“Every city needs spaces for artists to come together, create and strengthen their skills. The Akron Soul Train strives to do that while at the same time honoring the city’s history of innovation,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation, which through the Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching the city through the arts.
Akron Soul Train Mission
1) To build and maintain a residential artists’ village near the historic Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Akron, Ohio using refurbished shipping containers, railroad cars, and tiny houses.
2)To grant Fellowships to deserving artists in any medium. The Fellowships will include housing and gallery space within the Akron Soul Train Village.
3) To develop, promote, and teach about the arts to visitors and residents of Akron, Ohio via educational outreach, workshops, classes and exhibitions.
The Akron Soul Train is a residential village for creative souls and their keepers, groupies, and fanatics. The village will consist of refurbished passenger rail cars, tiny houses along with shipping containers,transforming them into gallery and studio spaces for artists of many disciplines—painters, poets,sculptors and others with a sincere desire to find and share wonder in the world. The artist community will provide creative refuge for artists, both local and international, while providing community programs and educational outreach to the city of Akron. Fellows will contribute to the Akron Soul Train through proceeds from sales of their art to the community, fees for workshops, and monthly events which will promote economic growth.
Inspired by Akron’s rich history of transportation and innovation, Amy Mothersbaugh of Studio 2091 and Nancy Brennan of Kasota Artist Management, designed the artists community to fill a unique niche in downtown Akron. “I was inspired years ago by my visit to the artist village at The Mattress Factory in Pittsburg and thought to myself, a community like this needs to exist in my home town,” Mothersbaugh said. Driven by her dream to provide artists with creative refuge, and her passion for making the city of Akron a destination for artists and those who love the arts, Mothersbaugh partnered with Brennan to make the dream a reality.
Akron Soul Train will provide housing along with gallery and studio space to qualifying artists.
Artists may apply for various Fellowships which will be awarded for 1, 3 and 6 months in length.
Local artists may apply for weekend or week-long residencies as well. The Akron Soul Train community is modeled after the Tiny House movement and strives for an eco-friendly example of less is often more.
Akron Soul Train is a multi-year project currently seeking additional grants and corporate support; however, the community is on track to accept its first artist-in- residence by August of 2016. The fully-established, self-sustaining artist’s village is set to be complete by 2021 and will be a unique destination for locals and travelers alike.
AST is committed to ensuring the diversity of its board, staff, volunteers, and programming. We accomplish this through leadership, values, policies, and practices. We define diversity in terms of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical disabilities, age, parental status, and socio-economics. We respect different experiences and cultures across this diversity and will work to create a culture in which diverse people feel supported, recognized, and rewarded in making their best contributions to the mission of our organization.
The board membership and talent pipeline shall be made up of smart, talented,engaged, and knowledgeable women and men from diverse racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, cultural, professional, and class backgrounds. The board will develop and implement ongoing plans for its sustainable visibility, outreach, and recruitment to diverse communities. The board shall monitor and report its progress toward these goals annually. The board and staff will adopt appropriate benchmarks to measure annual progress. In the event that AST is not meeting the benchmarks, AST will evaluate what additional and more aggressive steps must be taken to meet the benchmarks.