By Katie Hickman
Kenmore residents of all ages perused the walls of the Rialto Theatre. Suspense filled the room as budding artists and novices alike awaited the results: Would their creation be a cash-prize winner? Or, better yet, would it get chosen for a mural to be created on one of 15 locations along Kenmore Boulevard?
On Thursday, February 8, Kenmore Imagineer participants gathered in the historic theater to hear the results of the community-wide coloring book contest led by Mac Love, founder of the project and Chief Catalyst of Art x Love. Over 120 entries were submitted and over 3,000 of this free 16-page coloring book circulated across the community. The goal: To generate new ideas for bringing life back to Kenmore Boulevard’s public spaces.
“We came up with the Kenmore Imagineer as a way to engage every generation and create platform to discuss a shared vision for Kenmore’s future,” Love explained.
It was all part of Art X Love’s @Play project, which received a $241,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation last year to solve community problems using art and play. Kenmore joins the Middlebury neighborhood of East Akron as the first @Play locations in Akron.
The winner for best entry for each of the 15 locations won a $100 prize and their art will be on display at the Rialto Theatre for all to see.
To sweeten the pot, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance partnered with Art X Love to fund the actual creation of one the murals. Caleb Aronhalt, a local artist and Kenmore resident, will soon see his “Kenmore, Oh” entry become a reality on one building on Kenmore Boulevard, joining Studio 1008 and Kenmore Komics and Games as mural buildings.
The entry included a halo hovering over a large block-lettered “Kenmore,” with “Ohio” written in script as an homage to when Kenmore was once its own city.
“We loved Caleb’s mural because it reclaims the Kenmore name in a very positive way,” said Tina Boyes, executive director of Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance. “With the merger of the school, and with so many in our neighborhood fearing - even feeling - a loss of identity, Caleb’s mural helps to ensure that identity is here to stay.”
In addition to the Kenmore Imagineer project, Love’s Art X Love developed a Kenmore-proud interactive mural for September’s Kenmore Better Block event. There, residents and visitors alike contributed their designs and colors to an eight-foot-tall mural to be displayed at a yet-to-be-determined location on Kenmore Boulevard.
“I’ll tell you right now, Kenmore’s revival won’t be a cookie-cutter model of something you’ve seen elsewhere. It is going to be real, unique, genuine and fun,” he explained. “I don’t think Kenmore’s residents would have it any other way.”
Here is a full list of Kenmore Imagineer winners. See their artwork at the Rialto Theatre.
Caleb Aronhalt - Minion Mash
Stephanie Leonardi - MORE
Lindsey Jo Scott - Meditation
Paula Sandusky Holman - Let’s Come Together
Steve Gertrand - Coffee Shop Beans
Caleb Aronhalt - Let’s Hang Out
Matt Dunigan - Peace
Anika Kent - Bicycles
Caleb Aronhalt - Kenmore Ohio
Caleb Aronhalt - Large Minions
Caleb Aronhalt - Ghost Waves
Arlie Holman - Butterfly
Brian E. Jones - Absquatulate
Arlie Holman - Prism
Randi Garrett - Beautiful Kenmore