State of the Arts

Credit Mark Arehart and Andrew Meyer / WKSU

Theater and dance, museums and music, film and food: From fine art to pop culture, from the mainstream to the cutting edge, Northeast Ohio is full of experiences to tantalize the senses.  Friday’s on Morning Edition, WKSU’s Mark Arehart explores all that Northeast Ohio has to offer on State of the Arts.

Ways to Connect

Mark Arehart / WKSU

From Cleveland to Oberlin to Canton, the coronavirus is forcing arts and cultural institutions to close their doors. We have more on the far reaching effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how those in the arts are adapting.

a photo of poet Nina Gibans

"In the Garden of Old Age" is a reflection on love, friendship and finding peace. The book is a collaboration between an older writer and a young photographer. On this week's State of the Arts, we sit down with the book's creators.

a photo of Matthew Cherry

A former University of Akron football player has traded in the gridiron for the Oscar's red carpet. Matthew Cherry is nominated for his short animated film, "Hair Love" about a young African-American girl struggling to get ready for a big day. On this week's State of the Arts, we talk with Cherry about his filmmaking journey.

A surge in popularity is breathing life into Northeast Ohio's pinball scene.

This story was originally published on May 3, 2019.

Pinball is surging in popularity across the country. Here in Northeast Ohio, casual players are rediscovering once forgotten games. And there’s a competitive pinball scene brewing that draws in players from hundreds of miles away.

On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart has his quarters ready as he takes us through the region's pinball renaissance.

The holidays are full of food, fellowship, and for many, watching holiday favorites on TV. But what makes something a Christmas movie? On this week’s State of the Arts, we talk with an expert on the subject.


Lake View Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Cleveland's most famous residents. But it's also the subject of a yearlong passion project by Cleveland Heights photographer Michael Weil.

On this week's State of the Arts we explore "Moonlight in the Gates: 150 years of Lake View Cemetery in a New Reflective Light."

a photo of the video game art exhibit

From Atari to Xbox, the world of video games has grown from arcade subculture into a multi-billion dollar industry. An exhibition of video game artwork—both inspired by and created in virtual worlds—is now on display at the Akron Art Museum. On this week's State of the Arts, we delve into the landscape of "Open World: Video Games and Contemporary Art."

Mark Arehart / WKSU

For some people, when they think of wallpaper they may think of garish prints from the '60s and '70s. Or maybe even their childhood bedroom.

Two Akron wallpaper lovers got together to write a book about the Rubber City’s love affair with wallcoverings. On this week’s State of the Arts, we peel back the pages of the new book "If This Wallpaper Could Talk" by Karen Starr and Shane Wynn.

Teylers Museum, Haarlem, purchased in 1790.

Michelangelo's sculptures and paintings are a cornerstone of art history. But the artist was notoriously private with his notes and sketches. A new exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art provides a rare glimpse into his creative process. On this week's State of the Arts, we take a walk through "Michelangelo: Mind of the Master."

a photo of a banner made by Kameelah Janan Rasheed

This fall, media outlets, universities and people around the world are remembering the year 1619, the year a ship carrying more than 20 slaves came ashore in what is now Virginia. An exhibition at the Allen Memorial Art Museum in Oberlin looks at how artists are exploring slavery and the African Diaspora.

In this week's State of the Arts, we take a walk through "Afterlives of the Black Atlantic."

a photo of Arts Education

The Ohio Alliance for Arts Education is welcoming a new leader. Jarrod Hartzler is leaving Akron’s Tuesday Musical to take over as the Alliance’s executive director.

On this Week's State of the Arts we sit down with Hartzler, who thinks some things are working in schools when it comes to the arts, while other aspects need improvement.

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

"The Shawshank Redemption" was mostly shot on location in Mansfield and it's turned the city into a tourist destination. Actors, the movie’s director, film historians and legions of fans are coming back to Mansfield to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary this year. On this Week’s State of the Arts, we talk with actor Bob Gunton, who you may or may not know by name, but you'll definitely recognize him if you’re a fan of the film.

a photo of the Bechdel Film Fest poster

Many movies opening this summer won't pass the test, the Bechdel Test. It brings attention to gender inequality in mainstream film. The Bechdel Film Fest brings 50 films that pass the test to downtown Akron, including shorts, foreign films and some surprising Hollywood hits. On this week’s State of the Arts we talk with the festival's founder about highlighting female voices in front of and behind the camera.

