Meet Summit Artspace: Our September Kenmore First Friday Market Partner!

In 2015, the one-time Akron Area Arts Alliance was reborn as Summit Artspace – an organization that connects artists and artist-serving organizations to the community and to the resources they need to thrive.

On Friday, September 1, Summit Artspace will bring a mini-market to Kenmore Blvd. featuring local artists showing and selling their art from 6 – 9 p.m. during Kenmore First Friday.

We caught up with Heather Meeker, Summit Artspace executive director, to learn more about the organization and what Kenmore First Friday attendees can expect.

What kinds of artists will Summit Artspace feature at its mini market on Sept. 1?

Our mini-market includes local artists that create artwork in all types of media! From painting to photography to ceramics to fiber arts – you’ll find all kinds of creatives at Kenmore First Friday, just as you would when you visit Summit Artspace.

What sparked your interest in bringing artists to Kenmore Blvd.?

This is a great chance to show Kenmore and Akron the wonderful local artist community we have in Summit County. Anytime we can spread the work outside of our historic downtown Akron building, we are thrilled! The stronger our local artist community is across all of our neighborhoods, the more vibrant our local community will become. We want to facilitate that vision.

Summit Artspace’s mission includes connecting artists and artist-serving organizations to the community and to the resources they need to thrive professionally, creatively, and financially. Can you expand a bit on how Summit Artspace does some of these things?

In addition to our 35 resident artist studios and arts organizations at 140 East Market Street, we provide five nonprofit galleries for visual artists and rehearsal and class space for small performing arts companies. We hold numerous community events at our building like our quarterly ArtWalks and Artists Sunday, a national event that takes place the Sunday after Thanksgiving every year. 2023 is the fourth annual and it is a great chance to support local artists while picking up one-of-a-kind gifts for friends, family, and yourself! We also provide artist-centered professional development for artists, who we believe are already highly successful entrepreneurs.

How does Summit Artspace select the artists it works with/showcases/supports? Can artists reach out?

If you are an artist in Summit and surrounding counties, we are here to help. Our programs and events are affordable and designed to help you grow your practice. While we have a wait list for our studios, our events and community are a true resource for creatives, and open to all genres, ages, and stages in your artistic journey. Just visit our website or social media – and contact us via email, phone or in-person. We always post our opportunities across lots of platforms.

What should visitors to Summit Artspace’s physical location in downtown Akron expect? What do you think makes Summit Artspace unique?

Just like Kenmore First Friday, our public hours on Fridays and Saturdays are always FREE, as is our parking! A significant difference between Summit Artspace and other institutions is that local artists come to Summit Artspace specifically to sell their artwork and make connections. Almost everything in our galleries and our studios is for sale, with prices that fit anyone who walks through the door. We are a hub for artists to meet other artists, and for the community to meet and support them as well.

Anything else people should know?

There is always something amazing to see and someone terrific to meet at Summit Artspace! Mark your calendars: our next downtown Akron ArtWalk is on Friday, September 8th, and Artists Sunday is on November 26. And each quarter we change out all the galleries and walls in our building: our summer exhibitions close September 16 and our Fall exhibitions open October 6.

Be sure to Summit Artspace’s mini market during the next Kenmore First Friday on Friday, September 1, from 6 – 9 p.m. RSVP and check out the full event lineup on Facebook!

Summit Artspace welcomes visitors to its historic art-deco building located at 140 E. Market St. in downtown Akron on Fridays from noon – 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, visit summitartspace.org.

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