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Downtown Kent Ghost Walk Blending the Supernatural with Kent History

FolkAlley.com

The Silk Mill

Visual Art Showcase

The Best of Folk Americana, & Roots Music

An Invisible Jewel in the City

Found Object & Assemblage Art


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volume 7 | 2015 • www.aroundkent.net


www.aroundkent.net

content volume 7 2015

publisher/photographer Matt Keffer 330.221.1274 info@aroundkent.net

art director Susan Mackle

advertising/design services Matt Keffer 330.221.1274 info@aroundkent.net

copy editor Mori Clark

contributing writers

Dominic Caruso Kelly Cook Mark Keffer Paula Mastroianni Heidi Shaffer

Richele Charlton Jason Culp Joni Koneval Dr. Patrick O’ Connor Ann VerWiebe

Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Reproduction or use of editorial or pictorial content of any manner is prohibited without written permission. aroundkent accepts no responsibility for solicited materials.

6 FolkAlley.com 12 The Road Less Traveled

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16 Photographs and our Collective Memory 18 Lawrence School

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22 The Silk Mill 30 The Gables of KentRidge 34 Visual Art Showcase 48 Local Music

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52 A Dancer’s Success: Nina Price

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54 Western Reserve PBS 59 Downtown Kent Ghost Walk

52 59 54 On the Cover: Photo by Jason Noble www.nobleimages.net

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The Best of Folk, Americana, and Roots Music

Ann VerWiebe

IN 2003, WKSU TOOK A CHANCE ON DIGITAL AUDIO AND LAUNCHED FOLKALLEY.COM, A WEBSITE DEVOTED TO AND PROMOTING FOLK AND ROOTS MUSIC. WKSU is a heritage public radio station serving Northeast Ohio with, at that time, 53 years of broadcast history from the Kent State University campus. After the station’s 50th anniversary celebration, the station was looking for ways to reach out to more listeners and make connections with a new generation that was searching for music online and often turning away from radio stations and traditional media. The plan was to take something that would take advantage of WKSU’s quality and respected on-air sound – broadcast experience with generations behind it – and give it new life for a new century. In the beginning, WKSU took advantage of its long history broadcasting folk and bluegrass programs (hosted most-notably by local legend Jim Blum) to create a library of the best in folk, bluegrass, Americana, acoustic instrumentals, Celtic, World, traditional, old-time and singer/ songwriter styles. The main feature of the

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FolkAlley.com website at the time of its launch was – and remains – its 24-hour hosted music stream, which pulled from the extensive WKSU library in building endless waves of engaging, exciting and enduring music that is difficult to find online and nearly impossible on terrestrial radio stations. The Folk Alley stream preserves WKSU’s public radio attention to detail and concentration on adding more to the hours of music, like background on the artists and recordings and the societal circumstances of the songs. Soon, as FolkAlley.com grew, the stream began attracting listeners from every continent – and even outer space when Irish music from Folk Alley was sent to the International Space Station for St. Patrick’s Day. Finding a home online allowed Folk Alley to grow beyond the boundaries of traditional radio and fresh features were added, including exclusive Sessions recordings with live video performances captured by Producer

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Jon Nungesser at WKSU’s studios in Kent and at Beehive Productions in Saranac Lake, New York. FolkAlley.com is also home to album reviews and previews in the InFolkus blog, exclusive Hear It First song and CD early premieres and Open Mic, which allows amateur and beginning professional musicians a platform to post their songs and interact with a dedicated folk audience in what’s been called a “coffeehouse on the web.” The site is also home to specialty music streams, starting with the Fresh Picks collections of the latest and greatest CD releases. Other side-streams celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, the winter holiday season, Valentine’s Day, Halloween, the life of the legendary Pete Seeger and more. Visitors who register at FolkAlley.com are able to comment on songs or blog content and receive monthly copies of the award-winning Alley Chat E-newsletter, which highlights new web content, timely features and recent additions to the music library.


A few years into the project, the Folk Alley Radio Show was created. Aired by WKSU on Sundays beginning at 6 pm, the two-hour hosted program is syndicated to other public radio stations across the U.S. and offers people a weekly best-of smorgasbord of music from the stream along with select Sessions interviews, live performances captured by the Folk Alley crew and brand new cuts from artists creating songs that fit the Folk Alley mix. WKSU fans listening via an HD Radio can hear the Folk Alley stream 24-hours a day on 89.7 WKSU HD-2 and throughout the station’s 22-country coverage area on the HD-2 services for WKSV, WKRW, WKRJ and WNRK. The rise of mobile technology has also played in Folk Alley’s favor. FolkAlley.com was developed during what seems now like ancient history. The site was created in a fertile environment of online experimentation in a time long before the iPhone and other mobile devices made streaming music common and instantly transportable. Only a dozen years ago, people found new bands on MySpace and listeners who discovered the site needed a computer to hear Folk Alley’s music. Now, music lovers can take the stream wherever they go using the latest technology! Free mobile apps for Android and iPhone make it easy to enjoy a special sidestream or interview, or use Folk Alley as a daily

soundtrack by connecting a mobile device to speakers or by using a digital media player, like Sonos, Roku or Apple TV. One of Folk Alley’s most important, and longstanding, relationships is with NPR. Known for its ability to “break” and promote music of all types, NPR relies on Folk Alley to be one of its genre experts. The much-visited NPR Music section of NPR.org often spotlights Folk Alley Sessions videos and welcomes Senior Director of Content Linda Fahey to write about new artists and recordings, as well as roots music icons, in NPR Music’s Heavy Rotation (songs that are seeing a lot of airplay nationwide) and Songs We Love features. Linda’s Top Ten yearin-review of folk and Americana albums for NPR is an annual favorite. Folk Alley has travelled along with NPR as a vital part of the team streaming live from the historic Newport Folk Festival. It helps that Folk Alley has a 32’ mobile recording studio that helps staff capture live concerts in a festival setting. Among the other events that have welcomed the crew included BlissFest in Michigan, the Nelsonville Music Festival in Southern Ohio, the Green River Festival in Massachusetts, the International Folk Alliance Conference (in the U.S. and Canada), the Fayetteville Roots Festival in Arkansas and SummerFolk in Ontario. Since

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2010, Folk Alley has set up shop to stream live in partnership with NPR from the Americana Music Association Honors and Awards at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Being on the air hosting a radio show for 24 hours a day is herculean task – a challenge Folk Alley solved by asking select DJs from around the country to be part of the project. From the start, Barb Heller from North Country Public Radio in Northern New York State and Elena See (at Minnesota Public Radio) were heard hosting hours of the Folk Alley mix. They were joined by Matt Reilly (program director at KUTX in Austin), and – most recently – Cindy Howes, a host at WYEP in Pittsburgh. Jim Blum retired to his Chardon farm in 2013, grateful for more time to spend with his rescue pets, to cross country ski in Geauga County, and to listen to the folk music he had been collecting for decades without the pressure of narrowing down the songs he loves to a manageable pile. The Folk Alley stream and specialty side-streams are programed by Linda, who also curates and edits the website’s other content. All of the Folk Alley hosts and staff bring a professionalism, public radio sensibility and love of music to the work they do in the stream. Continued on page 8

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Continued from page 7 The accessibility of the Folk Alley stream has brought more fans into the roots music fold. Visitors to the website, the mobile app, or services that offer the Folk Alley stream (NPR.org, iTunes, TuneIn, Shoutcast, Live365, XPN.org and more) have come to rely on a curated mix of up-and-comers, established artists and music legends. The connecting dots drawn between the songs by the Folk Alley hosts helps listeners discover new music and experience their favorites in new and unexpected ways. Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien, Nickel Creek, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Seeger, Gillian Welch, the Punch Brothers, the Decemberists, Jeff Black, the Head & the Heart, Patty Griffin, First Aid Kit, Bela Fleck, Mumford & Sons, Joan Baez, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rosanne Cash, Willie Nelson, Shovels & Rope, Robin & Linda Willliams, Steep Canyon Rangers with Steve Martin, Solas and so many others have a place on Folk Alley! The range of artists found in the Folk Alley stream stretches the interpretation of roots music and crosses generations – for instance listeners can hear Loudon Wainwright III and his extended family (son Rufus, daughters Martha and Lucy Roche, sister Sloan and his children’s mothers, Kate McGarrigle and Suzzy Roche) singing together and as solo acts and in a assortment of styles – from introspective singer/songwriter to experimental folk and

