Building a Thriving Network: Akron Black Artist Guild

Artist Sasha Dixon

Just three years ago, a collective of Black professional artists imagined that their city could be a destination for Black artists to flourish. Often, artists travel for work and compete for subjective resources. Being an artist is much more than that! An artist needs like-minded support and genuine encouragement to create the works they imagine. As stated by poet Langston Hughes, “Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people—the beauty within themselves.”

Akron Black Artists Guild Reimagine Fellowship artist Chris Harvey

The Akron Black Artist Guild understands that artists need a platform, so they designed two residencies justifying the demand for mentorship and opportunity for those here in Akron. The Reimagine Fellowship commissioned three local Black artists to create original works that transformed the intersection of non-art sectors within their communities. The Art + Park Collective partnered with Summit Metro Parks, establishing equitable and digital accessibility for Black artists. The overall work produced learning experiences through performances, workshops, and demonstrations.

In building this thriving network, the Guild dedicates itself to educating and developing artists at every level of their artistic disciplines. Providing the groundwork for entrepreneurship, portfolio development, and artist engagement is crucial. The Guild has composed three programs, including a Speaker Series, most recently featuring Dr. Tameka Ellington on the The Business of Art, and the Write Strong workshop for literary artists. The work ahead is planning for the 2023 Outlined in Black exhibition, showcasing visual artists, musicians, and poets.

It is only the beginning for the Akron Black Artist Guild; for them, art has become the catalyst to facilitate a shared vision of building positive change in their surrounding communities. In a world often disdained, it is vital for an artist to contribute in voice, pen, paint, and movement to sustain a healthy society.

Art + Park Collective jewelry making, with Randi Mull (left, in pink earrings)


Leave a Reply