Things might be quiet inside the Akron Civic Theatre, but things outside are about to become a lot more exciting.
The historic theater in downtown Akron announced Tuesday, Sept. 15, that it is adding large-scale outdoor murals — by internationally known artists — to its surrounding area. The effort is part of the theater’s Staging the Future capital campaign aimed at beautifying downtown. The initiative comes as the city’s construction and transformation of Main Street is finishing up.
Murals will adorn the exterior walls of the Civic facing South Main Street and West Bowery Street. Additional works by regional artists will create an “art park” around the theater, according to a news release.
This month, Los Angeles muralists El Mac (Miles MacGregor) and Aiseborn will begin work on the wall facing West Bowery Street, overlooking Lock 4. El Mac is known for a style that utilizes repeating contour patterns, and Aiseborn is known for murals that often include aerosol portraits.
In October, artist Louise Jones, aka Ouzi, will begin work on the South Main Street wall, overlooking Lock 3. Jones is best known for her floral mural installations. Her Akron mural will include plants native to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the release said.
“The Civic is very proud to have the works of internationally recognized artists El Mac and Aiseborn create a spectacular mural on our building,” said Linda Lyell, co-chair of the Civic’s Staging the Future capital campaign and a member of the theater’s public art committee. “The subject matter is tender and intimate and reflects the diversity and cultural (emotion) of our community.”
Artist Nancy Gong will create a donor wall, honoring gifts to the Staging the Fund campaign, that will be installed along the South Main Street sidewalk near the Civic, organizers said.
Also as part of its public art strategy, the Civic will include as many as 10 works commissioned or acquired from local and regional artists, the release said. The process for selecting local artists will be announced in the coming months.
“The Akron Civic Theatre’s intentional work to ensure that local voices help to inform public art will be realized on the walls of our historic gem on Main Street,” said Nicole Mullett, executive director of ArtsNow, in a statement. “We believe that art ignites change. With a downtown on the precipice of a new look and a new era, the Civic is leading the way in creating public spaces that remind all of us that beauty and art is a basic human right.”