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rousing Celtic. The Thompson family has also been well-represented with parents Richard and Linda and their offspring – son Teddy and daughter Kami, who forms the band the Rails with husband James Walbourne – all adding songs to the Folk Alley collection. Because Folk Alley has international reach, social media plays an important role in connecting with listeners, artists and music lovers. Interaction on the Folk Alley Facebook page and through @FolkAlley on Twitter completes a circle, with fans finding links to unique content on FolkAlley.com and Folk Alley learning more about musicians and events across North America and around the world. Twitter postings also make their way to the front page of FolkAlley.com, where they serve as a scrolling roots music news update. Sessions videos are posted on YouTube at FolkAlleyDotCom, allowing the exclusive performance experiences to have broader reach across the internet. Images from Sessions, road trips, festivals and more can be found on Instagram at alley_pics. Using a Public Radio model, Folk Alley pays for itself with a combination of listener and community support and corporate sponsorships. The service holds three fund drives a year, echoing radio with in stream announcements and special incentives, such as CDs and T-shirts, which serve double-duty by promoting the Folk Alley brand throughout the music community. Listeners who donate more than

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$60 annually receive special benefits, including music downloads and discounts on concerts, music and more. The most desirable benefit is access to a parallel music stream that does not contain membership solicitations during the in-stream campaigns. Contributions to support the ongoing work of Folk Alley can be made through a secure web form at FolkAlley.com. For a dozen years, FolkAlley.com has been changing the world by throwing the spotlight on some of the best music that has ever been created. The hosted and curated stream stands out from the rest of the digital music pack because of the breadth and quality of the artists included and the strength of the in-stream hosts, who weave the songs together and add context and substance to the flow of its river of roots music. The beauty of the folk genre is that it is a living organism. The history of the music was made by everyday people writing and playing songs for each other, to pass on stories, memories and wisdom. With its embrace of music created with a community in mind, Folk Alley continues to add artists and listeners to its fold as it still honors legends who have acted as torchbearers across the decades. It is by hearing, understanding and embracing this music that the planet will maintain its humanity. Try the Folk Alley mix for yourself. Listening (and enjoying) is free, 24 hours a day at FolkAlley.com!


I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. – Robert Frost Dr. Patrick O’Connor

Most creative, successful people have traveled very interesting paths to get to where they are … usually zig-zagging a lot, shifting gears, retracing steps, exploring new passions, revisiting previous experiences, maybe reinventing themselves and generally bouncing back often. All these experiences are part of their creative profile and serve to motivate and inspire them. This feature, The Road Less Traveled, tells that story. It answers the question; how did they get to where they are now? This version of the Road Less Traveled describes the path Linda Fergason, Executive Director of the Portage Foundation, has taken to where she is today.

Currently a resident of Alliance, Ohio, Ms. Fergason has served as Executive Director of three non-profit agencies and also spent time as the CEO of the United Way in her local community.  Prior to taking the helm at the Portage Foundation, Linda was the Director of Advancement for the Stark campus of Kent State University. Throughout her career, Linda has provided leadership in a volunteer capacity to many other organizations including Rotary International. In 2012-13, she completed a year of service in the distinguished role of District Governor of Rotary District 6650. In particular, the Rotary Youth

Author note: If a reader would like to suggest someone to be considered the subject of a future “Road”, e-mail your recommendation and why you think the subject should be featured to the publisher at info@aroundkent.net

Linda S. Fergason Linda S. Fergason became the new Executive Director of The Portage Foundation in November 2013. She brought a wealth of experience in leadership and management expertise in non-profit organizations. The combination of Fergason’s professional credentials coupled with her fine record of community service made her an ideal choice to lead the Portage Foundation through its planned expansion to broaden its philanthropic reach throughout the region.

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” Exchange program has been a focus of hers. All of her career has been in helping communities and organizations grow. She strives to be a responsible global citizen as well as an advocate for local efforts.

The Portage Foundation: A Community Foundation P  hilanthropy and charity are often used interchangeably. Actually, they have


different meanings and purposes. Philanthropy (from the Greek word meaning love of humanity) addresses the root causes of social ills. Charity is about trying to relieve social ills. “Feed me a fish and teach me to fish” is a good example of the difference.

The mission of the foundation is to acquire, manage, and dispense charitable assets for the benefit of Portage County citizens. As a community foundation, the foundation:

There are many different types of foundations in the United States ranging in size from small (Portage Foundation – 3.1 million assets) to extremely large (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – approximately 40 billion in assets). Some are community based; some are extensions of corporations while others are related to families or individuals. Foundations have made a significant impact on life in America.

• Acts as a vehicle for philanthropy for individuals, organizations and corporations by receiving and managing charitable gifts.

A Community Foundation is a charitable organization created by and for a community of people. It is supported by local donors and governed by a board of private citizens who work toward the greater good of the citizens in the community. Today, more than 1,700 community foundations exist around the world. In the United States, they function as non-profit organizations.

In 17 years, assets of the Foundation have grown to 3,100,000.00 and 170,000.00 has been awarded to more than 75 organizations. Groups such as the King Kennedy Center, Portage County Animal Protective League, ArtSparks and others have received support. Table I identifies the grant recipients and their purposes for 2014. The work of the Portage Foundation can be viewed on the website www.portagefoundation.com

In 1997, with proceeds from the sale of the Greater Portage Area Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice and contributions from more than 200 community donors, The Portage Foundation was born.

• Provides leadership in the community by identifying current and emerging areas of need, supporting innovative programs, and sharing information with other organizations. • Leads a meaningful and effective grant process that properly stewards our donors’ gifts.

So, How Did Linda Get to Where She Is Today? Home and school set the stage for Linda’s early foundation and development. The value of e  ducation was given to her throughout her life, and it started at home. She credits her mother for being the best ‘teacher’ prior to kindergarten. She describes her childhood as one of enriching experiences, advantages and opportunities thanks to her family, her church and

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her teachers. Teachers were extremely influential and made a deep impression on her. A teacher once told her to take on challenges or “you will miss your life”. This has resulted in a love of life-long learning and strong desire to seek out new things to learn. Volunteerism and community involvement was also an integral aspect of her early life inspired by her mom and dad. She was an active volunteer working for non-profit organizations during school as well as in scouts and church activities. This has continued into adulthood. Her first job after graduating from Kent State University was in a non-profit organization training and placing volunteers. As a girl Linda saw herself as the shy one rather than the leader. She accepted the role somewhat reluctantly pointing out “Life has asked me over and over to take the lead”. She knew these experiences would ultimately benefit her. She was often tapped to lead by her teachers from elementary school through college. Many of her experiences demonstrated a willingness to take on a challenge; an important leadership ability. She was also viewed as a leader by her friends and family. This was evident in her love for the performing arts. She and her brother were the organizers and performers in a neighborhood theatre group. She believes people should define who they are rather than be defined by others. Who you are and what you can accomplish is up to you. Continued on page 14

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Continued from page 13 Linda also excelled in music and singing which she has done professionally for many years and still does today. For example, she played trumpet in the high school band even though others thought she should play the flute since it seemed more appropriate for a girl. She wound up being first trumpet! Also, during high school, she performed with a group of 75 student musicians on a European tour. She can speak French (as all her family can). And, she can sing in French. So, when the group performed in France, she was the lead performer singing in French. She credits this experience as one that helped her come out of her shell. Linda likes a challenge!

multiple instruments and sing at the same time requires the use of a different part of your brain. She was and is able to do that. She specializes in harmonies and can hear and sing most parts. Social skills that promote cooperation and harmony have been a key to all her success. Channeling the skills from her musical endeavors enables her to create a spirit of harmony and cooperation in her work with individuals and groups alike. She strongly believes “adding harmony to someone else’s melody is fun”. Listening and to draw people out in a conversation are often overlooked skills. Some people like to enter a conversation to tell stories about themselves. Some people like to listen to the stories of others. Linda believes it is important to have balance with both but the second is more fun! Most of her life others have sought

Being happy and positive is a decision for me rather than an automatic thing. We can all run with that idea!

