Blog Post

Summit County Launches Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Advisory Board for Arts and Culture

composite of fifteen professional portraits of people serving on the summit county DEIA advisory board. Portraits consist of people who represent a range of skin colors, gender expressions, ages, and styles.

As an outcome of the community cultural plan, Summit County has formally launched a diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) advisory board for arts and culture through the county-wide nonprofit ArtsNow.

“During the cultural planning process, we heard from voices across our community that we must build more equitable practices in our arts and culture sector for all our residents and guests,” says Nicole Mullet, executive director of ArtsNow. “This advisory board is a direct response to the community’s call to action to create a task force that assists cultural organizations in diversifying their boards, leadership, and programming while also collaborating with social service partners to ensure events and programs are planned with accessibility and inclusion in mind.”

The DEIA Advisory Board for Arts and Culture, which formed with guidance from diversity and equity leader Dr. Marlon Moore and support from Akron Community Foundation, GAR Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council, will meet regularly as a trust of thought-leaders and advocates to assist in developing priorities to advance equity in Summit County’s arts and culture sector.

“I am honored to serve as the founding Chair of the Advisory Board,” states University of Akron’s Vice President of Inclusion and Equity and Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Sheldon Wrice. “Not only does this work align with my personal passions, but it is in line with the work the University is undertaking with AkronArts. Ensuring equity and inclusion in our cultural sector is key to a thriving community.”

The Summit County DEIA Advisory Board includes the following members:

  • William Blake, The Cue Media
  • Molly Cairney, Art Possible Ohio
  • Ace Epps, Bounce Innovation Hub
  • Jon Fiume, Akron Art Museum
  • Dr. Cristina González Alcalá, Akron Community Foundation
  • Jocelyn Grant, Luz Vocal Instruction/ South Street Ministries
  • Justin Hilton, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
  • Lisa King, Summit Metro Parks
  • Bryce Lowry, Art for Autism Cares
  • Jolene Lane, Equity Lane LLC
  • Leianne Neff Heppner, The Summit County Historical Society of Akron
  • Matt Reed, Direction Home Akron Canton
  • Madhu Sharma, International Institute of Akron
  • Dr. Sheldon Wrice, The University of Akron
  • Kimberly Young, Leadership Akron

“Equitable access to our local arts and cultural activities is essential. I applaud ArtsNow and the DEIA board members for recognizing how we can improve as a community and taking proactive measures to remedy our shortcomings. The arts are for everyone. Working together, we will ensure all Summit County residents are able to enjoy the vibrant arts and culture offerings in our community.

County Executive Ilene Shapiro

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