Release Date: December 3,2020

The Nutcrackers Are Coming

Three six-foot tall nutcrackers are getting artistically made-over and exhibited in downtown Akron to spread holiday cheer.

Akron, Ohio (November 23, 2020) – In conjunction with Curated Storefront, five artists have started working on creating a bit more holiday magic this season, building off of the window displays the city traditionally exhibits on Main Street every winter.

Starting the week of Thanksgiving, visitors to downtown will get glimpses of holiday décor creeping into the city. Jeanne Tassiello-Jordan has been curating downtown’s historic holiday displays for eight years in the O’Neil and Polsky buildings, which for many Akronites and families, visiting the windows has become a part of their holiday tradition. This year, safe outdoor activities will become all the more important for those wanting to get out of their homes for a
change of scenery and relief from cabin fever. Viewing storefront windows on a stroll along Main Street is the perfect socially distanced activity for all ages. In response to this need, Curated Storefront is working with Jeanne Tassiello-Jordan of the city of Akron, and artists Chandler Brutscher, Aise Born, Justin Campbell and Maria Uhase to contribute their artistic skills to expand on the holiday displays this year.

Artist Chandler Brutscher is working directly with Tasseillo-Jordan on enhancing the O’Neil display that so many are familiar with through her installation work as a printmaker. “I'm really impressed by all the work Jeanne puts into the O'Neil's window displays in particular, and I'm thankful she is open to collaborating with me in this space” says Brutscher. “It's a special thing when we can celebrate something historic while adding a contemporary flare. I'm excited about the collaborative nature of this space and want my work to add interest to what is already a gem of downtown Akron.”

Brutcher is a printmaker and in collaboration with the Myer’s School of Art’s M-Lab at The University of Akron, is creating 60 abstract snowflakes. “These images started as actual hand-cut snowflakes that I made the old-fashioned way with folded paper and scissors. After digitizing and cutting my abstracted forms, I'll print them on the press as monotypes. This involves layering the cut shapes and running them through the press multiple times each” says Brutcher.

Outside of the traditional window displays, three six-foot tall nutcrackers, each with a unique form of either a lion, Fleur de Lis prince, or soldier, have traveled north from the Steubenville Nutcracker Village to be filled with magic by three select artists. Each one will be rendered in the unique style of the artists working on them and will be on display in a storefront on Main Street in close proximity to the Akron Civic Theatre and Lock 3 Park. Revelers are encouraged to bundle up and be on the lookout as they explore downtown on foot or via slow-moving vehicles this December.

Aise Born, one of the artists working on a nutcracker with a Fleur de Lis theme says, “I’m hoping the end result has similar eloquent qualities reflective of a Fleur de Lis, with a design that’s colorful, playful, vibrant and cheerful.” Aise is an artist from Los Angeles and has been in Akron since September working on the mural on the Akron Civic Theatre facing Bowery Street with artist El Mac.

Another artist is Justin Campbell who has a design studio in Columbus, Ohio. "As a fashion designer and painter, I am so happy and honored to be part of such a multi-faceted project” says Campbell. “For me, the nutcrackers themselves represent a timeless yet progressive idea that we as people can be totally unique and different as individuals, but come together and share a common sense of joy and spirit during the holidays. I hope that I can bring whimsy and fun to this nutcracker with the use of color, pattern and motifs found in Modern Art."

Curated Storefront hopes the additional effort into these holiday themed displays will bring joy to those who live, work or visit downtown Akron over the next couple months. This year has been difficult for so many and the organization wishes to bring some magic and happiness through art in such unprecedented times.

About Curated Storefront
Curated Storefront 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. For the past four years, Curated Storefront has presented engaging artwork in over 25 buildings through 86 exhibits, commissioned and employed over 122 artists, offered educational outreach programs to better
engage the public, and stimulated commercial development. More information about Curated Storefront and its other exhibits on display throughout the city can be found at www.curatedstorefront.org.