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Akron Soul Train has selected its Resident Artists for 2023!  AST continues to help in fighting racism by providing a safe space where all voices are heard.  Our hard work and diligence has built trust and consistency, attracting a diverse pool of artist residents organically.  We are happy that 2023 will include out of its 12 residents, four Black artists and an Indian individual.  Two of our artists will be tackling important subjects in health - cancer and alcoholism.


I am writing to you, because we have awarded an Akron artist who will be painting Akron’s citizens in recognizable Akron spaces.  Sylvia Sykes is a biracial person of color who tells stories with figurative paintings.  She writes, “As a biracial person of color, I have struggled with my sense of belonging due to colorism and other racist definitions of what it means to “be Black”. I tend to capture women and minorities as a way to strengthen my internal sense of connection to these groups and heal previous experiences of isolation from them.”

Sylvia will be producing twelve 48” square paintings reframing biblical stories in a modern day context.  As an example, David and Goliath can be two figures depicted playing basketball at iPromise school, or Gabriel could be informing Mary of the birth of Jesus at a Metro bus stop in downtown

Akron wearing contemporary clothing.  Her mission with this body of work is to encourage viewers to still find value in religious storytelling and myths.


Each residency costs close to $6000 in funding.  Would ArtsNow or the Black Artists Guild be interested in helping us out by simply covering the stipend amount of $1000?  Your donation is tax deductible, of course, and we can list you as a sponsor of Sylvia’s residency.

Contact Christine Ries at

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