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Reshaping the Narrative

Reshaping the Narrative

A Project telling the migration stories of Akron’s African-American families 

Akron Soul Train and the Black Artists Guild teamed up to produce an exhibition titled “Reshaping the Narrative”.  The “Reshaping the Narrative” exhibition shows positive stories of African Americans to promote equity, empathy and empowerment for all. The exhibition includes a 30-minute film telling the stories of some of Akron’s black families who migrated here, along with large photographs and a curation of family heirlooms.  The exhibition is accompanied with a virtual tour and artist talk shown live on Facebook. You can view the Facebook artist talk HERE.  Communicating these stories across platforms will aid in reshaping the narrative of Akron’s African Americans and how they migrated north for a better life, for their survival, and how replanting their roots helped establish family legacies. 

This project is brought to life through funds from Akron Community Foundation and the generous sponsorship of Kathleen Brennan and Claude Hendon.  AST recognizes the impact of racism that has systematically divided the arts and culture sector in Akron Ohio. This collaborative effort will provide a platform for local black artists and community leaders to address racism which was declared a public health crisis by the City of Akron.  Our virtual programming reaches hundreds of arts and culture patrons and the “Reshaping the Narrative” project will open up honest conversation on race, experiences of institutionalized inequalities and privilege. AST will display the film and exhibition November 3 - December 18, 2021 in the CapSoul Gallery.

Artists Bios:

Emerging Artist Talia Hodge is an Ohio based photographer passionate about storytelling that captures the beauty of everyday life. She received her B.A. in Photo Illustration from Kent State University and during that time was awarded the Wallace J. Hagedorn Scholarship for photography from the School of Visual Communication Design. 

Filmmaker Fred Barrett is the Emerging Media Manager at PBS Western Reserve, a freelance videographer producing and New Realm Media and a video journalist teaching multimedia techniques and visual communication design at Kent State University.  His degrees include a B.A. in journalism from the University of Memphis and an M.A. in media management from Kent State University.  He is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy who served in a classified communication and public relations role.

Curator Dara Harper is the Virtual and Exhibitions Coordinator at Akron Soul Train.  She is dedicated to educating children and adults through the arts. Dara Harper graduated from The University of Akron with a Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction. A Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio Emphasis; Painting and Minor in Art History. ​She is co-creator of the Akron Black Artist Guild, professional artist and native of Akron Ohio.

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