Call for Artists: Park East Artist in Residence Phase II

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Call for Artists - DEADLINE :  
Call for Artists: Park East Artist in Residence Phase II



Call for Artists
Park East Artist-In-Residence: Phase II
Submission Deadline: December 3, 2018, 11:59pm

Organization Summary – ArtsNow

ArtsNow is a community organization committed to supporting and advancing Summit County arts and culture.

Our collaborative work includes:

·       Advocating for arts and culture as critical keys to economic viability and social vibrancy (across public, private, and nonprofit sectors)

·       Developing resources for arts and culture in the county

·       Connecting and convening talent in the local arts and culture world to drive improvement, inclusion, and impact in our community

·       Sharing information about the diverse arts and culture offerings to Summit County residents across a number of platforms

Project Overview

Art and nature are for everyone. ArtsNow seeks to leverage the arts to awaken a sense of community possibilities in Park East and energize neighbors to create resolutions for common problems, either as individuals or as a collective.

This effort is the second of two phases being implemented through a grant provided by Mural Arts Philadelphia and in collaboration with Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition. 

Phase One

Phase I began in September of 2018 and leveraged local artists through an artist-in-residence format. The artists are engaging and supporting residents through creative efforts to determine “What is the heart and soul of Park East?” Phase I will wrap-up by March 1, 2019.

Phase Two

In Phase II, the artist(s) in residence (AIR) will build on the efforts of Phase I to advance the inclusive conversation with residents, which will result in a mural that must incorporate the wall of the structure on the tennis courts which are in a City of Akron park. This wall is made of concrete and is 11’ high x 67’long and the work of priming the wall included residents of Park East and neighboring communities using handprints to start the work in the summer of 2018. The future of Park East is in their hands and Phase II should seek to honor the residents of Park East in the creation of the more permanent installation. The artist in residence will use a collaborative approach to the mural design by pairing their artistic excellence with community values and priorities through community conversation. This community engagement will be addressed in conjunction with the project management team. Please see the proposed draft timeline below for details. Photographs of the tennis courts and the wall are shared below. The selected artist(s) will be asked to explore additional spaces in Park East where additional murals or an expansion of the mural on the wall could take place depending on budget and resident priorities with residents and the project management team.


Project Scope

The project will center around developing a visual representation in the form of a mural which showcases the heart and soul of the Park East neighborhood and is created in collaboration with residents.

This work will build trust and expand relationships with Park East residents and neighbors, and the project should complement and respect previous work established by Akron Civic Commons (ACC) and their team. The design of the mural will incorporate feedback and community participation and at all points, the project management team and Mural Arts Philadelphia will be on-hand to support the artist in this effort.

Park East Community Overview

The neighborhood sits along the Ohio and Erie Canal, and the Towpath runs through the center between Downtown Akron and Summit Lake. Residents include long-time homeowners and renters in partially- and fully-subsidized units. The estimated population of Park East is 1,476 total residents with 72% Black/African American, 20% White, 8% Other, 44% Male, and 56% Female. Sixty-six percent of the population is at or below poverty with a median household income of $10,380. Thirty-nine percent of the population is in the labor force, while 61% is not, and 62% of the population live alone in non-family households.  

Photographs of Park East Tennis Court / Mural Wall


Residency Requirements

Any artist, established or emerging, working in any medium is encouraged to apply. Individuals, couples, or collaboratives may apply, but please note that we cannot offer additional budgetary resources to individual members. Artists do not need to have experience involving socially engaged art to be considered. Part of the process will be working with experts in the field to ensure authentic community engagement. Preference will be given to artists living in Summit County, Ohio.

Artists must have experience with mural-making in regards to design and painting applications and a willingness to explore new practices with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Artists will maintain control of design and implementation.

Terms of Residency

Artist(s) will receive:

·       $14,000

·       Professional development opportunities through Mural Arts Philadelphia and ArtsNow

·       Background and support from Akron Civic Commons

·       Support from a project management team who will assist in ensuring deadlines and objectives are met

·       Travel coverage to and from Philadelphia for a Fall 2019 symposium with Mural Arts Philadelphia

·       Up to $17,000 for materials and implementation of a mural and additional spaces to be identified in conjunction with residents

Artist Expectations:

The artist(s) will be expected to commit fully in spirit and practice to the intent and framework of the residency. There is no guarantee that this process will not involve challenges, conflicts, or failures and it is the responsibility of the artist to work in good faith with all parties to attempt to fulfill the commitments to the community and partners in Park East.  It is expected the artist will work in a way that is respectful to partners and the community as a whole.

