We Are

Artists: Alexandria Couch and Micah Kraus

If you visit Main St. in downtown Akron, you may notice a few new faces in the neighborhood. Stunning portraits blended with expressions of our city's character, combined with abstracted street- and topographic maps have appeared on banners, METRO RTA bus shelters, and in the outdoor art gallery at Lock 3. The work is a collaboration between Alexandria Couch and Micah Kraus called, We Are. The artists were brought together by Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) to celebrate downtown as a place for all people. The support and collaboration of philanthropic and community partners nurtured the project, resulting in its grand scale.

Couch and Kraus spoke with DAP Director of Engagement and Events Kelli Fetter for an episode of Dreamers and Doers, from ArtsNow, on June 18, 2020. They discussed the We Are project and working together to create it.

Behind the scenes and installation photos of We Are

Photograph of artist Alexandria Couch in her studio   Photograph of artist Micah Kraus in his studio
Above: artist Alexandria Couch in her studio   Above: artist Micah Kraus in his studio
Photograph of We Are process drawing by Alexandria Couch   Screenshot of We Are topographic image by Micah Kraus
Process drawings for We Are by Alexandria Couch   Micah Kraus explains how he created a color palette for the design of the banners using colors in Alexandria Couch's original artwork.
photograph of Micah Kraus and Alexandria Couch meeting to talk about We Are (Pre-pandemic)   Screenshot of presentation of topographic artwork from Micah Kraus for Dreamers and Doers interview
Above: photo taken prior to pandemic. Micah Kraus and Alexandria Couch share early layout ideas combining Couch's artwork with Kraus' banner design.   Micah Kraus shares images of graphic elements for We Are that he derived from topographic maps of Akron.
Screenshot of downtown, Main St. map   Screenshot of We Are street pole installation plan
Micah Kraus explains possibilities for ordering the banners along Main St. to create a cohesive narrative / sight line.   We Are artists Alexandria Couch and Micah Kraus in a Zoom meeting with DAP staff to discuss placement of the banners on Main St.
Photograph of city of Akron installation of We Are banner on a light pole   Photograph of We Are banner
We Are banner installation in downtown Akron   Banners installed mid-block on S. Main St., looking south, between E. Exchange St. and W. Cedar St.
Photograph of downtown Akron, Main St. METRO RTA bus shelter with We Are artwork   Photograph of We Are installed in the outdoor art gallery at Lock 3
Akron METRO RTA Bus Shelter on S. Main St. looking north.    We Are artwork installed in the Lock 3 outdoor art gallery on S. Main St.

Sponsors of the We Are project include Synthomer Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Akron Civic Commons, Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, the City of Akron, ArtsNow, Akron METRO RTA, and The Bowery.