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Akron, Ohio

Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience


City of Akron Press Release
Published: 07-22-2013

            Akron, Ohio (July 22, 2013) - Fifty-eight Akron high school students are spending a good part of their summer in Downtown Akron as part of the City of Akron’s highly acclaimed “Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience,” which for the eleventh year is providing work for professional artists, education for students, and public artwork to inspire residents.

            The program was founded by Mayor Don Plusquellic in 2003, and allows “arts apprentices” to be mentored by professionals, to earn a paycheck, and create art that improves the cityscape in and around downtown.

            "I know the value of having a mentor," said the Mayor. "Coaches were important to me as a young athlete. I wanted a program where young artists benefit from the same kind of relationships and can build a portfolio as part of the experience."

            The program solicits applications from Akron middle school and high school students each spring. Each applicant is interviewed by a panel of artists to determine the apprentices’ readiness and arts aptitude. In 2013, of the 190 students interviewed, 58 were selected and matched with one of the six lead artists for the 100 hour program, and 18 were chosen for the two 30 hour program. Apprentices, 14-17 years old, represent Akron area public and private schools.

            In 2008, the City expanded the summer arts program to include a “Neighborhood Canvas” component, consisting of just 30 hours of work to extend Summer Art’s reach to students who show artistic interest and talent but cannot commit to the full 100 hour program. This year, one of the neighborhood components created and installed a cement sculpture and bench along the towpath at Lock 3 Park while the other designed and created leather & metal jewelry to be marketed and displayed at the City of Akron’s Hardesty Park Arts Expo.

            This year’s program is funded in part by the Akron-Summit County Public Library and the City of Akron. The University of Akron’s School of Art and School of Dance partners with the program by contributing studio space for the dancers and the Summit County Dept. of Jobs & Family Services is allowing for the installation of a mural on their property.

            Since the beginning of the program, nearly 800 young people have completed the experience of creating performance or visual art during their summers. Other work-readiness activities include creating resumes, making presentations, and enhancing networking skills during meet-and-greets with local artists and public stakeholders. Students are also required to engage in Akron’s artistic community events by attending outings such as the Northside Art Walk, ushering at the Heinz-Poll Summer Dance Festival, and representing the program through talking about their artwork to patrons at the Hardesty Park Arts Expo.

     The 2013 Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience includes the following 100 hour components which will complete work between July 9th and August 14th:

Mosaic Tile Mural: Renowned artist Woodrow Nash and his 10 apprentices are developing a permanent mosaic tile mural to be installed on top of his existing mural on the exterior of the V. Odom Branch Library in Akron. This update will use Nash’s original imagery from the 1970s as inspiration, resulting in the apprentices transforming the existing figures of Malcolm X, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglas, and Martin Luther King Jr. into mosaics. This project is being completed at Nash’s “The Rage Gallery” (872 S. Main St., 44311) and was supported by the Akron-Summit County Public Library.


Steel Drums: Matt Dudack, the University of Akron’s steel drum director and a member             of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, returns as lead artist of the steel drum component. In an amazingly short amount of time apprentices will learn pieces ranging from Trinidadian classics to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds.” The group consists of a diverse group of student musicians, some who play instruments other than steel drums and others who have never touched an instrument prior to the Experience. The Steel Drum component will perform at the Taste of Akron (July 25, 6:00pm-8:00pm), the Market at Lock 3 (July 26, Aug 2, & Aug 9, 11:30am – 1:00pm), the Northside Artwalk (Aug 3, 6:00pm-8:00pm) and the Akron Aeros Family FUNday (Aug. 18, 12:30pm - 2:00pm).


Metal & Glass Jewelry: Marianne Hite, celebrated Midwest glass artist, will teach her apprentices the rare technique of fused-glass jewelry. Marianne sells her art online ( and at various Northeast Ohio arts festivals in addition to teaching at the Peninsula Art Academy. She will use her experience of marketing and professional artistry as a case study in how to become a lifelong, thriving artist, guiding her apprentices in the development of their business skills. The metal & glass jewelry will be displayed and sold at the City of Akron’s Hardesty Park Arts Expo on July 27th and 28th.



High St. Mural: Steve Csejtey, art and photography teacher at Firestone High School, will enhance the art corridor of N. High St. between East Market St. and Martin Luther King Blvd. with the installation of a mural on the currently boarded-up windows along the Summit County’s Dept. of Job & Family Services parking garage. This new series of murals will provide a look into “Another World,” complementing the diverse artwork displayed in the rapidly expanding artistic alley that has developed on N. High St. The murals will be painted at Lock 3 on strips of canvas and then permanently installed on the boards at the parking garage.


S. Broadway Abstract Mural: Artist Nathan Mayfield and his apprentices are undertaking a 700ft. long mural on the Eastern retaining wall along S. Broadway. The geometric black & white mural will welcome drivers headed Downtown as it grows denser, climaxing with the abstraction of the Akron City Seal, and finally fading away as drivers reach the end of the wall. The mural will be created at Lock 3 park on strips of canvas, then permanently installed in methods similar to other Summer Arts murals such as those on the side of the Civic Theatre and Rosa Parks Dr.


Dance: NEOS Dance Theatre artistic director Bobby Wesner and several NEOS professional dancers will direct 9 apprentices through the process of dance choreography, music selection, dance form, practice and finally performance at the City of Akron’s Heinz-Poll Summer Dance Festival. Apprentices choreograph and practice at Guzetta Hall courtesy of the University of Akron and will ultimately perform on August 9th and 10th preceding NEOS Dance Theatre as part of the Heinz-Poll summer dance festival (Firestone Park, 8:15pm).


            Applications for the Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience are delivered to Akron area schools and posted to the City’s Summer Arts Experience Website annually in March.

            For more information contact the program’s director, John M. Moore at [email protected]or 330-375-2977.

            Pictures of current work in- progress and many previous pieces can be seen at The documentary covering the first 10 years of the program can be found at






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