A Holistic Approach to Everything The personal, social and professional dimensions of Linda’s life are all very closely intertwined. It’s actually difficult to separate them. She was multi-tasking before the term was even invented! Raising a family, leading community organizations, volunteering, traveling, caring for aging family members and continuing music over the years required a great deal of juggling. She had to fit things in, find the money to do things and maintain balance. This all took creativity and innovation. Developing the creative side of her mind came through musical training and learning to play several instruments. Learning how to play

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her out to assist them. No doubt it is because she is a good listener and is able to gain the trust of others. Her family members describe her intelligent, intuitive, uniquely conversational, fun, generous and gracious.

Major Influences The early and extensive emphasis on volunteering and community involvement has been a major influence on Linda. She has also done a very nice job of integrating different aspects of her life into her passion which is improving communities. For example, she has and

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continues to use her education in the sciences and psychology. She applies those concepts daily as she works toward community solutions. And, the application of the performing arts in her work is evident. Performing arts, especially musical performing and singing, helps her enable people to work together for a common purpose. Love of learning has also been a consistent and valuable aspect of her life and work. She has the ability to learn and grow from all experiences. One layer of experiences and successes allowed her to move on to the next position and use them there. Everything in her life is closely connected. She likes to think that “life has told me I’m on the right path”.

A Bit of Wisdom Linda exemplifies the many fine qualities needed to be a successful community leader. More than 30 years of community involvement as a volunteer and a leader are evidence of her accomplishments. Because of the good life she’s been given she feels strongly that she should assist others who are less fortunate. Her secret seems to be in the honest, enthusiastic approach she takes to everything she does in life. This is evident in a quote she provided for this feature: “Routinely, I am asked ‘why are you so happy’. Being happy and positive is a decision for me rather than an automatic thing. We can all run with that idea! People have a great influence on others by how they act and in their attitude. I know that because I’ve been in the public eye my whole life. People are watching, they are influenced and are looking for role models in community leaders”. We all found a good role model in Linda Fergason.


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AND OUR

photographs collective memory I

Dominic Caruso

n exploring how photographs help create our collective memory, Proof: Photographs from the Collection considers familiar as well as innovative documentary styles of photography. Known as a leader in the promotion of photography as a major art form, the Akron Art Museum has produced important exhibitions of photography for decades. Proof continues that tradition by showcasing photography from the Akron Art Museum’s impressive collection, presenting over one-hundred photographs by fifty artists, and spanning the era of the Civil War to the present day. The work displayed in Proof is organized around four recurrent themes that overlap and merge into each other. A Fleeting Glimpse explores the images of street photography and photographs that capture a decisive moment, such as the work of Garry Winogrand and Helen Levitt. The Human Condition shares the work of photographers who use their cameras to introduce us to the lives of others, from social documentary work by artists like Lewis Hine – whose photographs of child laborers in the 1910s helped reform labor laws in America – to images that expand the genre to include the portrayal of multiple identities, such as work from Cindy Sherman. A Sense of Place introduces work that explores the landscape, sometimes to raise awareness of environmental issues, as in the work of Richard Misrach. Other photographs document a place with intense

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personal meaning, as in the panoramic collages by Masumi Hayashi. The Eye Witness displays works of photojournalism and recorded events from photographers such as Robert Frank, Danny Lyon and Weegee. Also featured are photographs by contemporary artists that interrogate and expand the documentary genre, such as the work of Barbara Probst, whose multipanel photographic installation Exposure #106: N.Y.C., Broome & Crosby Streets, 04.17.13, 2:29 p.m. blurs the boundary between a staged intervention and documentary proof by capturing a specific time and place from twelve different perspectives using synchronized cameras. Artist Jennifer Williams creates a frenetic and enveloping sense of place, presenting the Highline public park in New York City with a sprawling photo collage applied directly to the gallery walls. Akron native Josh Azzarella’s work manipulates recent news media and historic photographs that have captured traumatic events, digitally removing the most potent content to form photographs that suggest new meanings. The Akron Art Museum will host a photography panel on September 17th at 6:30 pm to explore issues of truth and its role in how we interpret photographs. The discussion will feature artists Josh Azzarella and Barry Underwood as well as photojournalist Peggy Turbett.


Garry Winogrand, New York City, New York, 1969 (printed 1980). Gelatin silver print. 11 in. x 14 in. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Gift of Mr. Walter Matzner. Barbara Probst, Exposure #106: N.Y.C., Broome & Crosby Streets, 04.17.13, 2:29 p.m. 2013. Ultrachrome ink on paper. 22 x 44 in. (each). Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Museum Acquisition Fund.

Proof: Photographs from the Collection installation view. Photo: Joe Levack/Studio Akron.

Jennifer Williams, The High Line Effect: Approaching Hudson Yards 2013. Digital collage on Photo-tex paper. 16 x 12.5 feet. Collection of the Akron Art Museum. Museum Acquisition Fund. Installation view photo: Joe Levack/Studio Akron.

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Jason Culp

J

ane D. Hull once wrote that “at the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents.” This sage advice does not differ when applied to the parent of a child with learning differences. The positive involvement of one or both parents can determine the difference between success and failure for the child who struggles to learn. And the earlier the positive involvement begins, the better for all concerned. Research in the field of learning differences is clear – early intervention is the key to long-term positive outcomes. The sooner a child with learning challenges is evaluated, diagnosed and begins to receive supportive intervention and accommodation, the lesser the overall negative effect of the learning difference. In many years of work in the field of learning differences, there has never been an occasion where a parent discussed regretting early intervention. In many, many cases, however, there is great parental regret over having waited too long to begin the evaluation, diagnosis and intervention process. The longer a child must wait for intervention, the easier it is for the seeds of doubt to take root. The child may begin to believe that the learning difference forms the basis of their identity, and that school failure is to be expected. Effective early intervention services can prevent such harmful seeds from ever finding fertile ground in which to grow. According to LD Online, symptoms of learning differences in preschool through grade 4 include:

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Preschool • Speaks later than most children • Pronunciation problems • Slow vocabulary growth, often unable to find the right word • Difficulty rhyming words • Trouble learning numbers, alphabet, days of the week, colors, shapes • Extremely restless and easily distracted • Trouble interacting with peers • Difficulty following directions or routines • Fine motor skills slow to develop

Grades K–4 • Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds • Confuses basic words • Makes consistent reading and spelling errors including letter reversals (b/d), inversions (m/w), transpositions (felt/left), and substitutions (house/home) • Transposes number sequences and confuses arithmetic signs • Slow to remember facts • Slow to learn new skills, relies heavily on memorization • Impulsive, difficulty planning • Unstable pencil grip • Trouble learning about time • Poor coordination, unaware of physical surroundings, prone to accidents

While this is not an exhaustive list of symptoms, it is a guide that parents can use to determine if their child might be in need of additional support in the classroom, or a full assessment for the presence of a learning difference. Once the need for early intervention has been determined, the next most important step is for parents to ensure that their child is placed in the most supportive, enriching educational environment possible. Assessing the right fit for the child with a learning challenge requires exhaustive research, interviews with school personnel and possession of the right documentation to ensure access to all applicable learning supports. The longer a student with a learning difference languishes in an unsupportive environment with people who do not thoroughly understand the challenges the child faces, the more likely the student is to suffer negative school and life outcomes. Conversely, students who are educated in an environment where learning differences are understood, and even celebrated, can look forward to far greater success in school and in life. The simple process of experiencing academic and social success in school, despite a learning challenge, lays the groundwork for a positive mindset – the child realizes he can succeed with the learning difference, not in spite of it. This understanding helps to guide the child toward a future of unlimited potential.

