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After Two Years of Planning, Akron Has a Public Art Plan

The @Play exhibit is housed at founder Mac Love's studio in downtown Akron.
Public art projects in Akron will now be commissioned by a nine person board, which reflects the diversity of the city.

Akron officials today unveil a new cultural plan after two years of community forums and public review. And residents have overwhelmingly asked for more public art in the city.

The plan’s guiding principles include celebrating the city’s arts and providing opportunities for residents to experience its culture. Nicole Mullet, executive director of the non-profit ArtsNow, says that will happen thanks to a new, nine-person Public Art Commission.

“By merit of having a commission that is diverse and reflects the city – not only geographically, but in terms of race and gender identity and age – we’re going to be able to ensure that the community as a whole is reflected.”

Akron City Council tonight will consider a funding proposal that redirects one percent of future special tax incentive districts from developers to public art projects.

Mullet says the proposal to fund those projects is not a new tax on residents.

“One percent of the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) give-back program would -- instead of going to developers -- be committed to resourcing public art. A TIF that would normally go back to [developers] would be committed to beautifying the city and, hopefully, making their business projects that much more desirable.”

The funds will go toward commissioning and also maintaining public art in the city. Mullet adds that those projects will be overseen by the new Public Art Commission. Anyone interested in applying for a role on the commission can find details here.

See the executive summary of the cultural plan below.


Kabir Bhatia joined WKSU as a Reporter/Producer and weekend host in 2010. While a Kent State student, Bhatia served as a WKSU student assistant, working in the newsroom and for production.