The artist will need to spend the amount of time necessary to build the relationships and authentically complete the scope of work.

Selection Process

A jury of Park East neighbors, partner organizations, and artists will make-up the selection committee.  Submissions will be received December 3, 2018 by 11:59pm.  The artists will be notified the week of December 17th, 2018.


The completed application must be received by 11:59pm on December 3, 2018 in order to be considered. The completed application should be submitted to ArtsNow at Questions/concerns should be directed to

The completed application must include:

Cover Letter

1.     Name(s)

2.     Email Address

3.     Mailing Address

4.     Telephone Number

5.     Website (If applicable)

Application Narrative

The narrative cannot be longer than 500 words and must include an artist statement, which details your experience with mural making and, if applicable, community-based art. The narrative should also include any examples of community input into your creative process.

Work Samples

You may submit a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 images, video, or audio files.  Images must be formatted as JPEGS and less than 1MB each in size.

All files should be titled with last name, first name, work sample, and a number indicating the viewing order.

Work Sample Description List

Work sample descriptions should include title of the piece, date of creation or installation, and any relevant details.

Maximum of three pages including education, exhibition or project history, and any other relevant artistic experience.

Timeline: Phase I and Phase II

October 2018
Phase I creative engagement projects begin in Park East
November 5th, 2018
Phase II RFP is released
December 3, 2018, 11:59pm
Phase II RFP Deadline
December 14,, 2018
Artist Notification Week
February 1-28, 2018
Phase I wraps-up and Phase II Artist Begins
Phase II Artist in Residence: Learning and strategy- building begins with support from the project management team
March – April 2019
AIR will begin implementing community engagement strategies to inform design
April-May 2019
Mural design finalized
June-July 2019
Painting by artist and community paint days (as appropriate)
Mural Installation
July/Early August, 2019
Community celebration
Fall 2019 (Date TBD)
Second Annual Mural Arts Philadelphia Symposium


In addition to ArtsNow, partners include:

Akron Civic Commons (
Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition (
Park East Steering Committee
Mural Arts Philadelphia (

Akron Civic Commons: Additional Information

“Akron is Reimagining the Civic Commons because we need to develop and activate equitable and accessible outstanding civic spaces for all residents and visitors.”
–Dan Rice, President and CEO, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition

A great civic asset has the ability to make visitors feel welcome, connect neighbors, and allow people to take responsibility for and own our public spaces. Akron Reimagining the Civic Commons is a national initiative focused on the idea that a connected set of civic assets – a civic commons – can generate more equitably shared prosperity across cities and neighborhoods.

One of five cities selected for a $5 million grant, Akron is currently on a three-year journey to apply this theory to public spaces along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail. The Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition along with a growing team of partners are working in downtown Akron, Park East, and Summit Lake to reinvigorate public space through civic engagement.


ArtsNow: Additional Information


In late 2012, the GAR Foundation and the Knight Foundation set out to understand the strengths, challenges, relevance, and opportunities for Summit County’s arts sector. Together they designed a research process, the Summit County Arts and Culture Initiative, that would arrive at this understanding by looking at multiple perspectives–not just that of arts organizations. This initiative marked the first time this type of work was done for or with the arts sector in the greater Akron area. A diverse, multi-sector, 19-member steering committee oversaw the research phase of the work. The final report told us:

o   Summit County has many great assets upon which to build, but many assets are in jeopardy, with waning relevance to audiences and eroding financial stability;

o   The business sector values a vibrant arts and culture scene as a key tool for talent attraction and retention, and yet businesses feel disconnected from the arts;

o   Consumers have to work too hard to find arts and culture offerings;

o   Many consumers want different kinds of arts experiences that are more relevant to their lives; and,

o   There is no “glue” holding the arts together as a high-functioning sector.

Armed with this rich information, we embarked upon the engagement phase, which kicked off in January 2014. During this process over 250 people from all walks of life attended working group meetings and dug into the work of shoring up greater Akron’s arts and culture sector. As the work progressed, it became evident a new organization was needed to meet the needs of Summit County and to fill a noticeable gap in the sector. In July of 2015, ArtsNow was created as the means of addressing these findings and serving as the conduit to ensure the arts and culture sector is fully leveraged in findings solutions to community needs and moving us forward as a region.


