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.
ArtsNow hosted Kelli Fetter (Downtown Akron Partnership), We Are artist Alexandria Couch, We Are artist and educator Micah Kraus, and Bill Myers (S3 Technologies) for a conversation around the convergence of art, technology, and community:
Behind the scenes and installation photos of We Are
Above: artist Alexandria Couch in her studio
Above: artist Micah Kraus in his studio
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.