Beyond the Dream
On April 28, 2018, a sit-in discussion was organized at Perkins Middle School to commemorate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. following the 50-year anniversary of his assassination. Akron and Summit County residents were invited to understand MLK’s legacy beyond his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and encouraged to share their genuine concerns about the state of Akron’s community. We commissioned three artists to listen to what people had to say and create a painting that gives life to their words.
This artwork honor’s Martin Luther King Jr.’s transformative vision of a just and equal society, and is permanently on display at Akron City Hall. It is designed to connect and empower people, and to promote public discussion about critical issues facing our community.
To learn more about the event and local organizations that are addressing these issues, please visit: http://artxlove.com/blog/btd
By Nichole Epps
This work is a snapshot of health disparities as it relates to class, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Figures on the bridge are representative of underserved groups directly impacted by disparities in health. Faces of women are prominent in this piece because women historically have been at the center of inequality. Community as a whole is responsible for the community as a whole, and holding those charged with bridging the gaps accountable is a social responsibility.
About the Artist
Nichole Epps is a self-taught visual artist born and raised in Akron, Ohio. She is skilled in various mediums including, ink pen, acrylic, and sculpture. She prides herself on being a free hand artist and creating from a space of raw emotion.
Through art, Nichole addresses many social, political, and personal issues. Her art has a way of showing you something about yourself that was formerly invisible. She believes that art is a powerful way to learn what we care about most through its ability to make you feel. Nichole never shies away from subject matter that may lead you to feel uncomfortable, which she says is the most powerful emotion as it relates to art as a vehicle in effecting change.
In addition to understanding the importance art serves in enriching the physical, economic, social, and cultural elements of community. Nichole is committed to social activism and currently works for a non-profit as a Board of Nursing certified Community Health Worker.
By Anika Kent
This piece is meant to give viewers insight into various experiences and observations of economic disparity in Akron. The skyline is fixed in the horizon as stories from the Akron community emerge from the city. Through these stories, I examine social attitudes and institutional systems prevalent throughout our society that contribute to discrimination, racism, and economic disparities. Through the creation of this piece, I continue to engage in active self-reflection. I encourage the viewer to examine their own privileges, attitudes, biases, and actions.
About the Artist
Anika Kent is a multi-disciplinary artist whose creative practice includes visual art, movement, and song-writing.
Born and raised in Akron, OH, to a South American mother and Californian father, Anika’s work is greatly influenced by her Latin American roots, growing up in a multicultural environment, and time spent living abroad.
After graduating from Firestone High School in 2008, Anika moved to Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2014; and returned to her hometown of Akron in 2015, where she lives today.
Anika’s visual art methods are focused on drawing, painting, sewing, and embroidery; as well as employing the use of textiles as a surface for these media. Through this visual art practice, Anika explores themes of everyday life, cultural identity, the human body, and the decisive reclamation of “domestic” art forms, historically categorized as “women’s work.”
By Lindsey Jo Scott
This piece is intended to convey the emotions and insights from those who have experienced educational inequality and discrimination. As a whole, educational inequality refers to the unequal distribution of academic and social resources, including but not limited to; school funding, qualified and experienced teachers, books, and access to technology. The words surrounding the images are direct quotes of those who shared their experiences at the “Beyond the Dream” event in April, 2018. I included these direct quotes in order to best represent the experiences and insights shared. Additionally, the piece includes quotes and ideas that were offered for solutions at the event, as we imagined what is needed for educational equality to become a reality. The hope for this piece is that it can serve as an educational tool about the pain of educational inequality and offer a place from which discussions for change can continue.
About the Artist
Lindsey Jo Scott is an artist specializing in painting, illustration, writing, textiles, dance and social activism. A native to Northeast Ohio and a graduate of the University of Akron’s Myers School of Art, Lindsey Jo is best known for the way in which she animates the spirit of joy and lightness in her work through her use of vibrant colors and positive imagery and words. As an artist, she combines her creative practice with her work as a yoga teacher, focusing on the belief that art can help us to be more alive and more fully connected to ourselves and each other. Her work is influenced by her passion for spirituality, psychology, philosophy, poetry, travel, nature, midcentury design, pop art, and children's doodles. Through the use of a variety of materials, including acrylic, gouache, crayons, collage, and digital tools, Lindsey Jo creates pieces layered with emotion to convey a message of truth, beauty and hope. Lindsey Jo currently resides in Akron, Ohio with her husband, Brad, who works as a teacher and administrator for Akron Public Schools. Together, they are invested in their community and excited to continue working to make Akron the best it can be.
By Dee McCall & Ashley Sherrod
This interactive painting was created by University of Akron students for “Beyond the Dream: Neighbors Reclaiming Akron,” a sit-in discussion organized in West Akron to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. Attendees were encouraged to leave their mark as a gesture of commitment toward improving the state of our community.
This painting went on to tour Akron’s neighborhoods in 2018 as part of the @PLAY project, which helped restore and reinvigorate Akron’s public pools at Reservoir Park and Perkins Woods. In two days of celebration, @PLAY’s pool parties attracted more than 700 residents, many of whom left their mark on this painting, including Mayor Dan Horrigan and numerous City of Akron employees.