Note: Some of these arts venues have hours that vary from Summit Artspace’s. We recommend double checking ahead of time.
Every three months, on a Friday evening from 4 to 9 p.m., Summit Artspace hosts ArtWalk, a free celebration of art, music, and food in downtown Akron. Typically, ArtWalk is focused on the Historic Arts District in the northern area of downtown, but Main Street and the Northside District are also chock-full of arts venues that show up on the ArtWalk map.
Each ArtWalk event has a specific theme that allows visitors to experience art in new, unique ways, as well as music, refreshments, and pop-up vendors. Summit Artspace often closes part of Summit Street for ArtWalk activities and holds food, special musical performances, and more in their parking lot. Check Summit Artspace’s website to learn more about upcoming dates, themes, and other events, and read on to learn about the different arts venues often on the ArtWalk map. We also have recommendations on where to eat while you’re here!
Above: A Crafty Mart pop up on the third floor of Summit Artspace during an ArtWalk event (Photo: Shane Wynn)
On & Near North High Street
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to have dinner near these venues, try Totally Baked Pizza, Akronym Brewing and Biergarten, El Patron Tequileria & Cuisine, and Smack Yo Mamma! Wings & Things. Stop for drinks at High St. Hop House, Baxter’s Speakeasy, or BLU Jazz+.
Summit Artspace is a nonprofit community arts center dedicated to connecting artists and artist-serving organizations to the community and to the resources they need to thrive professionally, creatively, and financially. They showcase local art and change the exhibitions in their galleries quarterly. The galleries feature both traditional and contemporary works.
Akron Art Museum
Comprising over 7,000 works from 1850 to the present, the Akron Art Museum is home to important works by a broad range of artists in a wide variety of media from across the globe, including sculpture, glass, paintings, photography, digital art, and more. They typically stay open late during ArtWalk events and sometimes even host programming in the garden adjacent to the building.
The Main Library
The Akron-Summit County Public Library, in addition to having a catalog of 2.4 million items available to borrow, also boasts a library of things, notary services, printing services, tax assistance, and a TechZone that has everything from computers and sewing machines to recording studios and a 3D printer. The library also hosts events for people of all ages, several days a week, and special events during ArtWalk.
The Nightlight is an independent, nonprofit movie theater dedicated to advancing cinema and community in tandem, providing a place to enjoy movies with a thoughtful community by showcasing films from around the world every day of the week. The Nightlight has a bar within the theater, as well as a variety of locally made snacks. They always have an exciting lineup of unique films in the queue, too. Check out their website to see what’s playing during ArtWalk.
Nestled under a glowing red neon “Dance” sign on a brick alley in the Akron Historic Arts District, Musica is a music venue that hosts national artists, local bands, DJs, comedians, and private events. They also put on other unique events like themed dance parties and “Vinyl Nite,” an opportunity to bring your favorite record to be played along with other attendees’ choices. When there isn’t entertainment on stage, Musica is also a tavern that offers drinks and activities such as cornhole, darts, and board games. View upcoming events that coincide with ArtWalk on Musica’s website.
Located in the Hermes building in the Akron Historic Arts District, BLU Jazz+ is a beautiful live music venue and photo gallery that was designed specifically for the presentation of live jazz performances. The space is intimate and reminiscent of a New York City jazz club but has its own distinctive character and relaxing, cozy atmosphere aided by its exposed brick walls and atmospheric lighting. Visit BLU Jazz+ and enjoy a full-service bar with signature cocktails, jazz photography and memorabilia, and of course, top-notch jazz musicians. See who’s playing on the evening of ArtWalk on their website.
Above: People enjoy riding scooters down Main Street, past the Akron Civic Theatre (Photo: Tim Fitzwater)
On Main Street
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to have dinner near these venues, try the Lockview, Baxter’s Bar, Funny Noodle, Barley House, Eddie’s Famous Cheesesteaks & Grille, or Crave. Grab dessert from Chill & Indulge.
Curated Storefront Main Street windows
Curated Storefront fills empty storefront spaces with vibrant, multimedia works of art. They are dedicated to physically transforming the city’s underutilized urban spaces to create a more dynamic, engaging environment for downtown visitors. Their Main Street windows pretty much make up an art gallery that’s always open! Not to mention, they have a gallery space inside the Polsky Building (accessible from Main Street) that showcases Clayton Bailey’s World of Wonders: Mechanical Molecules. Read more about Curated Storefront’s exhibitions on their website.
Akron Civic Theatre
Built in 1929, the Akron Civic Theatre is one of only five remaining atmospheric theaters in the country. Over the years, the Civic has hosted a wide variety of entertainment, from musicals to ballets to children’s shows to concerts. The Civic’s stage has been graced by artists like John Mellencamp, Alice Cooper, Earth, Wind and Fire, Chrissie Hynde, and The Black Keys. In 2021, the Civic opened Knight Stage, a more intimate venue for concerts, performances, and Millennial Theatre Project productions. In late Spring 2022, the Civic installed a video board on the exterior of their building, facing Lock 3, to showcase select live performances, upcoming event schedules, and more. Visit the Akron Civic Theatre’s website to see what might be showing during and around ArtWalk.
Akron Soul Train
Akron Soul Train is an artist residency program that grants fellowships and provides resources to artists in all creative disciplines. They have a gallery on Main Street. One artist exhibits at a time, and exhibits are continuously rotating. Admission to the art gallery is free Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. It’s definitely worth kicking off your ArtWalk experience a little early just to stroll through!
Above: Exterior of the Zeber-Martell Clay Studio & Gallery in the evening (Photo: Shane Wynn)
In the Northside District
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to have dinner near these venues, try Luigi’s, Jilly’s, Nomz, or Dante Boccuzzi Akron (DBA). Grab dessert from Essential Dipped Delights, and have a drink at the Northside Speakeasy.
Zeber-Martell Clay Studio & Gallery
Zeber-Martell is a clay studio and gallery located in the Northside District of downtown Akron. They create one-of-a-kind home decor, garden sculptures, holiday decor, lamps, jewelry, and more. Owner Claudia Zeber-Martell, who started as a painter, focuses on decorating the surfaces of her husband and co-owner’s ceramic art in a way that enriches the environment and creates harmony. Visit their galleries during ArtWalk to see their work for yourself.
Outside the Box
Outside the Box is an upcycled shipping container turned art gallery and performance space by Curated Storefront. Check out some of the previous exhibits that have been displayed in the Outside the Box gallery on Curated Storefront’s website, and visit the exhibit for yourself in the Northside District during ArtWalk to see what special activities and art unveilings may be planned.
Jilly’s Music Room
Jilly’s Music Room is a live music venue in the Northside District offering entertainment no less than four nights a week. Jilly’s features original local, regional, and national bands in a variety of genres, as well as stand-up comedians and other entertainers. The venue also boasts a full-service kitchen that specializes in eclectic, gluten-free, small-plate dishes. Check their website for information on events that coincide with ArtWalk.
Northside Marketplace is an urban marketplace with a focus on social interaction, local businesses, and grassroots artisans. When you visit Northside Marketplace, you can stroll through a variety of booths selling wares from different local entrepreneurs. Although it’s not an art gallery, per se, there are several local artists who sell their work at Northside. You won’t want to miss them! They’re open until 7 p.m. on Fridays, so when you come for ArtWalk, don’t save them for last.
See our updated traffic advisories and parking information to navigate and park downtown with ease.
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