Akron History For All at Oct. 9 Ceremony

An Education in a Legacy
Posted on 09/27/2021
Image of Rubber Worker StatueArt x Love, a local creative and interactive brand agency, announced a public dedication ceremony for the Rubber Worker Statue & Akron Stories Project at the corner of S. Main and E. Mill Streets on Saturday, October 9, at 10 a.m. The event is open to the public and people can register at eventbrite.com/e/akron-stories-public-dedication-ceremony-tickets-171236572197.

“This project has been two years in the making and has culminated in the installation of Alan Cottrill’s beautiful Rubber Worker Statue, more than 1,700 commemorative bricks, and a touchscreen kiosk featuring 100+ stories from Akron’s rubber workers and their descendants,” says Mac Love, co-founder of Art x Love and leader of the Akron Stories Project. “This dedication ceremony represents an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the legacy of Akron’s rubber workers, and renew our vow to the city and to one another as we forge a new legacy together.”

Following the dedication, a VIP Reception will be held at the Akron Summit County Public Library at 11 a.m. with a private screening of the Akron Stories. The sculptor Alan Cottrill, Wheels of Fortune authors Steve Love and David Giffels, as well as representatives from the City of Akron and Summit County, will also be in attendance. Akron Stories supporters who paid a premium for their brick(s) received 2 tickets to the VIP Reception. Tickets are also available to the public for $25 each and include food and beverages for all who RSVP in advance.

The Rubber Worker Statue and Akron Stories Project was started in 2019 to recognize and celebrate the people who made Akron “The Rubber Capital of the World.” The City of Akron facilitated construction and installation of the Rubber Worker Statue by Alan Cottrill, a sculptor from Zanesville, Ohio. Art x Love was engaged by Miriam Ray, the project’s founder, to manage commemorative brick sales and lead the oral history portion of the project. The stories are being transcribed and archived in full at The University of Akron’s Archives for future generations to learn about.

“We’ve paired short excerpts of the stories with archival film and photographs, many of which have never been publicly seen,” says Love. “The Akron Stories videos bring the rubber workers’ stories to life, inspiring reflection and appreciation of the people and values that made this community what it was, is and will be.”

On September 16, Art x Love and Thomarios installed another 725 commemorative bricks for the Akron Stories project, which can be seen at the Northeast corner of S. Main and E. Mill Streets. Commemorative bricks will remain on sale and be installed bi-annually. They are available at akronstories.com for $100 per brick and can be purchased by anyone and for anyone in support of the Akron Stories project. Bricks bought for the remainder of 2021 will be engraved and installed in 2022.

Art x Love has a new informational brochure with a commemorative brick order form that can be mailed anywhere in the country upon request. To learn more about the Rubber Worker Statue & Akron Stories Project, call Art x Love at 330.238.8588, email [email protected], or schedule a visit to Art x Love Studios at 1969 N. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Akron, OH 44333.

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The Rubber Worker Statue stands proud at sunrise in downtown Akron (photograph by Gabe Wasylko, used with permission by Art x Love and the Akron Stories project).

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Workers install a new batch of 700 commemorative bricks, including numbered bricks to assist with navigation and brick-finding for visitors (photo by Mac Love).

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Students from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School on a scheduled tour of the Rubber Worker Statue & Akron Stories Project (photo by Anthony Boarman).

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Member of the Akron Stories team, from the left: S. Victor Fleischer, Malik Hudson, Mac Love, Beth Becker, Miriam Ray, Diane Orender, and James Walker (photo by Miriam Ray).
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