top of page
Akron Soul Train unveils eighth year of artist residencies

Kabir Bhatia

Dec 27, 2023

Ideastream Public Media

Fifteen Northeast Ohio artists, working in many different media, will be featured in the 2024 Akron Soul Train residency program, the organization announced.

The Downtown-based arts program started in 2016 to “provide financial support and administrative support to artists to complete an exhibition or performance,” said Executive Director Pita Brooks. The residency culminates in a community-based program.

“We don’t have a space where artists come and live for a month,” she said. “We ask that they work in their own homes or studios for the month. And then we pick another time for you to show that work to the public.”

One example is happening soon at the Akron Civic Theatre. Sujatha Srinivasan, founder and artistic director of Shri Kalaa Mandir Center for Indian Performing Arts, began her residency in 2022. She performs Feb. 23, 2024, in “Shades of the Mind.”

“She's a classical dancer,” Brooks said. “She does Bharatanatyam and went to Miller South [School for the Visual and Performing Arts in Akron] and led a school-wide presentation and talked about what this dance meant culturally.”

Of the 15 artists working on Soul Train projects in 2024, eight come from outside of Summit County.

“We’d love to see this program expand beyond just Summit County,” Brooks said. “We are trying to expand our reach because it's important that we bring ideas and conversations from outside of our region so that we're elevating the discussions that we're having. Everybody has different experiences.”

There’s also diversity in the disciplines represented by 2024’s resident artists, she said.

“Performance can be anything from dance to music to theater, and visual arts could be anything from painting to installation to digital media,” Brooks said. “Writing could be an artist who wants to publish a book or they want to combine their literary works with visual art.”

The Soul Train saw an increase in applications, to 90, with a larger number tied to visual arts.

“That is an easy one for us because we have a gallery space,” she said. “So, you do tend to see more visual artists selected, but we are definitely working very hard to grow the number of writers who submit and performance artists who submit.”

One project that marries two media will take place in December 2024. Dancer Elyse Morckel and filmmaker and photographer Denzel Washington will collaborate on a film.

“It’s not the Denzel Washington that everybody thinks, but a wonderful filmmaker and photographer,” Brooks said. “So, not Denzel Washington the actor, although that would be phenomenal if he applied to our program.”

The first residency of 2024 will be Turkish printmaker Melih Meric.

“He does these beautiful large-scale tapestry-like prints that are based on geometric abstractions and the kind of textiles that you might see in Turkey,” she said. “His exhibition is actually slated to be on view a few months after his residency. I think he's going to be leading up printmaking demonstrations at the gallery.”

Meric’s work will be on view starting April 3, just before resident artist Matt Kurtz performs in Goodyear Heights Metro Park.

On April 8, he’ll collaborate with the cosmos by performing a drumroll during the 2024 total eclipse.

This year’s Akron Soul Train resident artists are:

JANUARY: Melih Meric (Akron), visual artist, mixed media, printmaking

Exhibition: "Stitched Editions" (April 3-May 11), Burton D. Morgan Gallery

FEBRUARY: Matt Kurtz (Akron), visual and performing artist

Exhibition: Feb. 21-Mar. 23, Burton D. Morgan Gallery

Performance: Drumroll for the Total Eclipse (April 8), Goodyear Heights Metro Park

MARCH: Debora Totti Cranendonk (Akron), performing artist

Performance: "How Are You"

APRIL: Michael Roman (Oberlin), visual artist and educator

Exhibition: "Can Negus Get Much Higher?" (Aug. 28-Oct. 5)

MAY: Kayla Weinman (Akron), visual artist and educator

Exhibition: Jul. 10-Aug. 17, CapSOUL Gallery

JUNE: Katie Butler (Akron), visual artist

Exhibition: "Bread and Butter" (Jul. 10-Aug. 17), Burton D. Morgan Gallery

JULY: Crystal Miller (Cleveland), visual artist

Exhibition: "Superstar Realness" (Aug. 28-Oct. 5)

AUGUST: Meagan Smith (Cleveland), visual artist, fibers

Exhibition: "Wild Light" (Nov. 20-Dec. 28), Burton D. Morgan Gallery

SEPTEMBER: Durrell LeGrair (Akron), musician

Performance and album: "Kids’ Listening PARTY!"

SEPTEMBER: Earl O. James (Cleveland), visual artist, sculpture, glass

Exhibition: "Pathways and Passages" (Jan. 8-Feb. 15, 2025)

OCTOBER: Sarah Paul (Cleveland), transdisciplinary artist and educator

Exhibition: "Fiber Chambers" (Nov. 20-Dec. 28), Burton D. Morgan and CapSOUL Gallery

OCTOBER: Nico Cacho Flores (Kent), writer and visual artist

Exhibition: "The Landscapes of Our Inner Selves" (Jan. 8-Feb. 15, 2025), CapSOUL Gallery

NOVEMBER: Davon Brantley (Cleveland), visual artist

Exhibition: "Chapter 2: I Don’t Know if You Exist Here…" (Feb. 26-Apr. 5, 2025), Burton D. Morgan Gallery

DECEMBER: Elyse Morckel (Akron) and Denzel Washington (Cleveland), dance and film

Performance and film premiere: "Dance and Film Collide"

bottom of page