ornaments are in high demand.

One would think that he has been doing this since he was born, but Michael did not have any art training until college. He graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in ceramics and graphic design, as well as a graduate degree in Arts Administration. Pottery is his main expertise but his graphic design skills help him with the business and marketing side of things, such as making e-blasts and flyers.

In order to show support for small businesses and local artists, be sure to mark your calendar on November 28 for two reasons. This is Small Business Saturday, as well as Zeber-Martell’s Holiday Open House. Michael and Claudia would love to see anyone drop by for this special event.

Additionally, Saturday, December 5 is the monthly Artwalk.  Drop by the gallery to do more of your holiday shopping in Downtown Akron’s art district and check out some of the dining experiences around town throughout your night!

By: Audrey Fliegel
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: Urban Eats

058Urban Eats is a pop-art cafe owned by Elizabeth Tyran and Jason Scala, two creative geniuses, who turned their former order counter into a visual, compelling & fun place to eat! Jason and Liz both have a passion for food as well as art. Whether it’s local art, or a masterpiece from home, they acknowledge the beauty in each piece and showcase them in the restaurant. Liz is an UA alumnae while Jason has mastered the art of culinary. When you put their two minds together and you witness the talent this power couple posses, the outcomes are unlimited. They both strive to provide healthy and hearty meals to the people they appreciate most, the people in their community.

Urban Eats is the center of a live, 053 work and play environment. The owners of this cafe appreciate all the walks of life they encounter and the relationships they build while residing in the this community. Since their work and personal home live here; they especially know the importance of community and supporting one another. Liz says, although the occupants of the neighborhood may change over time, the community and the city constantly grows. Outside of their cafe, they support local artist in attending art shows and hosting a children’s “artwalk”.

Along with the fascinating and eye catching wall art, their food is definitely something worth discussing. Referring to the menu, Liz says “they have something for everyone”. What’s so unique and diverse about Urban Eats is the fact that they change their menu each month. Sometimes it’s a new and captivating item or it could be a familiar favorite that you love and crave. In order to balance the variety of meals they offer they have to work together. Liz considered herself the “dreamer’ and referred to Jason as the “doer”. She thinks and creates these thoughtful and balanced recipes while Jason creates magic in the kitchen to bring her ideas to life. They listen and accommodate to their customers to make sure every trip is special.

Creative, exceptional and inspiring are just a few words to describe their establishment. working alongside Musica, which is now open during the week, Urban Eats tries to integrate and encourage originality and creativity. With help051 from their small but mighty staff, Max, who is also multi-talented and artsy, they are able to achieve the motto of live, work and play. Whether you are vising for lunch during the rush, or stopping in after an event at Musica, Urban Eats is a place where art meets food and community is welcomed. You will quickly be inspired by Liz and Jason’s refreshing personalities, their fine food and the original atmosphere, they cherish. Urban Eats is located on East Market and they are open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday thru Friday and during any Musica events. You can always call ahead to order and delivery within downtown is available with a $25 minimum. Catering is also available for businesses and organizations upon request. Visit their website at www.urbaneatsmusica.com.

By: Chantel Burt
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: Crafty Mart

Crafty Mart logoThe sixth annual Crafty Mart returns to the Rubber City on Saturday November 29 and Sunday, November 30, 2014.  Not only will the annual non-traditional holiday arts and crafts show take place over two days but it is stretching to include three separate locations in the downtown area. With over a hundred talented artists and makers selling a variety of unique handmade items, this is the perfect place to find distinctive gifts for everyone on your list.  Admission is free and the event runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on both days at all three locations.

Crafty Mart takes place at Musica (51 E Market St), the Akron Art Museum (1 S High St) and Summit Artspace (140 E Market St). The expansion is a coordinated effort by three community-minded venues to offer Akron residents the best opportunity to discover, meet, and purchase from some of the area’s best fine artists, artisans, and crafters.

Once again, Crafty Mart coincides with Small Business Saturday (November 29, 2014), a craftymart6thannualconsumer movement that encourages holiday shopping from small local businesses.  It is Crafty Mart’s intention to not only support local artists by giving them an opportunity to vend their wares but also to provide an exciting event for local residents to shop from small-business individuals.

The sixth annual Crafty Mart will also expand to include free workshop opportunities for members of the community to sign up and take classes from skilled artists. Crafty Mart’s workshops were first introduced during the outdoor Summer Faire 2014, July 5th Crafty Mart, and the new workshops scheduled during November 29 and 30 are expected to fill up quickly.  More information on the workshops is available at http://www.craftymart.com/#workshops

Food and coffee will be for sale during the event and deejays from The Mighty Soul Night will be spinning our favorite soul tunes at all three venues. Parking is free on the street, the Library Parking Deck on the SW Corner of High & Market Streets, and the flat lot on Summit Street across from Summit Artspace.

Crafty Mart was first established in 2009 as a haven of uncommon, quality-made, local arts and crafts. In 2013, Crafty Mart was voted one of the “Best of the City” by Akron Life Magazine. For more information on Crafty Mart’s past and present, go to: www.craftymart.com.

Distinctly Downtown: Akron Glass Works

ImageWith the cold weather seeming to never end, Akron Glass Works invites all to join them for demos, workshops and shopping in their bright and warm studio. The studio makes it easy to forget about the winter blues with the combinations of beautiful handmade glass and live plants. Jack Baker, owner of Akron Glass Works and one of the artists, was inspired by a trip he took with the Akron Art Museum to Seattle. He took glassblowing classes in Kent, but soon decided he needed to open his own studio if he wanted to succeed as a glassblower. In 2006, Jack made the decision to expand his Architectural Greenery space to make room for a glassblowing studio. He combined his two passions into a creative and unique space that has a little something for everyone.

Each weekend the studio offers classes where community members can come and try glass blowing for themselves. Class sizes are limited to five people per class, but there are two sessions per weekend. “A lot of people end up loving the class and come back. They bring their friends back too, which helps the word get out about our studio,” said Sandy Holata, a glass fuse artist at the studio.  In February, the workshops made paperweight hearts to go along with the Valentine’s Day theme of the month. Glass Fusing classes are also offered in the evenings. The days vary between Wednesdays and Fridays depending on scheduling. This past month the glass fusing class had a date night where participants sampled wine and cheese while working on their homemade glass valentines. Future workshops will be making birds for the springtime and flowers for Mother’s Day. Image

The gift shop has a combination of all the glasswork that is created in the studio. The pieces make unique and beautiful gifts for the holidays or any special occasion. “People really appreciate buying unique and locally handmade gifts for the holidays,” said Sandy.

The studio is expanding not in size of space, but in knowledge and local support. This past year there were about 600 community members who participated in the weekend glassblowing workshops and 100 who took part in the glass fusing work shops. There are community members who come into the studio to watch a demo and stay until the piece is complete and then end up wanting to buy it from the artist. “It’s unique when someone can say they watched an art piece being made and then be able to purchase it. It is good for our artists and cool for the buyer to have such an experience,” said Sandy.

ImageThe artists love being in the Northside. They are close to the Akron Art Museum and other galleries as well. They often times see people who are waiting in line at Luigi’s and stop in saying they never knew the studio existed. The artists are also very excited about the opening of Jilly’s Music Room. Now that the studio is open on Saturday evenings again they are hoping the crowd of Jilly’s will bring more people into the studio as well.

Akron Glass Works is a great place to explore any day of the week. Whether you would like to try glass blowing or fusing for yourself or you just want to check out the gift shop, it is not a place to miss. The art will blow you away with its details and time it took to create such unique pieces.

By: Madeline Hartman
DAP intern