By Sharon Gillberg, Downtown Akron Partnership
What better way to welcome autumn than with an evening of strolling entertainers, musical performances and tours of artist studios, galleries and shops? Experience all of this and more at Downtown Akron Artwalk on Saturday, Oct. 6, courtesy of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Downtown Akron Partnership.
Through a grant from the Foundation in 2012, Downtown Art Works project was developed to add activity, live performances and interactive text-to-vote competitions for the purpose of enhancing the monthly Downtown Akron Artwalk. Artwalk is the first Saturday of every month from 5-10 p.m.
Take the free trolley, provided by the city of Akron, to dozens of locations or saunter along the arts district footprint and experience exciting and interactive performances. A wide range of quality entertainment will be featured and includes singers, acoustic guitarists, choral groups, musical bands– some roaming, some stationary, but all stimulating and appealing.
A third component to Downtown Akron Artwalk is the culmination of the first-ever Akron Art Prize, a 6-week long arts competition fueled by the power of text voting. Sponsored by the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, more than 135 artists entered for a chance to win a $5,000 first prize or one of five $1,000 runner-up awards. Participation in this completion exceeded expectations with more than 700 individuals registering their phone and casting a total of 1,800 votes. The field was narrowed to just 11 at the end of round one on Sept. 22. Unlike in round one where voters had up to 10 votes to cast, round two will allow just one vote – make it count! The final round runs Sept. 28-Oct. 6.
At 10 p.m., winners will be announced from the stage of the Trolley Barn, a new alternative outdoor venue being christened at this event. Live entertainment and food and beverage for purchase will attract and retain the crowds from 5-11 p.m. An eclectic mix of performers are scheduled and include, Rooster Jones, a rockin’ blues band; singer/songwriter, Zach and the Bright Lights and Waterband on stage. Additionally, performances by Mame Daiko, a traditional Japanese taiko drum ensemble, contact juggling by Bill Roddy and ice sculpture displays by renowed artists Aaron and Sarah Costic will be featured around the venue. A men’s chorus, bassoon ensemble and acoustic guitars round out the entertainment lineup at other spaces along the Artwalk.
Downtown Art Works nights are one-of-a-kind experience and a great way to witness how the arts revitalize communities and connect people in large and small ways.