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Akron Society of Artists celebrates 85 years with exhibit at Summit Artspace

Published: October 10, 2016 12:00 AM

The Akron Society of Artists will celebrate 85 years of creating art with an exhibit by its members from Oct. 14 to Nov. 19 at Summit Artspace.

The show will open with a free reception to meet the artists Oct. 14, 5 to 8 p.m. at Summit Artspace, 140 E. Market St., Akron.

Founded in 1931, ASA was one of Akron's earliest art organizations and had a lasting effect on the progress of art in Summit County. The founding members helped in the establishment of the Akron Art Institute that later became the Akron Art Museum. ASA has a long history of providing art scholarships and has impacted the careers of several well-known American artists who were members.

The society created the popular Boston Mills Art Festival. All through its history, ASA has provided opportunities for members to practice and advance the craft of visual art and to exhibit their works.

Larry Walker, the president of ASA and a retired art educator, said the anniversary juried show will feature 60 pieces. Judges are Ben Bassham, a retired Emeritus Professor of Art History from Kent State University, and John Smolko, a former art teacher at Aurora High School. Winners will be announced at the opening reception on Oct. 14 at Summit Artspace.

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For more than five decades, ASA was an all-male art society comprised of many of the artists who worked as illustrators or graphic designers in the advertising departments of the rubber companies and other local businesses.

Dan Lindner, ASA vice president and a retired engineer from Goodyear who joined in 1994, explained that the organization was a very formal men's club of creative people in industry who came together and formed a group based on their collective interest in art.

Portrait painter Dino Massaroni, a member since 1977 and president for 10 years in 1985-86 and 1999 to 2007, agreed saying that the members would get together to critique each other's work, a society tradition that continues today.

"Members feel that the critiquing sessions are a good education. Whether you bring in art or you just come to listen, you get insights into your own work," Massaroni said.

Today's 124 members paint together as well as hold critiques of one another's work, which Lindner said has been the greatest single influence on his art knowledge and career. "Members talk about your work and how you can improve. This has been the biggest influence on me and has changed me for the better as an artist."

ASA has slowly grown through the years, continuing its mission to advance the skill, knowledge and appreciation of art among members and the public; to encourage the advancement and understanding of art in the community; and to provide financial assistance and encouragement to worthy art students.

ASA holds classes every Monday, painting still life works at the studio on the third floor of Summit Artspace when the weather is cold, and when the weather is warm they paint outdoors at local parks and lakes. On Friday, there are classes with live models for figure study.

More information about the Akron Society of Artists is available at akronsocietyofartists.com or send email to studio@akronsocietyofartists.com.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Thursdays and Fridays, noon to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. The show is open Nov. 5 from noon to 9 p.m for Artwalk in downtown Akron. Artwalk runs 5 to 10 p.m.

Parking is available behind the Summit Artspace building when visiting the gallery. Summit Artspace is handicap accessible and has an elevator. For information about Summit Artspace, go to summitartspace.org.


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