Support provided by

The Akron Soul Train is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Board of Trustees

Mary Ann Jackson – Community Arts Activist and Volunteer


Throughout her professional and volunteer careers, Mary Ann has concentrated on the arts. Examples as follows : she and Ann Brennan founded the Akron Area Arts Alliance -was first executive director of First Night Akron for 4 years and through the millennium -- President of Akron Civic Theatre--First staff marketing director of Akron Symphony Orchestra--served on the Board of the Akron Symphony for many years-- was first development director of Ohio Ballet-- Weathervane Playhouse Board - served on Board of Akron Community Foundation for 9 yrs and served on the distribution committee for all of those 9 years-- member of Blossom Music Center Oversight Committee-- chaired the Advancement Council for the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Akron Mrs. Jackson chaired the following: Symphony Ball -- Summa Sapphire Ball--grand reopening gala of downtown library--- and Akron Art Museum--Arts Alive Gala (2 years) --Akron Urban League's 75 th anniversary Gala--Urban League’s Gentlemen of Distinction Style Shows (2 yrs )-- Air Dock Gala for 1300 guests for Opening of Inventors Hall of Fame- chair Tuesday Musical's 125 Anniversary Gala. Recently named Woman of Power by Akron Urban League

Howard Parr – Executive Director Akron Civic Theater


Howard Parr has more than 25 years of professional experience in arts, entertainment, and consulting.

His work includes organizational development and strategic planning, as well as program management and event production. Howard has served as executive director of the Akron Civic Theatre since September 2007.  He served as The Civic’s Director of Development and Planning from 1999 – 2004, during which he directed the capital campaign for the theater’s $22.5 million expansion and restoration project. In addition to his work on the capital campaign, he was talent buyer for in-house programming (through 2002 - 2003), as well as for the first season of Lock Three Park, an outdoor performance space immediately adjacent to the Civic Theatre.  During his time away from the theater from 2004-2007, Howard was

co-producer of an original gospel, jazz and R&B musical based on the life of the Apostle Paul – which enjoyed a 36 performance run including stops in NY and Chicago.  During that time, he also promoted King of the Cage mixed martial arts events and coordinated non-liturgical public programming at Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland. Howard previously served as General Manager of Ohio Ballet.  During his tenure at the Ballet, the company produced the cross-cultural ballet, Jungle Book: The Adventures of Mowgli, which set revenue records for both ticket sales and touring. Before joining Ohio Ballet, he served as General Manager of Cleveland Signstage Theatre where he expanded the theatre's programming, including its first-ever national tour, bringing its production of Children of a Lesser God to more than 40 cities.  Prior to moving to northeast Ohio, Howard served as General Manager of the David S. Palmer Civic Center in Danville, Illinois, a 5,000 seat multi-purpose arena and conference facility.  During his tenure in Danville, and while serving as Performing Arts Coordinator at Western Illinois University in Macomb, he coordinated the programming of a wide variety of cultural and popular programs ranging from symphony orchestras and ballet companies to rock-n-roll and country concerts.

Connie Hesske- Akron Attorney/Part-time Magistrate Akron Municipal Court/Resident of Akron , Ohio


Connie has been a resident of Akron for over 30 years and has practiced law for over 20 years in the community. Her legal career encompasses working in various communities within Summit County. She appreciates the opportunity for the surrounding communities to become a valuable resource and partner to help Akron Soul Train fulfill its mission to promote and teach appreciation of the arts to the community and all its visitors. Embracing Akron Soul Train’s mission can only benefit other Summit

County communities as well. Connie received her law degree from the University of Akron School of Law. She has served on numerous boards within Akron and Summit county

Mark Mothersbaugh - American singer, songwriter, composer, record producer and visual artist.


Mothersbaugh's music career spans more than 40 years. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as co-founder and lead singer of the new wave band Devo, which released a top 20 hit in 1980 with the single "Whip It". The band has

maintained a cult following throughout its existence. Mothersbaugh is one of the main composers of Devo's music, and made major lyrical contributions to the band's songs. He is one of the only two members (along with bassist/synthesizer player Gerald Casale) who have been with Devo throughout its entire history. Mothersbaugh began his solo career in 1987 while still a member of Devo. Since then, he has released three studio albums. His other musical projects include work for television series, films and video games via his production company, Mutato Muzika.

His lifelong interest in creating multimedia art pieces has resulted in gallery exhibitions of items such as his "Beautiful Mutants" photograph series, postcard diaries, art rugs, sculptures and musical instruments created from salvaged organ pipes and bird calls

Arnold Tunstall – Director, University Galleries at The University of Akron


Prior to becoming Director, University Galleries at Myers School of Art, Tunstall worked for the Akron Art Museum in various curatorial positions since 1985 and served as the Collections Manager and Registrar from 1994 - 2016. Tunstall is a regional arts advocate. Tunstall is currently on the board of directors of SPACES Gallery, Cleveland in addition to the Akron Soul Train.  He received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the University of Akron majoring in Graphic Design and Photography, he received his Masters of Fine Arts in Photography from Ohio University. He has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Akron, Myers School of Art since 1995 and is currently teaching in the Arts Administration program at University of Akron.   He also continues to make and exhibit his own art.

Jill Bacon Madden - President of Boomerang LLC


Jill Bacon Madden is president of Boomerang, LLC a commercial real estate development company in Akron. For more than 25 years, Jill has worked as a community builder, innovator, social entrepreneur and economic development professional always with an eye toward community consciousness.


Driven to build stronger neighborhoods and business districts to improve the quality of life in the city, Jill continues to work to bolster and revitalize Akron’s urban core by investing and breathing new life into ghost industrial structures, and abandoned and underutilized commercial properties.

Progress Through Preservation and the Summit County Historical Society honored her in 2010, for the remarkable rehabbing she did on the 56-year old Firestone Bank Building on South Main Street. For this, they presented her with the "Outstanding Renewal of

Mid-Century Modern Architecture" award.


Jill’s efforts in Akron’s near-south-side Summit Lake community have been directed at improving the climate for families by connecting social services, businesses, government, organizations and churches more directly to families and vice versa. No longer calling it Summit Lake, Jill and the folks living and working there now call this part of the city LODO, for Lower Downtown. In reinvigorating, she has created successful business centers, new jobs, and arts and cultural initiatives. And in 2013, Jill’s enthusiasm for the arts held yet more promise for Greater Akron as she rekindled her passion for live music with the opening of Jilly's Music Room. This live-music house in downtown's Northside District has just celebrated its third anniversary and has been honored with numerous commendations and awards.


Jill received a BA in Art History with minors in Arts Management and Photography from Sonoma State University in Northern California. She served as president of the Hudson Economic Development Corporation for 6 years, and as a member of the City of Hudson Tax Incentive Review Council; Jill has also served on the boards of directors of TECHudson, Hudson Community Foundation, Mobile Meals, Inc., Akron Area Arts Alliance, Community AIDS Network, WAPS 91.3, the Summit, and the Akron Sound Museum. She’s also served on committees for numerous community-wide events including the Akron Marathon, First Night Akron, and World AIDS Day. In addition she organized the University Park Art Fair at Grace Park for the University Park Development Corporation for 5 years, and was the director of the non-profit arts space Millworks Gallery for more than a decade.