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AAAA was founded in 1991 by arts advocates Ann Amer Brennan and Mary Ann Jackson. The pair recognized the power in pooling resources and wisdom and asked artists and organizations in Greater Akron to join forces in a single, strong body focused on the future of art and culture in Northeast Ohio. Today, AAAA membership has grown to include 150 organizations, artists and supporters.
The Arts Alive! party offers guests cocktails, dinner, the awards presentation and the final chance to bid on the Out-of-the-Box silent auction of 50 artist-designed, decorative and functional boxes. The boxes will be on public display and open for bidding through Nov. 2 at Summit Artspace Gallery, 140 E. Market St. in downtown Akron.
The dress for this biennial gala event is cocktail casual, and guests are invited to show their creative sides as they join in applauding those who make and support art in our community.
Reservations for Arts Alive! begin at $100 for individuals and $150 for patron tickets. Festivities kick off with a cocktail hour at 5 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-376-8480.
Event sponsors are Ann and David Brennan, OMNOVA Solutions Foundation, Triad Communications, and Labels and Letters, with promotional support from akronlife magazine.
Gayle and David Noble
Nominated by Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet (CVYB), Gayle and David Noble are recognized for providing “sustained support – both financial and otherwise” that has allowed CVYB to grow and flourish across decades.
The Nobles have been staunch supporters of the community and the arts in Northeast Ohio and major catalysts in achieving CVYB’s mission of bringing original works of art danced by young people to audiences of their peers.
While the contributions of the Nobles have been both significant and varied over the years, the impact of their patronage is perhaps best defined by their extensive contributions to the CVYB’s signature outreach program, Reach Out and Dance (ROAD). Since the inception of ROAD, Gayle Noble has championed the need for arts outreach in our public school systems. She and David have shown their commitment to their community through the Noble Foundation’s annual grant for continuation of ROAD in Wooster Public Schools, including providing tickets to fourth-grade students that participate.
Gayle also donates time and funds to the annual scholarship drive and helps bestow summer-study scholarships to talented dancers who may otherwise be unable to participate in the prestigious national ballet programs for which they have been accepted.
It’s not often that two people can single-handedly be credited for bringing Akron-area arts to so many children who otherwise might not have the opportunity to either participate in the dance program or experience the joy of a live arts performance in their own community. The Nobles deserve this recognition for their continued quest to bring the joy of dance to as many children as possible.
Without the efforts of Mitchell Kahan, the Akron arts scene would paint a much different picture. Since his appointment as director of the Akron Art Museum in 1986, Kahan significantly impacted the city and cultural landscape.
Under his direction, the museum enjoyed significant institutional growth, including the 83,000-square-foot redesign and expansion which was headed by Viennese firm Coop Himmelb(l)au. The institution’s endowment grew from $2 million to $24 million and more than doubled the staff and number of objects in the museum’s permanent collection. In fact, Kahan raised almost $5 million in permanent endowment funds for purchasing art. Upon his retirement in January 2013, he was elected director emeritus by the museum’s board of trustees.
As the Akron Art Museum’s longest-serving director, Kahan brought an impressive record of achievement to not only the museum’s 90-year history, but to the cultural arts in the region. Within the community, Kahan has actively cultivated relationships with other organizations and initiated collaborations with a wide variety of groups. He initiated the plan to secure the former Akron Press Building for use as a countywide art center — now Summit Artspace — and was a founding officer and president of the Akron Area Arts Alliance.
A native of Virginia, Kahan received his Ph.D. from City University of New York Graduate School. An art history student since his undergraduate days at the University of Virginia, he earned his master’s degree from Columbia University. He has received research fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has written and lectured extensively on 20th century American painting and folk art. He is co-author of the Akron Art Museum’s award-winning book, “Akron Art Museum: Art Since 1850, An Introduction to the Collection.” His professional experience includes a post as Curator of American and Contemporary Art at the North Carolina Museum of Art (1982-86) and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Alabama (1978-82).
Outstanding Artist in Music
Since first attending The University of Akron, Kurt Reed has been in love with the artistic culture of the Akron area.
