Curated Storefront offers plenty of winter-themed artistic sights in downtown Akron after dark

Building E in the Bowery district on Main Street is lit up with LED artwork by Kasumi.

When you’re walking down Main Street in downtown Akron to take in the festive lights and sights, be sure to check out the different winter displays, namely the glowing art installations by Curated Storefront that can be seen up and down South Main.

The first stop is actually at 43 Furnace St. at Northside, where three artistic nutcrackers grace the Zeber-Martell Gallery and Clay Studio windows. This is the fourth year the 6-foot nutcrackers have been displayed downtown and the first year they’ve graced an active artist studio and gallery.

They include “Wheel of Perseverance and Nutcracker,” an ornate fleur de lis prince in blues, reds and yellows with a large mandala backdrop in the same hues, painted by artist Aiseborn of Los Angeles; Wadsworth artist Maria Uhase‘s “Abandoned Guardian,” a tropical, lion-themed nutcracker; and a blinged-out nutcracker by Columbus painter and fashion designer Justin Campbell, who’s an Akron native.

Michael Martell, co-owner of Zeber-Martell Gallery & Clay Studio, peers at a nutcracker in the front display window in Akron.
Courtney Cable, Curated Storefront creative director, looks at the nutcracker display in the window of the Zeber-Martell Gallery & Clay Studio in Akron.

Heading to South Main Street, Curated Storefront has a handful of newer storefront installations. Check out Akron native Natalie Petrosky‘s “Floral Florists” painting with red accents mounted on a red backdrop at the 1918 Chemstress Courtyard Building at 39 S. Main St., which graces the window of a former florist shop. She constructs her paintings from cut pillowcases and scarves that she tiles together to make abstracted images — an homage to mosaics or stained glass.

Artwork by Natalie Petrosky can be seen along Main Street in Akron.

At Huntington Tower, 106 S. Main St., see Akron photographer Arnold Tunstall’s digital reproductions of toned gelatin silver prints, “On the Streets & at the Fair.” The images come from Tunstall’s street photography from his travels in Europe, seen on South Main, as well as his decades of photo-taking at the Canfield Fair in Canfield, Ohio, seen on Mill Street.

Photographic artwork by Arnold Tunstall is on display at the base of the Huntington Building in downtown Akron.

At 159 S. Main St. (formerly The Law Building), Pittsburgh artist Ian Brill‘s LED wall panel “Symposium” can be seen in the window. The 2-foot-by-5-foot piece is a multi-colored programmatic, light Installation.

One of the most dramatic sights lighting up downtown is a digital art project by Kasumi Films, dubbed PixElation, featured in every window of Building E’s three-story facade in the Bowery district at 174 S. Main St. The artwork runs on 18-inch LED tiles that link together like Legos to create the digital building facade that’s constantly morphing in 11 windows.

The Bowery district's Building E is all lit up with digital artwork by Kasumi on Main Street in Akron.

More animated digital art by 12 artists plays larger than life on the Akron Civic Theatre video monitor that faces Lock 3. The artists are Adam Dampier, David Wexler, Ghostshrimp, imcalledandy, Jake Fried, Saturno, Yoshi Sodeoka, Anita Herrera, Ann Ch., Dragoș Bǎdițǎ, Master Tingus and Sierra Siemer. The digital artwork is provided in partnership with Superchief Gallery NFT.

The late ceramicist Clayton Bailey's World of Wonders can be seen lit up in the lower level of the Polsky Building in downtown Akron.

Finally, check out the weirdness of the “World of Wonders” at the University of Akron’s Polsky Building at 225 S. Main St., where the windows display robots, Bigfoot’s skull and other oddities. They’re actually ceramic “Nut Art” or “Funk Art” pieces created by the late Clayton Bailey. Looking in on these creatures by night, including the “Jumping Judy” skeleton, is quite a sight.

What is the Curated Storefront?

The Curated Storefront began as a 2016 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge grantee.

Since its launch, the project has facilitated more than 100 exhibits in 27 spaces featuring the work of 150 regional and international artists.

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