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Heidi Shaffer

T

he Silk Mill, a massive white brick building on a busy state route in Kent, is hidden in plain sight. It’s as if a giant invisibility cloak was draped over the historic building. As director of Kent Yoga Center, I’ve given directions to the Silk Mill for the past five years. I have found it perplexing that few people are able to even visualize it even after I’ve fully described it. That’s why a picture of it is on our website’s home page. Despite that, people still miss it. Name recognition is also rare. On the other hand, nearly everyone seems to know the name and location of the Kent Free Library. Lost first-time Kent Yoga students are often told to turn into the library parking lot and look directly across the street. Curiosity peaks when finally the cloak is lifted and the Silk Mill appears. Visitors to the building are awed by the gardens, the huge beams and columns, the spiral staircase, and unique artwork. Questions abound about its origin and purpose prior to becoming the mixed-use residential/commercial property it is today, and how it came to be restored. Outside of the residents and their guests, the businesses and their clients – few people have been inside, judging by the conversations I have had out in the community.

A Tour of the Silk Mill

The Silk Mill An Invisible Jewel in the City

The Silk Mill is five stories high, over 200 feet long (counting the added on garage) and it is 50 feet wide. It is located on the one-way northbound portion of South River Street (State Route 43) for one long block before becoming Gougler Avenue). The first floor is mostly obscured, as it is sited below the roadway, behind a stone wall topped with flowers, shrubs and ornamental grasses. Three black awnings hint to passersby where the entrances might be.


Turning into a city-owned drive with no name, cars are seen wedged into a parking lot that meets the front of the two-story garage. Other cars are parked along the drive and in the lower parking lot. A bicycle is chained to a rack behind the building by the trail. Just a little ways up the front walkway, along the stone wall planted above with fragrant lilac, bright flowers and ferns peaking out of the crevices, is a modern glassed entrance with a lobby and call box for residents and their guests. A large wooden door used to be there, now stored in the basement, along with the other removed doors. Yoga students and massage therapy clients continue down the path to the second door, which is open during business hours only. The third doorway is located at the far end of the building where Quality IP, a computer company, has its offices. The building is also accessible by stone steps leading from the roadside down to the garden at the far end, and stone steps along the back side of the building leading to the upper lot. The Silk Mill, fully occupied with residents and businesses, doesn’t advertise itself. Kent Yoga has a small, but colorful, sign above the center awning, easy to miss when the foliage grows. There is currently no other signage besides some obscure white-on-white lettering within the shape of a stylized sheep on the side of the building’s garage. The Silk Mill quietly sits by the trees along the Cuyahoga River bank, waiting patiently to be seen, discovered and appreciated for its present-day beauty, and its long and storied place in the community.

History of the Silk Mill The building wasn’t always white and it never became a silk mill. Older pictures show a red brick exterior and pre-electricity roof windows that are now gone, along with some adjoining buildings on its south end. The building

changed hands frequently and was home to a succession of manufacturers prior to its modern day renovation. In 1836, a group of investors from Cleveland, Boston, Hudson and Ravenna wanted to make Franklin Mills the largest center of manufacturing in Ohio, beginning with silk production, which fetched a high market price for the imported product. Why not do it here in Kent? They bought the land by the river from Zenas Kent, the town of Franklin Mill’s founder, and they excavated the mill’s foundation into solid rock that rose halfway up the basement walls. The Franklin Silk Company, as they came to be named, also re-built the dam that was washed away in a flood. The company issued “script” approved by the state legislature, and the townspeople bought this local currency, helping to raise financing for the project. Mulberry trees were imported and planted on local farms surrounding the village and many

farm families committed to sericulture, the raising of silk worms. But the silk worms didn’t take to the Northeast Ohio climate and they rapidly died off. Silk production schemes were failing elsewhere in the Northeastern US due not just to the difficulties of climate, but also to the surprisingly intensive amount of skill and labor involved in tending the worms, cleaning and carding the cocoons, and spinning a high quality product. The mulberry trees in places such as Connecticut which heavily invested in silk production, also faced disease and a die-off after a particularly harsh New England winter. Despite promises of riches, the silk industry struggled to take root anywhere in America. Kent still remains a mecca for mulberry trees, both black (dark red in color) and white, the fruit of which now help to sustain our bird population. I have one of each type of mulberry Continued on page 24

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Continued from page 23 tree bordering my Kent property, six blocks from downtown, which was farmland at the time. The ripe mulberries pile up so thickly that they ferment on the ground, making the diving birds zigzag drunkenly in the air. Perhaps the next big industry in Kent will be mulberry wine! After the silk worm bust, the property reverted back to Zenas Kent and was completed in 1852 by his sons, Marvin and Charles, to become a cotton mill. Over a million bricks were furnished by the Ferry brickyard on Franklin Avenue to build the 30-inch solid brick exterior walls tapering to 16 inches on the top floors, making

it arguably the best place in Kent to withstand a Category 5 tornado. Unfortunately, the cotton mill investors also backed out, leaving the fortress-like shell to sit vacant, its interior unfinished, for over a generation.

The Alpaca Mill In 1878, the building was finally leased to an owner of an alpaca mill from New York, who was seeking a new location. To lure the business, the citizens of Kent matched a $15,000 investment by Marvin Kent, the eventual namesake of the City of Kent, to improve the building. Workers cut through solid rock to install an enormous water wheel. The mill raceway started above the dam, running far below what is now a driveway on the riverside of the building. Nearly buried by the roadway, the top of the archway where the waterwheel was located can still be seen framed by a doorway cut by the present-day owners. The alpaca operation began in 1879 and by 1885, the mill had 254 looms and 1,800 spindles, with 120 employees. Many local farms switched to sheep raising as the industry grew. In the yoga studio, many of the foot-long spikes that hung the skeins of wool still jut from the 15-inch wood beams reported to be black walnut. The beams stretch across the 50 foot width of the structure and the walls are 13 feet high on every floor. The floors are supported by thick treelike posts, at least a foot in diameter, every 8 feet down the center of each floor. Although Marvin Kent and the townspeople paid for the construction of the building’s interior, the Alpaca Mill only stayed open for 10 years, unwilling to pay the price for lease or purchase that Kent demanded as a return on its investment. It then moved to Cleveland, becoming the Cleveland Worsted Mills, which

Photograph by Brad Bolton

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also opened factories in Ravenna years later. The building is still known to historians as “The Alpaca Mill” or, simply, “The Mill”.

Other Tenants Vacated for another 15 years, the building was purchased from Marvin Kent’s heirs in 1923 and leased to a dressmaking factory, the N.L. Gross Co., which moved five years later to a more modern building on North River Street. The Ferry Machine Company, still active in Kent, got its start in a small corner of the mill, moving then to Summit Street. High-end upholstered furniture was then produced in the building by the Loeblein Company until 1956, when it moved south. In 1959, the Fageol Corporation purchased the building to make and store torque converters used in automatic transmissions for vehicles such as buses, forklifts, drilling rigs and railroad locomotives. The final manufacturer, the Portage Paper Box Company, found a home at the Silk Mill in 1967 after it was purchased in 1966 by real estate developers to make into student housing. Because of concern over “malicious” property destruction purportedly by students, financing from local banks was not obtainable and the mill went on the market again. Portage Packaging, as it came to be called, leased the building from a new group of owners who would eventually sell the building to the present-day owners. The machinery was


housed on the first two floors, while boxes were stored on the upper three floors. Some Kent residents remember that the river bank at the time was littered with cardboard by the Silk Mill. Portage Packaging was a family-run business, owned by Richard Chestnutwood, a Kent resident, and his son, Rick, who still resides in Kent. His brothers also worked there during summer breaks. Eventually, business slowed as much of the packaging industry followed the manufacturers to areas with cheaper labor, such as Mexico.