ArtsNow envisions a Summit County where our arts & culture assets are fully leveraged to support and strengthen the region’s economic and social vibrancy.  The public’s demand for and participation in arts & culture is high, and artists and arts organizations deliver diverse, innovative and accessible offerings that make Summit County a highly creative community that is extremely attractive to artists, businesses and residents.  Because of the sector’s strength, Summit County’s arts & culture enjoys strong and growing support from the public and private sectors. 


ArtsNow strengthens Summit County by advancing its arts & culture assets and building connections between arts & culture and the broad community.  ArtsNow:

o   provides residents of Summit County access to information about the diverse arts & culture offerings available in Summit County.

o   aggregates and analyzes data about arts & culture to drive sector improvement.

o   advocates for arts & culture across the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

o   convenes and connects makers and presenters to strengthen the sector’s impact and relevance.

o   builds and strengthens funding for arts & culture.


o   We embrace a broad, inclusive definition of arts & culture. 

o   We greatly value the distinct role of makers and presenters of arts & culture, and see our role as connecting them with each other and with the community.

o   We view cooperation and collaboration as core to our success; we work as both a solo performer and as part of an ensemble to best address challenges and opportunities.

o   We serve all communities in the County by working throughout Summit County and in the urban core. 

o   We accomplish our work by building and nurturing connections at the highest levels of influence in the community.

o   We employ the most effective methods and technology to collect and communicate information on behalf of arts & culture. 

We approach fundraising and revenue generation with the explicit goal of increasing the size of the pie for all makers and presenters in Summit County.

Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition: Additional Information

History and Overview

Established in 1989, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition (OECC) is a private, non-profit organization working to develop the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and National Heritage Area in Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas Counties. The OECC provides educational programs, events, and publications about the Canalway, while developing strong working relationships with partners to preserve and interpret the natural, historical and recreational resources throughout the area.

The Ohio & Erie Canal opened up the Ohio frontier for settlement and provided settlers with a reliable form of transportation to ship products. This unique waterway is being rediscovered as communities seek to celebrate their heritage while stimulating community & economic development. Today, there is renewed interest in the preservation, development, and interpretation of the Ohio & Erie Canal’s resources.

Mission Statement

Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition shall stimulate public interest and support for the protection, preservation, development and enhancement of the historical, natural and recreational resources along the route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

The OECC shall encourage local, regional and nationwide recognition of the Ohio & Erie Canalway National Heritage Area:

Coordinating and representing the interests of the citizens, corporate community and government agencies in Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

Working toward establishing a continuous physical link along or near the planned Canalway.

Encouraging and assisting the development of compatible economic ventures throughout the Ohio & Erie Canalway.

Developing strong working relationships with partners to preserve and interpret the natural, recreational and historic resources throughout the Canalway.

Incorporating the needs of the local community into the Canalway plan through meetings with government and business leaders to enhance the quality of life along the Canalway.

Promoting and developing educational programs which interpret the natural, historical and recreational resources along the Canalway.

Our Activities

As a non-profit, we work with community, government and corporate business leaders in Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Tuscarawas counties to develop economic opportunities throughout the National Heritage Area. We have created collaborative relationships with elected officials, community leaders, park districts, local businesses, and volunteers. We work closely with these partners to develop trail plans, encourage community engagement, and maintain the Towpath Trail.

In an effort to truly activate the Ohio & Erie Canalway, the OECC also hosts many educational programs including the Cargill Bluegill Fishing Derby, Canoe Adventure, Tour Du Towpath, the Goodyear Towpath Trek, Canal Clean Ups, and Healthy Steps. These events are designed to educate children and adults on the historical, recreational and educational resources along the Ohio & Erie Canalway, while often supporting the work that still needs to be done.

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change.

For over 30 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative process, rooted in the traditions of mural-making, to create art that transforms public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts engages communities in 60–100 public art projects each year, and maintains its growing collection through a restoration initiative. Our core program areas—Art Education, Restorative Justice, and Porch Light—yield unique, project-based learning opportunities for thousands of youth and adults.

Each year, 15,000 residents and visitors tour Mural Arts’ outdoor art gallery, which has become part of the city’s civic landscape and a source of pride and inspiration, earning Philadelphia international recognition as the “City of Murals.”


We believe that art ignites change.

We create art with others to transform places, individuals, communities and institutions. Through this work, we establish new standards of excellence in the practice of public and contemporary art.

Our process empowers artists to be change agents, stimulates dialogue about critical issues, and builds bridges of connection and understanding.

Our work is created in service of a larger movement that values equity, fairness, and progress across all of society.

We listen with empathetic ears to understand the aspirations of our partners and participants. And through beautiful collaborative art, we provide people with the inspiration and tools to seize their own future.


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