He has always believed in the transformative power of music, and in 2007 he opened his own music school in Kent. Currently, Reed owns the Fairlawn and Hudson Schools of Music, serving individuals in the Greater Akron area. His businesses have used music to support a variety of nonprofit organizations, including the Akron Dog Park, Grief Care Place, Relay for Life and the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.
Reed’s schools regularly host recital performances and rock shows at local venues to encourage the community to support young, local musicians. In April 2013, his businesses hosted “Rock for a Good Cause,” allowing students to see how their performances can impact the community in a positive way. In its first year, the event raised nearly $800 for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Aside from offering superior music instruction, Reed’s goal is to allow musicians to make a living doing what they love by teaching with him, allowing them to stay in the Akron area rather than traveling to a larger city in pursuit of their musical dreams.
Reed has shown ongoing dedication to the Akron area and continues to build an active community of musicians who are excited to call the city home for years to come.
Rising Young Star – Arts Leadership
Jacqueline Tinnemeyer is a rising star in Akron, serving the region by cultivating and supporting the next generation of arts and culture fans. She consistently provides remarkable service to Greater Akron through her leadership, the donation of her time and energy and the passion she brings to the Northeast Ohio arts community.
Currently on staff at Old Trail School in Bath, Tinnemeyer spends her free time in service to organizations including the Akron Art Museum, Blossom Music Center, Downtown Akron Partnership, Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce, Junior League of Akron, Young Professionals, Wadsworth Young Professionals and Summit County Historical Society.
Since 2010, Tinnemeye, an enthusiastic promoter and advocate for the arts, has served as chair of ArtCetera, the Akron Area Arts Alliance’s organization for young professionals with a passion for the arts. She has led the organization’s transformation into an active group that exposes Akron’s young leaders to the importance of attending, volunteering for and supporting artistic venues. Through her work, she has spearheaded bringing arts and cultural experiences to younger audiences through social programming including events held at local theaters, art galleries and other area nonprofits.
Outstanding Visual Artist
An internationally recognized nature illustrator, Dorothea “Dot” Barlowe continues to create and publish new work at age 87.
Her work as an artist, both alone and with husband Sy, has become part of many people’s lives — helping to introduce nature to generations of Americans. While many people have eased into retirement, Barlowe is still at work, celebrating beauty in nature-themed coloring books, stickers and bookmarks for Dover Publications — published works that are sold around the world, making her art accessible to the planet.
Barlowe began her career in the 1940s, working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City after studies at Cooper Union and Columbia University. As a highly successful freelance illustrator, her work has appeared in numerous books, magazines, newspapers and scientific journals throughout the world. Having written and illustrated the acclaimed book “Illustrating Nature,” she was an instructor at the Parsons School of Design, where she taught courses on how to illustrate nature and botany.
During her long career, Barlowe has worked for many of the largest publishing companies in the United States and her artwork has been featured in American Artist magazine. Her work appears in 15 books for Golden Press, including their original guidebooks for “Seashores,” “Trees of North America,” “The American Southeast,” and “Non-Flowering Plants.” She has done features for The New York Times and Newsday and has illustrated nature books for Knopf, Random House, Morrow, Follett, American Heritage Press, Putnam, Harper & Row, McGraw-Hill, Grosset & Dunlap and Dover. In addition to the books she has illustrated, she has contributed artwork to several Audubon Society field guides, “The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds,” “Encyclopedia Americana” and “Webster’s New World Dictionary.”
Collaborative Outreach Project
“The Rite of Spring” – Akron Symphony Orchestra/GroundWorks DanceTheater
To mark the 100th anniversary of the first staging of Stravinsky’s controversial ballet, “The Rite of Spring,” Akron Symphony Orchestra Music Director Christopher Wilkins approached David Shimotakahara, artistic director of GroundWorks DanceTheater, with an idea for an exciting collaborative performance.
The project brought together 100 musicians and 23 professional and student dancers for the Akron Symphony’s first full-scale production of a classical concert involving dance.