The Arthurs Kent real estate owner and developer Jim Arthur, owner of many properties in downtown Kent and across Northeast Ohio, remembers having lunch with Dick Chestnutwood on April Fool’s Day of 2002. He recalls that Dick said the packaging business was shutting down for good. That same day, he called an owner of the building, Harold “Hal” Hall, and asked to buy it. Jim said he had “pretty much finished downtown and was looking for another project”. His mother, he said, always called him an “opportunist’s opportunist”. Nancy Arthur, his wife, added that they had their eye on the building and had dreamed of putting loft apartments in it since they moved to the Kent area in 1974. The sale went through and the renovation team was organized. Jim, his son, Wally, Toledo architect John Luscombe (a friend they met in Catawba by their lake cottage), and local contractor Dave Duvault and his small crew of four did the lion’s share of renovations, building walls, running pipe, replacing windows and flooring. The electrical systems were updated and an elevator large enough to move furniture was installed where the old lift had been. Jim acted as general contractor and archaeologist, collecting odds and ends from centuries past.

Wally, whose specialty was the intricately tiled kitchen and bathroom floors, said it took three years to complete 13 apartments and the first floor commercial area. The first residents were able to move in September of 2003 – a year and a half after the project began. The late Harriet Begala, a beloved activist and a founder of the Kent Environmental Council who was in her 80s at the time, was the very first tenant. When the project was first announced in the newspaper, Harriet called up the Arthurs. “I want to be the first one on the list!” she announced. Nancy recalled that they didn’t even have plans drawn for the interior when Harriet called, but she ended up becoming the very first one to move in. Harriet told everyone how much she loved living in the Silk Mill and was always inviting friends up to her lovely apartment on the 4th floor. Jim and Nancy Arthur, and son Wally, were the next to move in. “It was because you and Wally were here every day,” Nancy said. Jim said they had previously lived above Thompson Drug Store in their downtown Kent building and enjoyed the excitement of being in town. Since then, they had moved to a house in Sugarbush Knolls. Jim and Nancy’s beautifully decorated and spacious “penthouse” suite has views of the City of Kent in three directions. The only apartment with a second floor, it occupies a part of the fourth floor and also has several guest room spaces in the fifth-floor attic accessed by a private staircase. The rest of the attic is a cavernous storage area providing a glimpse of the rough factory interior they started with. While the Arthur’s apartment is uniquely sited, it shares the same open floor plan, high ceilings, natural lighting and intermittent train whistles as all of the other twelve 1 or 2 bedroom apartments.

Photograph by Brad Bolton

Wally has his own apartment and daughter, Jenny, moved into one as well. The Silk Mill is an easy 5-minute walk across the Main Street Bridge to downtown Kent. Each day, Jenny walked to her job as owner/manager of The Works, a popular gift shop focusing on unique housewares, hand-made jewelry and fanciful Don Drumm pewter art. Nancy ran this family business for years and can be seen there now during the busy holiday season, pointing out “fun” objects and cooing over each customer’s selections. Her apartment and gardens around the Silk Mill reflect her eye for originality and beauty.

The Artwork The Arthur’s appreciation for art is visible throughout the building and in the gardens. Paintings hang in the thickly carpeted hallways of the residential floors. Metal sculptures, including a gong, were made by Bill, the other Arthur son, who was in the service at the time of the renovation. Another type of gong, purchased by the Arthurs, was placed in the Continued on page 26

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Continued from page 25 garden, casting an Asian feel to the garden which also boasts a large sundial, giant sunflowers and other sculptures. Art made from found objects, such as the reverse-type lettering that was stamped on boxes, gears and various hand tools from the manufacturing operations were made into collages by Jenny. They are hung on the landings of the wooden spiral staircase the Arthurs eagerly preserved. They said it took craftsmen three years to build it. The larger machinery still in the building was sold. An old conveyor belt was picked up by Charlie Beckwith and the paper box making equipment was sold to Apex Paper Box in Cleveland, where Dick Chestnutwood’s son, Rick, was hired. Jenny Arthur had another idea to commemorate the lengthy and diverse history of the building that could be enjoyed by anyone walking by on the Riveredge Trail. An artist friend of the family, Tresa Boscoe Carlin, was commissioned to create the mural on the side of the garage facing the river. Working with styrofoam forms that were stuck to the wall and covered in concrete, the sculpture-like mural depicts a bus with parts made in the mill, mulberry leaves and a silk worm, a sheep and spinning wheels, boxes, gears, a dress, and an upholstered couch. Marvin Kent, with a thought bubble of gears in motion, stands in the lower center of the mural just above the massive smooth rocks tapering into stone steps that are surrounded by colorful plantings and ornamental trees.

The Gardens There is a plaque on the Silk Mill’s front exterior that reads, “Michael Norman Gardens”. A longtime customer at The Works, Michael Norman, a horticulturist at Kent State University became Nancy’s gardening coach. While the apartments were being constructed, during the fall

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and winter, Mike and Nancy traveled to green houses by the lake and ordered plants. And they talked and looked at gardening books. Nancy was an eager student, and she was confident in Mike’s skills to create her gardens. However, in the early spring, Mike died tragically as the result of a scuba diving accident. Not long after, a semi-truck delivered “racks and racks” of plants to the Silk Mill.

seen spring through fall on the grounds with her garden cart pruning, weeding, and adding the latest splash of color or contrasting foliage to the mix.

“I had no idea where to put them since Mike

Tina Wiland is a resident of the Silk Mill and she

“It had to become a passion because I wanted a beautiful garden,” she said. “The more beauty, the more joy in life.”

Silk Mill Residents

Photograph by Brad Bolton

wasn’t there. There were no sketches; it was all in his head,” Nancy said. “We just stuck them in and that was that.” Nancy has learned through experience how to help the garden grow and thrive. “What else could I do?” she asked. Michael Norman’s advice “to fill the space with interest and color in all seasons” and that “its okay to dig plants up and move them around” is never far away from her mind. She still claims that she is not an expert or natural gardener, and had little experience prior to living at the Silk Mill. Yet, Nancy can be

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also owns a business there, sharing her space with two other therapists, Sandy Heffernan and Karin Bergener. Silk Mill Massage & Bodywork is located across the hall from Kent Yoga Center and next door to Capelli, a hair salon and most recent business tenant. “It’s a perfect balance,” Tina said about her short commute up the vintage spiral staircase. Tina moved from Florida back to Kent in November 2012. She felt lucky to land the apartment at the Silk Mill, where she could have her Shih Tzu dogs and be close to walking trails and city life.


Tina said she feels like she lives in a New York loft within a quaint town. “But it’s amazingly quiet here,” Tina said. From her apartment, by night she can watch the downtown city lights shine through the trees. The river sparkles in the sunshine. She loves the sound of the water flowing and has even grown fond of the trains – once she got used to the windows rattling.

the U.S. Air Force. He brings both construction skills he picked up from his father and a strong service attitude to the job. He and Wally fix plumbing, do build-out for businesses, and plow parking lots in the winter. Having three kids ranging from age 9 to 15, and wife, Kelle, Bill does not live at the Silk Mill. But he stops in frequently.

Most of the Silk Mill residents are older adults, although there have been occasional college students and young professionals. There is no waiting list because there is maybe only one apartment that opens up each year, and some years no one leaves,” said Bill Arthur, the property manager since his father, Jim, retired. Bill works hard to please the tenants of his family’s properties that are primarily in Kent and Akron. Bill returned to Ohio in 2008 after 21 years in

Recognition In 2004, the Silk Mill, won an Immy Award, given annually by the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize “economic retention, reinvestment and new facilities development” in the Greater Kent Area. Other award winners have been West River Medical, Buffalo Wild Wings in the old hotel downtown, and the Kent Historical Society’s renovation of the ClappWoodward House.