Charity Tillemann-Dick

Editor's Note:  Soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick, a singer whose voice reached new heights after two double-lung transplants at the Cleveland Clinic, passed away this week at the age of 35. Tillemann-Dick is survived by her loved ones and her talent is celebrated by the countless ears that were lucky enough to hear her sing.

She spoke with WKSU’s Mark Arehart in Oct. 2017 about her journey, her involvement at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit and her book, "The Encore: A Memoir in Three Acts."

a photo of Jamie Babbit and David K. Ream

The 43rd Cleveland International Film Festival starts Wednesday. This year the festival includes the debut of the DReam Catcher award celebrating LGBTQ filmmakers. On this week's State of the Arts WKSU's Mark Arehart talks with the director and Shaker Heights native being honored.

'Fred's Diner Does Bacon' by Debra-Lynn Hook won first place in the juried competition at Summit Artspace
Debra-Lynn Hook / Summit Artspace

There are 419 square miles in Summit County. But how do you capture such a wide area in a single photography exhibit? On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart heads to Summit Artspace to find out.

Mark Arehart / WKSU

Nick Cave's artwork is larger than life, deeply personal and decades in the making. Now at the Akron Art Museum you can see his signature sound suits made from thousands of household objects. On this week's State of the Arts, take a step into Nick Cave's world.

The @Play exhibit is housed at founder Mac Love's studio in downtown Akron.

The public art project called @Play brought something special to each one of Akron's neighborhoods. Now photos, maps and resident interviews are archived in a single museum-style exhibit.

On this week's State of the Arts, WKSU's Mark Arehart talks with @Play's creator about capturing each one of the Rubber City's distinct communities.

Artist Noah DiRuzza represents the environment's emotions in textures and colors.
Mark Arehart / WKSU

Notes of mountains, oceans and deep-space are captured in a new abstract painting exhibit at Stark State College. On this week's State of the Arts, we talk with painter Noah DiRuzza about his process and how he tries to represent the environment's emotions through his work.

Michelle R. Smith is one of the founders of Blax Museum, a cultural showcase that honor African American artists.
Mark Arehart / WKSU

Imagine having a chance to see Richard Pryor or Billie Holiday perform, to have intimate conversations with Frederick Douglass or James Baldwin. These icons in African American history and others are embodied in a cultural showcase called The Blax Museum.

On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU's Mark Arehart talks with educator, poet and blogger Michelle R. Smith about starting the project.

Warhol's series of screen prints highlight endangered or threatened species.
Mark Arehart / WKSU

The work of Pop Art icon Andy Warhol can be found at several museums across Northeast Ohio, but the last place you might expect to see his bright silkscreen prints is the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

On this week's State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart takes a look at Warhol's "Endangered Species" series and how the museum helped to bring back one of the series’ subjects from the brink of extinction.

Robert Ethington
Mark Arehart / WKSU

If you’re looking for some tips on something new to watch, read, or listen to, look no further than the library.


In this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart sat down with Robert Ethington, manager of the culture and audio visual department at the main branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library. They talked about the most popular picks of 2018 from the library’s collection.


TONY VACCARO (American, b. 1922) / Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, 2007.

The long career of Georgia O'Keeffe is being re-examined at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The exhibit "Georgia O'Keeffe: Living Modern" is an ode to how an accomplished seamstress and talented painter became one of the country’s most beloved artists. On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU's Mark Arehart walks through decades of her artwork, clothing and photographs.

Allison Zuckerman in her studio
Photo by Peter Koloff

A New York-based artist is reimagining some of art’s beloved masterworks and creating something completely new with pieces from the internet age. On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU's Mark Arehart talks with Allison Zuckerman about her new show, "Pirate and Muse," which is on display at the Akron Art Museum through Jan. 21.

Mark Arehart / WKSU

Bob's Hamburg is a beloved greasy spoon in Akron known as much for its unchanged décor as its food. But there could be a change in ownership coming. On this week's State of the Arts, WKSU's Mark Arehart takes us to the restaurant that’s stood in the same spot for nearly 90 years.