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Release Date: March 29,2022

Curated Storefront presents Artist Residency Program for I Promise School in partnership with Myers School of Art at University of Akron

Internationally renowned sculptor to work with students, speak to community at E.J. Thomas

Akron, OH – Mar. 28, 2022 – In a collaborative venture, Curated Storefront will bring in Chakaia Booker, an internationally renowned sculptor, as part of its Artist in Residency Program designed to incorporate activities with an artist and fourth graders at the LeBron James Family Foundation’s (LJFF) and Akron Public School’s I Promise School. During April 5-7, 2022, Booker will be leading activities in three 45-minute sessions at the I Promise School in partnership with two fine arts students from the Myers School of Art at The University of Akron (UA) and the I Promise School art teacher, Kara Cauffield.

To cap off the week of the residency, the Myers School of Art will present “Repurposed for a Purpose: A Stage Door Evening with Chakaia Booker” at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall on Thu., April 7. Booker will talk about her art and share stories of her experience with the students. Doors open at 6 p.m. with ensemble performances by students from UA’s School of Music; the lecture begins at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the community.

Theron Brown, the coordinator for Curated Storefront’s Artist Residency Program at the I Promise School, explained that the mission of the program is to create a safe platform for the students and teachers of the I Promise School to engage in unique and innovative collaborations with regional, national, and international artists.

“The program introduces a diverse selection of classic and modern art forms with accompanying activities that allow students to discover ways to think outside of the box, to benefit from the beauty of creating together, and to grow their own appreciation for the arts across disciplines,” remarked Brown, himself a pianist and composer and a UA alumnus. “We believe that when a child discovers their gift, they have found their empowerment.”

Booker is a widely collected American sculptor known for creating monumental, abstract works for both the gallery and outdoor public spaces. Booker is best known for her innovative and signature use of recycled rubber tires—her primary sculptural material—and her works are contained in more than 40 public collections and have been exhibited across the United States, in Europe, Africa and Asia.

“The I Promise School creates a culture conducive to social-emotional learning, to educate the whole person, and to create a supportive environment both in the classroom and at home,” Brown said. “The last part of this—at home—taps into Booker’s medium with recycled products, as she will ask students to bring in their bottles and cans from home to make a collage. It shows them how every home is part of the greater whole. It brings attention to resources and how ‘waste’ can have a new life in art.”

Janice Troutman, director of the Myers School of Art, remarked that Booker’s work with the students demonstrates how “art can make an impact in our community through the interaction between the youth of Akron and dynamic thinkers and makers.”

Troutman added, “Booker’s chosen medium highlights the need for addressing environmental challenges and social change through gathering resources and community cooperation. It is an amazing opportunity for our art students to work alongside such an acclaimed artist as they share their working process in the classroom.”

For more information and to register for the evening at Stage Door, visit the website.

About Chakaia Booker

Chakaia Booker received a B.A. in Sociology from Rutgers University (‘76) and an MFA from the City College of New York (‘93). She was selected for the Whitney Biennial in 2000, awarded the Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2002 and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2005. Booker's work has been exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Select solo exhibitions include: The National Museum of Women in the Arts; Milwaukee Art Museum; The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; Queens Museum of Art; Katonah Museum of Art and Storm King Arts Center. She has been included in group exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Art and Design; Bronx Museum of the Arts; The Studio Museum in Harlem; and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, among others. Her work is the collections of the following selected institutions: Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), Bronx Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Orleans Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Newark Museum of Art; and the Snite Museum of Art. Booker lives in New York City and her studio is located in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

About Theron Brown

A glimpse of gospel, jazz, and soul from the great legends is what inspires the sound of pianist Theron Brown’s music. But the reason he plays is to encourage and influence people through his talents. Originally from Zanesville, Ohio, he currently resides in Akron, Ohio, where he is the program coordinator for Curated Storefront’s Artist Residency Program at the LeBron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School. Brown also serves as an educator for the interactive piano learning app, Playground Sessions. Theron is heavily involved in the music community as the founder and artistic director of the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, which takes place annually in Akron’s downtown historic district. Brown performs and tours regularly with his trio that includes Zaire Darden on drums and Jordan McBride on bass. In 2016, Brown played Herbie Hancock in the film “Miles Ahead,” directed by and starring Don Cheadle. In 2019, Brown released his debut album, “No Concepts,” and is currently working on his second album titled “Spirit Fruit.”

About Curated Storefront

The Curated Storefront is transforming Akron into a dynamic urban destination through the arts. It brings compelling art to diverse audiences through a dynamic program of installations, events, and exhibits that activate underutilized buildings and spaces in Akron and provides artists with opportunities to expand their practices. The Curated Storefront began as a 2016 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Knight Arts Challenge grantee. In the past six years, the project has activated 27 spaces with 106 exhibits featuring the work of 150 regional and international artists and personally engaged over 1,300 individuals through guided educational walking and trolley tours, and virtual live-stream events. To date, 12 of the 27 buildings activated with exhibits were commercially developed or revitalized post project start.

About the Myers School of Art at The University of Akron

The mission of the Mary Schiller Myers School of Art at The University of Akron is to provide high quality education in the fine arts, art history, design, and art education. We provide excellence in teaching, research, and community service, contributing to the visual culture of the region and beyond.