Kent Yoga Center, founded in 2001 at University Plaza, moved to the Silk Mill in 2010. I had nearly given up finding the right location for the studio. After searching actively for six years, touring every available building, I began a lastditch effort. Bill Arthur was the second landlord I talked with. He suggested the empty Key Bank Building space downtown, which I had already looked at and ruled out – especially after he said we might be sharing space with a pool hall. We were saying our goodbyes when he said, somewhat conspiratorially, “Well, there is a space at the Silk Mill.” I knew about the Silk Mill because I had taken a tour several years back of the downtown area with Guy Pernetti, a local musician and history buff. I then read about the Arthur’s renovation and heard Harriet Begala talk about her a partment at the Silk Mill. It never dawned on me to ask about commercial space in the building. I told Bill I wanted to see it right away. When I saw the three rooms with their magnificent ceilings, antique wood floors and views of the trees and river, I knew it was perfect for us. Bill and Wally removed a wall and cut French doors to the studio space. We’ve been in love with the building, the gardens and our studio space ever since. I truly want everyone to see and appreciate this jewel in the City of Kent. Kent Yoga at the Silk Mill will be an early evening stop on the “Around Town” Festival on September 18th. All are welcome to attend this free “drop-in” format world music performance. Check out the website www.kentyoga.com for directions – if you still need them!

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You Know America Series by Patrick J. O’Connor

The series consists of three books designed to encourage reading. They are especially useful for students and adults who wish to improve reading

and comprehension. For more accomplished readers, they make interesting trivia reading.

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What is Assisted Living? Assisted living falls within a spectrum of longterm care options. An individual’s acuity helps to determine what care option is appropriate. The individual’s acuity is simply the medical and/or health needs. Individuals with a higher acuity would then need more health management. Assisted living fits within the spectrum by providing several types of services including housing, healthcare as well as a mix of other professional services. Assisted living is different than skilled nursing for many reasons. It is a unique mixture of residential housing along with tailored supportive services and healthcare. Residential housing allows for maximizing individual independence. Assisted living facilities are similar to independent living communities however, they offer supplemental services to aid residents in personal care and activities of daily living (ADL) as they age.

KentRidge THE GABLES OF

I t is hard to imagine that at some point in time the parents that were the support system of you and Kelly Cook, B.B.A., M.P.H. your family would now need Marketing Director you to be their support system. The role reversal for some is extremely difficult. During the transitional time period of aging many concerns may arise that may urge you to look for additional options of living. Assisted living is a long-term care option for seniors that need more assistance than what is offered at a retirement community and do not need the widespread services that a nursing home or hospital provides. Seniors living at home often want to stay there to remain independent but may struggle with meal preparation, house upkeep, lawn care, personal hygiene, loneliness and various other medical issues. With many concerns swarming a loved one’s health and quality of life, the thought of looking for the next move can be daunting. There is hope; over the past years there has been a growth in what is available and The Gables of KentRidge truly provides higher caliber of living to support families.

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has earned a deficiency free survey since opening in 2005. Our philosophy is to make The Gables of KentRidge a place where our own parents and grandparents would want to live (and many of them have!)

What Sets Us Apart from All the Rest … The Gables of KentRidge is a truly superior assisted living community that stands out among the rest. KentRidge has won Akron Beacon Journal’s Beacon’s Best Senior Living for the past 4 consecutive years and

Located on the southern border of Kent, Ohio at the intersection of 261 and Sunnybrook Road; the facility embodies 91 suites; 68 general assisted living and 23 secured memory care community and is located on magnificently landscaped grounds overlooking Golden Pond. We pride ourselves that the facility offers cutting edge care with dedicated staff. KentRidge is an entirely private pay facility with assistance from supplemental aid through Veteran support or long-term care policies. Amenities that are provided at no cost to residents include: monthly rent/mortgage, interest lost on home equity, property tax, homeowners insurance, home maintenance, water, sewer, trash, gas, electric, satellite TV, all meals and evening snack, fire safety system, Senior Health

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Specialist Physician, 24-hour nurse on premises, 24-hour personal care, daily housekeeping, laundry service, lawn care/landscaping, security system, activities social programs, whirlpool bathing, entertainment/cultural events, exercise program, intercom call system, and library

service. Additional services that are offered to residents for nominal charge include: onsite chauffeured transportation; beauty/barber shop; daily newspaper; physical, occupational, and speech therapy; podiatry service; vision services; and audiologist services. Continued on page 32

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in each suite are cleaned daily. Residents are welcome to participate in the cleaning of their suites if they desire. Our unique paging system: VIGIL offers emergency response of our staff through a SILENT paging. This system was customized for our facility and lets us customize alerts for our individual residents and their needs. Offering a silent paging system with no intercoms, bells and whistles allow for a truly undisturbed residential feel.

Dining

Executive Chef John McAninch oversees two chefs at The Gables of KentRidge. McAninch received Akron Beacon’s Best Chef for the past four consecutive years and Best Chef from Ohio Assisted Living Facility, 2014. All meals are prepared under the direction of a chef and dietitian. The high caliber of dining can be attributed to the experience of our

Continued from page 31

Accommodations Residents enjoy private apartment suites that have been thoughtfully designed to offer comfort, security and privacy. In addition to being completely carpeted, all suites are tastefully decorated with color coordinated wallpaper, draperies and window blinds. Residents have the luxury of furnishing their apartment to make their new place feel like home.

“I believe that each meal at The Gables is a social event, a form of entertainment for the residents. While I make each meal a well-balanced choice, I truly want the experience to be something that our residents anticipate with enthusiasm.” — Chef John McAninch —

Residents may go to the dining room during an ample time frame for each breakfast, lunch and dinner where they choose from a variety of selections offered at each meal and are served restaurant style by our dining room staff.

Activities Two full time activity directors are employed to ensure an enjoyable living experience. Once a resident moves in, one of our activities directors meets with them to gauge what activities or hobbies they are currently interested in. By meeting with each resident, activity directors are able to create attention grabbing and captivating programs. Activities are intended to promote socialization with new friends and develop new interests: residents are encourage to participate in all activities. Activities are targeted to engage mind, body and spirit such as brain teasers, daily exercise programs, traveling volleyball team, various church services throughout the week, and lots of outings to casinos, plays, lunch bunches and much more!

Each apartment is thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis or more frequently, if needed. In addition, beds are made and the bathrooms

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chefs as well as cooking with no processed foods. Fresh food is important for the nutrition of our residents as well as the taste. It’s as simple as today’s vegetables are in tomorrow’s soup.

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 o see The Gables of KentRidge T difference for your family, please schedule a complimentary lunch and tour! Contact Kelly Cook, Marketing Director at 330.677.4040 or by email at kcook@thegablesofkentridge.com.


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Visual Art

S H O W C A S E

Found object and assemblage art is an approach that has been around for some time. It might be thought of as the earliest art medium, certainly predating the advent of specifically produced art materials. It takes many forms and has flourished since becoming prominent in modern art in the early twentieth century. From the “readymades” of Marcel Duchamp and collages of Kurt Schwitters, to mid-century work by Robert Rauschenberg and Ed Kienholz,

Mark Keffer KSU Class of ‘88

up to the current moment, with artists such as Isa Genzken and Sarah Lucas, found object/assemblage art has not lost its strength as a medium for creating first-hand art experiences.

D A N A For a number of years now, artist Dana Depew has relentlessly pursued a practice that involves the inventive and thought provoking re-use of discarded materials. Whether it is the use of old water tanks in the creation of fanciful lighting projects (Seussian Stoplights) or the found

D E P E W

object birdhouses created in the Urban AvianFactory, or the exit signs that have taken numerous compelling configurations – among many other projects – Depew seems to explore every direction with a full-fledged commitment.