To build the dance company, Shimotakahara went into schools and dance programs to audition more than 100 students with a range of experience. Eventually, 15 students were chosen to join eight professional dancers on the E.J. Thomas Hall stage. Leading to the performance, the Akron Symphony and GroundWorks produced outreach videos and conducted workshops that focused on the interplay between instrumental music and dance. Area students were also invited to E.J. Thomas Hall to watch the dress rehearsal, where they had an opportunity to listen to and speak with Shimotakahara and Wilkins.
“The Rite of Spring” drew the largest Classics Series audience of the season and has encouraged future collaborations. The next day, the outreach effort continued as the musicians of the Akron Symphony traveled to Medina to perform a special community concert. The ensemble, without dancers, revisited “The Rite of Spring” – donating their time and performance fees. The Medina concert was part of an ongoing relationship with the city, resulting in more appearances at the Medina Performing Arts Center – expanding audiences, building relationships and exposing new groups of people to classical music.
As an associate professor of dance and director of the dance division at The Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance, Andrea Shearer has worked to insure that each of her students reaches his or her potential.
She developed Kent State’s Dance Education major curriculum as it now exists, and she continues to oversee internships and student teaching placements throughout Northeast Ohio. Shearer understands the need to educate audiences as well as students, creating a visual display for audiences and offering pre-performance commentary.
The Kent dance program achieved accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Dance under Shearer’s leadership, and she’s led several successful Dance Education program reviews by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. Shearer has a continuing role as coordinator for dance in Kent State’s Master of Arts Teaching (MAT) program, which enables graduates to get a MAT degree with one year of intensive study.
Shearer holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan. She previously taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and performed professionally with DanceCircus, Milwaukee’s modern dance repertory company. She has taught, choreographed and performed ballet, modern, sacred, swing and contra dance across the United States.
As artistic director of Kent State’s Faculty Concerts and associate director of Leaven Dance Company, Shearer has created 50 original works. Her scholarly research has included intensive work in the area of kinesthetic intelligences. Shearer’s students have gone on to have careers as professional dancers and dance educators.
Presenting Joan Colbert with the award for Arts Volunteer is an honor that’s near and dear to the heart of the Akron Area Arts Alliance and Summit Artspace. Colbert has been the longtime gallery coordinator for the community art center, bringing together the gallery committee, selecting artists for shows and installing exhibits while establishing Summit Artspace as one of the region’s most exciting gallery experiences.
Along with her own work as a fine artist, Colbert is also active in presenting the Arts in the Square festival in Highland Square, working on First Night Akron and holding leadership roles in Artists of Rubber City and the West Hill Neighborhood Organization in West Akron. She currently has a studio, along with other local artists, on the third floor of Summit Artspace.
Colbert is a graduate of The University of Akron. She paints, exhibits her work and has won numerous awards in both juried shows and art festivals. In 2005, she was honored with the Outstanding Visual Artist award presented at the biennial Arts Alive! by the Akron Area Arts Alliance. The Akron-Summit County Public Library owns work commissioned for new branch libraries (most recently, the North Hill branch), and she was the First Night Akron 2001 button designer. Her previous experience includes graphic work for both the City of Akron and the Akron-Summit County Public Library. She continues to do freelance illustration and promotions.
Docs Who Rock – United Way of Summit County/The University of Akron
Now it its 10th year, Docs Who Rock has become one of the region’s “must-see” annual musical events. Created and produced by United Way of Summit County and hosted by The University of Akron at E.J. Thomas Hall, the show allows community physicians to showcase their musical talents.
Each year, a show is assembled that features 10 or 11 musical acts ranging from solos to full bands with as many as 15 musicians. The acts perform a variety of musical styles, including rock, classical, pop and bluegrass, and every entry has at least one medical doctor who lives or practices in Summit County. Retired cardiologist and renowned humanitarian Dr. Terry Gordon serves as Master of Ceremonies and adds his unique style to the evening.
Docs Who Rock is a true collaboration that results in an outstanding and entertaining event that allows doctors to have a little bit of fun showcasing their less formal sides. The performances are taken very seriously, and the resulting shows have drawn an average of 1,200 people and raised more than $100,000 for United Way of Summit County, helping to improve lives over the past decade. Sponsorship from The University of Akron makes it possible to host the event on the world-class E.J. Thomas stage, adding to the overall experience for musicians and audience.