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

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.

photo of Christian McBride
Credit Tri-C JazzFest

Bassist Christian McBride is a Tri-C JazzFest regular having taken the stage a handful of times over the years. Next week he’s back to pay tribute to Cleveland soul legend Bobby Womack. On this week’s State of the Arts WKSU’s Mark Arehart talks with McBride about what makes Cleveland a jazz destination.

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.

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

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.

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.

'Morning' 1905. Clarence H. White. Gum bichromate print
Princeton University Art Museum / The Clarence H. White Collection

Ohio native Clarence H. White is considered one of the founding fathers of artistic photography. His work is now being celebrated at the Cleveland Museum of Art. On this Week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart explores the new exhibit "Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895–1925."

Mark Arehart / WKSU

The new film "Galveston" opens in theaters and on streaming platforms this week with some serious Hollywood star power, including Ben Foster, Elle Fanning and Beau Bridges. But the film’s producer doesn’t reside in California, instead he lives and works in Northeast Ohio. On this week’s State of the Arts WKSU’s Mark Arehart talks with producer Tyler Davidson about shooting many of his movies locally and why he chooses to stay in the Cleveland area.

Sculptor Don Drumm works in his private studio almost every day.

Artist Don Drumm has been a fixture of the Northeast Ohio art scene for nearly 50 years. On this week’s State of the Arts WKSU’s Mark Arehart takes us behind the scenes at the sculptor’s Akron studios.

Mark Arehart / WKSU

John Mellencamp has been making music and touring since the 1970s. But unbeknownst to many he’s dovetailed his music career with work as an accomplished painter. On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart takes us to the Butler Institute in Youngstown for a look at the rocker’s newest exhibit.

Rana Begum's paint and powder coated aluminium artwork hangs prominently on the first floor of the Clinic's Taussig Cancer Center.
Mark Arehart / WKSU

Millions pass through the doors of the Cleveland Clinic each year. With dozens of buildings on its main campus, there are miles and miles of wall space full of artwork. On this week’s State of the Arts, join us for a tour.

QuTheatr Ensemble members
Mark Arehart / WKSU

A group of teens in Akron is building a theater troupe from the ground up. The goal of the company is to provide a safe space for young people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU’s Mark Arehart visits with members of QuTheatr to see how the ensemble is coming together.

Cui Jie's Shanghai Bank Tower 2
Mark Arehart / WKSU

This summer, artists from around the world are exhibiting their work throughout Northeast Ohio as part of the FRONT International Triennial. On this week’s State of the Arts, WKSU's Mark Arehart heads to an Allen Memorial Art Museum gallery in Oberlin to take in one artist's fantastical view of architecture around her home country of China.