Cuyahoga Chuckwagon reclaimed amish buggy, found objects, video footage of the documentary Room 237, The Shining and vintage Tang commercials, 8´ x 6´ x 10´, 2015

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In a recent two-person exhibition entitled Pioneer Driven Mad (with painter Matt Dibble) Depew created a full scale functioning chuck wagon with materials from various sources, including a reclaimed Amish buggy. Part of the installation included stacked boxes made from found wood that displayed several videos including Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining; Room 237, a documentary about possible meanings in Kubrick’s movie regarding the genocide of Native Americans; and vintage Tang television commercials. The back of the wagon even served chili, baked beans and cornbread for the show’s opening reception – a good example that this artist does not work in half-measures. Depew’s work displays an intriguing balance between public art and that made for a gallery context. The bird houses can be seen in various unexpected locations throughout greater Cleveland. The lighting installations have been commissioned in a number of locations here, as well as in other Midwest cities; particularly strong examples can be found at the flourishing art center 78th Street Studios in Cleveland’s west side. His lively lighted signs, reconfigured


Rust Belt Crystal Palace reclaimed storm windows, antique stained glass, found objects 8´ x 12´ x 12´, 2013

from older signage, can be found announcing the names of a number of area businesses as well as other public functions, not to mention in many gallery pieces, as well. The public work is a nice extension of a long gallery exhibition history. It’s clear that this is an artist whose productivity and presence is rivaled by few, if any, in Northeast Ohio and he’s barely at a stage of creative output that can be called ‘midcareer’. Dana Depew was raised in Medina, Ohio and currently lives and works in Berea, while maintaining an additional studio in Medina. He has a BFA in sculpture from Kent State University and has shown his work extensively in the region, including at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland and Western Exhibitions in Chicago. He ran his own gallery, Asterisk, from 2001 to 2011 in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood and continues to curate shows in various area venues. He will have a solo show at Survival Kit gallery in Cleveland, opening October 16.

Exit Strategy (series 3) reclaimed exit signs obtained from abandoned Cleveland buildings, retrofitted with LED lighting, 8´ x 3´ x 3´, 2010

www.danadepew.com

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Visual Art L A

S H O W C A S E

W I L S O N

La Wilson has made a distinct and wonderful contribution to the art of Northeast Ohio and beyond. Her work has provided a long-standing presence of inquiry, creativity and thinking that has a special place in our recent history. With little in the way of formal training, she developed an intriguing mode of working that grew out of her earlier work in painting. The inclusion of simple common objects entered into the work at an early stage and before long took over entirely. The thinking process that occurs in relation to her work does not take the form of a pre-conceived plan, but rather in response to developments in the work during and after its creation. Her trial and error approach allows for a kind of creative freedom that leads to otherwise unlikely discoveries, using the materials as a direct kind of language. In this regard she states: “I don’t have anything in my head that I want them [the elements in her constructions] to say. So, it’s entirely what happens when they get together that make the stories.” This approach to art making and the materials/process she chooses have produced an independent but knowing path. Indeed, she is aware that her life as an artist in general was not particularly common. “I considered myself seriously interested in doing art, but I never felt a part of any group of artists. And I was always self-conscious [from lack of formal training and being a woman in art], but my interest was such, and it meant so much to me, that I knew I was just going to go on doing it.” La Wilson was born in Corning, New York in 1924 and moved to Hudson, Ohio in 1944. Her art train-

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Compressed Turbulence mixed media, 8” x 6” x 3.5”, 2010

ing consisted of classes taken at the Akron Art Institute (now Akron Art Museum) where she began exhibiting in the late 50s. She was given her first solo show in 1967 at the Ross Widen Gallery in Cleveland and has shown extensively on a national level since, including last year’s solo exhibition at the Akron Art Museum. Among other awards, she won the top prize in sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art’s May

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Incubator mixed media, 8” x 20” x 1.5”, 2006

Show and was given the Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts, both 1993. Her work is included in multiple museum collections including the Akron Art Museum, the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, Ohio and the Newark Museum, New Jersey. She is represented by the John Davis Gallery in New York and locally by Harris Stanton Gallery in Cleveland and Akron. www.harrisstantongallery.com

Evidence mixed media, 8” x 13.5” x 7.25”, 2008

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Visual Art M A R K

S H O W C A S E

H U G H E S

Mark Hughes takes a number of different approaches to art making, all of them displaying a kind of irreverent and knowing flair. Early work in film and video has led to various manifestations of found object/assemblage art. Recent work shows Hughes employing various inventive uses of materials acquired from a wide range of sources. His piece entitled Chomp mixed media, 10” x 11.5” x 2.5”, 2015

Chomp came together from elements that had wildly disparate past lives, accumulated over years. Dental molds, glass paint containers and a remnant of the American flag are among the elements that come together to make an openended, absurdist statement that conveys an ample wry humor. Bench, from 2014, is a piece from the Gallery Room series. It incorporates a sheet containing the registration mark and color bars of the printing process and places it in a new and unexpected context. A small seated figure implies a very different sense of scale and creates an imaginary scenario that can be read as a full-scale gallery interior. Huffers is another example of a source material being repurposed in a dramatic way. A vintage 1960s illustration from science educational materials (purportedly, regarding light effects on color) takes on a very different tone in the hands of Hughes. Blurred and visually garbled letters add an almost hallucinatory after-effect that provides for a peculiar, visually appealing and quite funny experience. The web page Hughes and Hughes Art (www.facebook.com/mrandmrsfun) features some of Mark’s work in conjunction with that of his wife Mary. She studied at Kent State and makes work in painting, photography and video, and has recently been adding to an ongoing series of vivid abstract digital prints.

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Bench 8” x 10”, 2014

Mark Hughes received his Masters in Film at Kent State University. His work has been shown at many festivals and video shows, including Video Fall Out at Loren Naji Gallery; Referential at Asterisk; Rock That Spot at the Ingenuity Festival; and The Cleveland Print Room. He has also screened his work in The Ann Arbor, The Black Maria and The Athens Film Festivals. For several years Mark toured with the band Dink, creating multimedia stage experiences to showcase their music. He has made music videos for both area and national acts, including Kent’s Ragged Bags (http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=MH6VNiM--Uo). His visual art has been exhibited at area locations including Lakeland Community College, Kirtland, Ohio and a recent solo show at the North Water Street Gallery in Kent. www.marklhughes.com

Huffers 10” x 8”, 2015

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Opening August 2015

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Protect: 1 Your car. 2 Your house. 3 Your bank account.

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Aug 20 Sep 1 Sep 11 Sep 18 Sep 19 Sep 22 Sep 23 Sep 26 Sep 27 Sep 29 Oct 7 Oct 8 Oct 10 Oct 17 Oct 22

The Boxmasters featuring Billy Bob Thornton Justin Hayward Charlie Musslewhite Spyro Gyra Rhiannon Giddens Zappa Plays Zappa Hot Tuna Acoustic Over The Rhine Hey Mavis The Wood Brothers Aaron Neville Sklar Brothers Wanda Hunt Rock My Soul Ron Holloway Band


Local SHOP Music

Shivering Timbers

Hey Mavis

The Numbers Band

Jon Mosey

Mo Mojo

Acid Cats

Peggy & Brad

The TwistOffs

Jessica Lea Mayfield Rachel & The Beatnik Playboys Rio Neon

Austin Walkin’ Cane

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Xtra Crispy

Roger Hoover

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Smokin Fez Monkeys

David Mayfield


Celebrating more than 78 years of Ray’s Place in Kent by Patrick J. O’Connor 49

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A Dancer’s Success

Joni Koneval

n a cold, rainy Saturday in October 2014, Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance had a very special visitor. While the Kent State community was cheering on the Golden Flashes in Dix Stadium, members of the Kent Dance Ensemble were across campus rehearsing with and performing for Tony Award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan. Visiting artists like Fagan are a staple of the School of Theatre and Dance’s academic programs, providing students with opportunities to learn from and network with professionals in their field. Fagan, whose visit was made possible by Lawrence and Sandra Armstrong, was impressed with the Kent Dance Ensemble and returned in April 2015 to see the group perform in concert. One student in particular, senior dance performance major Nina Price, stood out to Fagan and in April 2015 Fagan hired Price as

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a member of his world-renown dance company Garth Fagan Dance.

is so well known, nationally and even internationally.”

