Release Date: November 21,2017

First Night Akron unveils button art for 22nd annual New Year's Eve celebration

For the second year an open call to artists yields a unique design from the area's talented art community

The First Night Akron button art committee has selected Alison Brouse to design the admission button for the 22nd annual event. This is the second year that an open call for artists was held, with more than 15 submissions received from area artists. The button, featuring an owl design, is to be worn by thousands of revelers for admission to participating venues on Dec. 31, 2017 from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Brouse graduated from Wadsworth High School and attended the Art Institute, graduating with an associate's degree in digital design. While working her way through college, she fell in love with Akron and the local culture and decided to make it her home. She currently works as the operations and marketing assistant for Hallrich, Inc, the local franchise owner for Pizza Hut and Brubaker's Pub. She has recently expanded her talents by assisting their marketing department to create artwork promoting the company's local events.

"I was thrilled to find out I had been selected as the button artist," she said. "There are so many fantastic artists in the area; I found it hard to believe my submission would be chosen. It was really intimidating to read about who had created the button art before me, so it's a huge honor to be selected."

Her inspiration for this year's design goes back to her grandmother's love of owls and birds, and a collection of figurines she had amassed in her lifetime. Upon her grandmother's passing, Brouse inherited some of this collection and drew ideas for the First Night Akron button from that.

"I've always loved how beautiful and majestic these creatures are," she said. "They are 'masters of the night' so I saw it fitting to use one in my design. Not only do I get to honor my grandmother's memory, but I think the design overall speaks to this event: night-time festivities, majestic fireworks and beautiful scenery."

First Night Akron, still going strong after 22 years
First Night Akron is Akron's New Year's Eve community celebration with more than 45 music, dance, theater, art and interactive experiences geared for all ages. Participating venues include Akron Civic Theatre, Akron-Summit County Public Library, Akron Art Museum, John S. Knight Center, Mainstage on High Street, Greystone Hall and Summit Artspace.

Admission buttons go on sale Nov. 24 for $10 each with children 9 and under admitted free with a button-wearing adult. Buttons can be found at Acme Fresh Market locations, participating Huntington Bank branches (23 locations), Akron Art Museum, Akron Civic Theatre, Angel Falls Coffee in Highland Square, The Library Shop at Main and Lock 3. Buttons are also available at  www.firstnightakron.org and the Downtown Akron Partnership office in Greystone Hall.

On the evening of Dec. 31, admission buttons will be available at Acme Fresh Market until 8 p.m. and at the Akron Civic Theatre, Akron Art Museum and The Library Shop at Main. First Night buttons provide admission to all event sites and free METRO shuttle bus to each venue.   

Huntington Bank Fireworks Shows
Huntington Bank supports First Night Akron with two fireworks shows on Main Street. After the first fireworks show at 9 a.m., guests are encouraged to experience more activities, including expanded hours at the Main Library and Akron Art Museum, both open until 11 p.m. Meet back at the Main Stage on High Street by the John S. Knight Center at 11:45 p.m. to march along with the Matrix Performing Arts drumline procession leading up to the midnight fireworks on Main Street.

Mainstage is programmed for action
The heart of First Night Akron will return to Mill and High Streets between Akron Art Museum and Greystone Hall with the Mainstage placed in the parking area adjacent to the John S. Knight Center. Mill Street between Broadway and High Streets will also be closed during the event. The Mainstage features next gen teen band, Charm the Guard, hip hop, R&B, soul and pop sounds by Flocco Torres and reggae from Umojah Nation.

A heated tent with seating and games will be placed in this area next to local food trucks, The Square Scullery, Stray Dog Cart and Swenson's. Many venues also offer food for sale.

It's Northeast Ohio in December - Embrace the Outdoors
The Goodyear Ice Sculpture Garden by Elegant Ice Creations returns to the Bud & Susie Rogers Garden at the Akron Art Museum. This year will feature the popular ice throne and fire and ice tower. Guests are encouraged to write down regrets, thoughts and wishes and place in the tower for lighting at 9:30 p.m. The popular horse drawn sleigh rides on Main Street return from 6 to 9 p.m. and Lock 4 will be programmed with firepits and music, showing off the recent seating and lighting enhancements made to this space.  

A full schedule of First Night Akron activities and descriptions can be found at firstnightakron.org. 

Don't let First Night be your only night in Downtown Akron
Add value to your First Night button for $5 more. Purchase a Discover Downtown Akron Passport and experience arts and entertainment offerings through Dec. 2018. For $15, enjoy free admission to popular venues and events. A First Night Akron 2018 button is included with the passport.The Downtown Akron Passport has an actual value of $258. Visit www.downtownakron.com/passport to purchase online or for a list of sales locations, including Acme Fresh Market.

First Night Akron is a program of Downtown Akron Partnership. Founding partners are the city of Akron and the Akron Beacon Journal & Ohio.com.

Thank you to our generous First Night Partners:

Venue: Acme Fresh Market; Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.Com; city of Akron; Akron Children's Hospital; FirstEnergy Foundation; Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Huntington Bank; The J.M Smucker Company; PNC Foundation. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program/organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Stage: Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust KeyBank, Trustee; John S. Knight Center; Lost Tribe Media; METRO Regional Transit Authority; Charles E. and Mabel M. Ritchie Foundation; Roetzel & Andress LPA; Sisler McFawn Foundation; Lloyd L. and Louis K. Smith Memorial Foundation and the Welty Family Foundation.

Activity: Glen R. and Alice V. Boggess Memorial Foundation; Brouse McDowell; Cohen & Company; GOJO Industries, Inc.; Labels & Letters; LifeSkills High School; Meggitt Aircraft Braking Systems Corporation; Moffitt Foundation; The Murdough Foundation; OMNOVA Solutions Foundation, Pat Catan's Craft Centers and Summit County;

Special Friends: Coca-Cola, The Maynard Family Foundation and Miller's Party Rental Center. 

Official Radio Partner: 98.1 WKDD