Art Is by Sharetta Howze

This poem by Sharetta Howze was inspired by her participation in the Akron cultural planning process.


(By Sharetta Howze)


When I’m at war in my mind, art is my ammunition. 

When I’m lost looking for answers, creativity helps me clear all suspicion.

Art is the very rhythm of its artists and owners’ heartbeat.

From a pen to a brush, arts speak fluently.

The movement that flows through dance can put your eyes and minds in a trance,

Live art can be used to deliver a message to take a stance.


Art is beauty.

It can turn pain into passion.

It can, and will if you allow it, produce freedom of mind for what once held you captive.

Art is hope for an African American girl like me,

It’s home to zone away and dream!

A space to believe in myself,

To know through the gift of creativity is endless possibilities and I can do all things.


Art speaks when you cannot find the words.

It gives opportunity for the voiceless to be heard.

Art changes moods, 

Shifts depression to joy

Hate to love

Loneliness to fellowship

Silence to laughter

With colors so vibrant makes you remember life is a canvass and though you have struggled before, art is the masterpiece that comes after.


Art gives me freedom to write and express how I feel.

It allows us to understand all cultures, and from what may have divided us in the past

Art can heal.


It sharpens the brain, 

It can make you feel brave.

It produces pieces from geniuses like Michelangelo and Nick Cave.

It soothes your spirit,

Bringing peace from Symphonies and Jazz.

It inspires it inspires from poets like Mya Angelou,

Leading examples of what it takes to use this powerful tool


Art makes us proud and feel strong.

It convicts and lasts long.

It builds unity,

Which is why I am proud of the many talented artists in my community.


From Master artists like Nichole Epps, to Stephanie Leonardi

To teachers like Amber Cullen and Sharetta Howze.


Then there’s Arts Now, 

Ambassadors for art and change. 

Upon completion of their cultural plan, our beautiful artistic city will never be the same.


Art is an agent for success,

An opportunity to express.

An enjoyable moment to share,

An anxiety reducer when you have a flare.


Art can make you whole. 

Allows you to stay true to who you are.

Art can expose the best possible version of you,

Bringing out the unique creativity inside you.


From mixed media, music and dance, 

To poetry and everything in between, 

If you believe in your art, you are bound to go far.

Trust in the process, 

Your Art will shine bright like the star you are

Morgan Lasher
Cultural Plan Kickoff Meetings Success!

On May 30, 2019, the cultural planning team held the first two neighborhood meet-ups to kick off the summer of engagement for the Akron Cultural Plan. These meet-ups were held simultaneously on the evening of May 30, and were hosted at the Odom Branch Library and the Coventry Oaks Lodge. We had a great turnout and fantastic conversation about what creates the cultural vibrancy of Akron what Akronites envision for the future of arts and culture in their City.

Did you miss these two meetings? Don’t worry - we will be hosting 9 more neighborhood meet-ups this summer! Find the schedule here.

Can’t make a meeting? Visit our “Find Us” page to see where we will have tables or booths at Akron events this summer! While you’re there, be sure to complete our survey and place your ideas on the interactive map!

Morgan Lasher
Stakeholder Meetings

The project team of Designing Local and ArtsNow wants to connect with as many residents, community leaders, and creatives as possible. The team has worked to engage and connect with cultural leaders, creatives, and community stakeholders.

 We also believe that we can’t be inclusive without being transparent, so the team has built an entirely open process. We will also be sharing a link soon where you can find a running list of engaged stakeholders to date. If you see someone or some topics that we’re missing, please let us know. Plus, you’ll find multiple opportunities to add your own ideas and feedback.

Morgan Lasher
Meet Our Steering Committee!

Thank you to our steering committee, who recently met to kick off the cultural plan. They have so generously volunteered their time to serve as community liaisons to the project team in this planning process.

The goal of this committee is to ensure the project team deeply understands the community feedback, and the committee is also tasked with sharing events, surveys, and planning tools within their organizations and community networks.

Morgan Lasher