A Maryland native, Price trained at the Mid Maryland Performing Arts Center (MMPAC) prior to enrolling at Kent State in 2011. She graduated summa cum laude in May 2015 with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance. Before graduation, Price was already a full-fledged member of Garth Fagan Dance, traveling to the company’s home base in Rochester, NY to perform at the Garth Fagan Dance 75/45 Gala celebrating Fagan’s 75th birthday and the 45th anniversary of the dance company.

When asked about her experiences at Kent State, Price reflected, “It is truly such an honor and blessing to have this opportunity and I could not be more thankful for my professors and Kent State for helping me reach this dream. If it were not for Kent State, Garth Fagan would have probably never seen me dance. The mentorship of my professors and the experiences I have had at Kent have molded me into the dancer, performer, professional, artist, and person I am today.”

“I cannot even put into words what it means to sign a contract with Garth Fagan,” says Price. “It is not often that dancers are able to find jobs and sign contracts with professional paying companies straight out of college – let alone a company such as Garth Fagan Dance that

Andrea Shearer, who recently retired as director of Kent State’s Dance Division, calls Price, “the total package. She knows how to ask questions, work through difficulties and gives choreographers a clear and wonderful canvas upon which to create their work.”

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“Nina Price came to Kent State University Dance as a freshman with a bit of magic already in place,” says associate professor and Kent Dance Ensemble artistic director Kimberly Karpanty. “Garth Fagan knew he wanted her to join his company, Garth Fagan Dance, within a few minutes of watching her dance.” Founded in 1970, Garth Fagan Dance is an internationally acclaimed company, a school that annually provides dance training to over 450 students, and an innovative outreach program designed to serve the greater Rochester community through educational performances and dance instruction. To date, he has received over 60 major awards and honors for his work including the Tony Award for his choreography of Broadway’s The Lion King.

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WHAT DO WALT DISNEY, ELEPHANTS, SUSHI AND FIDO HAVE IN COMMON? PBS’s fall line-up, of course! No other television programming brings enchantment, education and inspiration to you like PBS through your local station, Western Reserve PBS. Here’s just a taste of what we have in store for you beginning in September:

The documentary explores her mentoring by boxer Sugar Ray Robinson, former New York City Mayor David Dinkins and others. Arthur & George on MASTERPIECE Martin Clunes stars as world-famous author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in this three-part adaptation of Julian Barnes’ acclaimed novel that follows the separate but intersecting lives of two men: a half-Indian son of a vicar who is framed for a crime he may not have committed; and Doyle, who investigates the case.

The Civil War 25th Anniversary Producer and director Ken Burns’ award-winning film The Civil War will rebroadcast over five consecutive nights this month, coinciding with the 25th anniversary of its 1990 premiere. This is the first time the film will be in high definition, further enhancing the vision of Burns and his cinematographers Allen Moore and Buddy Squires more than 25 years ago.

PBS Althea on AMERICAN MASTERS Uncover the story of Althea Gibson (1927–2003), who emerged as the unlikely queen of the segregated tennis world of the 1950s. She was the first African American to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals a decade before Arthur Ashe.

Paula Mastroianni

Western Reserve

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Walt Disney on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE Walt Disney was uniquely adept at art as well as commerce, a master filmmaker who harnessed the power of technology and storytelling. This new two-part, four-hour film offers an unprecedented look at Disney’s complex life and enduring legacy, featuring rare archival footage from the Disney vaults, scenes from some of his greatest films and interviews with biographers, animators and artists who worked on early films, including Snow White, and the designers who helped turn his dream of Disneyland into reality. Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey on AMERICAN MASTERS Discover the remarkable life and work of Pedro E. Guerrero, a Mexican American born and raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who had an extraordinary, international photography career. Using Guerrero’s words and images, the program explores his collaborations with three of the most iconic American artists of the 20th century: Frank Lloyd Wright and sculptors Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson. This film is a special co-presentation with VOCES. Don’t Tell Anyone (No Le Digas a Nadie) on POV Meet immigrant activist Angy Rivera, the country’s only advice columnist for undocumented youth. In a community where silence is often seen as necessary for survival, she steps out of the shadows to share her own parallel experiences of being undocumented and sexually abused. Art and Craft on POV The jig is up for art forger Mark Landis, who has donated his expert copies to museums for 30 years. But stopping isn’t simple. This cat-and-mouse caper uncovers the universal in one man’s search for connection and respect.

when they’ve lost their mothers? This heartwarming, emotional series follows the work of animal rescue centers around the world and introduces the extraordinary people who have devoted their lives to helping all kinds of wild orphans get back on their feet.

ON TWO FRONTS: Latinos & Vietnam on POV Examine the Latino experience during a war that placed its heaviest burden on workingclass youth and their communities. Framing the documentary are memoirs of two siblings, Everett and Delia Alvarez, who stood on opposite sides of the Vietnam War, one as a POW and the other protesting at home. Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case on POV This stunning dissection of the persecution of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei explores how the government’s attempts to silence him have backfired and turned him into an irrepressible voice for free speech and human rights around the globe. Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise on POV Experience the inspiring rebirth of an African wilderness through the eyes of Emmy Awardwinning wildlife cameraman Bob Poole. Darting lions, wrestling crocs, facing down angry elephants … it’s all part of a day’s work as he joins the battle to re-wild a legendary national park. Nature’s Miracle Orphans on NATURE Growing up in the wild is always rough and young animals rely on their parents to protect and nurture them through the dangerous early phase of life. But how do young animals survive

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The Women’s List on AMERICAN MASTERS Hear from 15 women who created and defined contemporary American culture in the newest chapter of filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ “List” series (The Boomer List, The Black List, The Latino List, The Out List). This film features interviews with Madeleine Albright, Gloria Allred, Laurie Anderson, Sara Blakely, Margaret Cho, Edie Falco, Betsey Johnson, Alicia Keys, Aimee Mullins, Nancy Pelosi, Rosie Perez, Shonda Rhimes, Wendy Williams and Nia Wordlaw. Indian Summers on MASTERPIECE Julie Walters plays the glamorous doyenne of an English social club in the twilight of British rule in India. This lavish nine-part series explores the collision of the English ruling class and local people agitating for Indian independence. The two sides alternately clash and merge in intricate games of power, politics and passion. I’ll Have What Phil’s Having Journey with Phil Rosenthal, creator of the TV hit Everybody Loves Raymond, as he learns from the chefs, vendors, culinary leaders and stylesetters who keep their communities’ traditions alive and create new ones. Continued on page 56

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and unwraps the science behind earth’s deadly quakes.

Rosenthal visits kitchens on and off the wellworn gastronomic path, leading viewers from one of the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in Asia to a Los Angeles bakery that trains former gang members. The Widower This drama is the true story of Malcolm Webster, a nurse by profession and, on the surface, a perfect gentleman: well-spoken, personable and charming. He’s also a spendthrift and killer. He marries, and attempts to kill, a succession of women to cash in their life insurance policies. Big Birds Can’t Fly on NATURE This is the unique story of flightless birds. They say a bird is three things – feathers, flight and song. But what happens when you’re a bird who can’t fly, who can’t sing and whose feathers are closer to fluff? Is this an evolutionary joke? Flightless birds include ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries and kiwis; all have evolved independent of each other on different continents. Soul of the Elephant on NATURE Ironically, every dead elephant with its ivory intact is a reason to celebrate. It means an elephant died of natural causes, not bullets, snares or poison, and a soul was allowed to be celebrated and mourned by its herd. Award-winning filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert start with the remains of two bull elephants and, through a series of key flashbacks, look at the lives they would have led, the dramas they may have seen, their great migrations for water with their families and their encounters with lions and hyenas.

Earth’s Natural Wonders on NOVA Explore the most extraordinary places on the planet in this three-part series. Visit six continents to learn how these natural wonders evolved and hear rarely told stories about the challenges their inhabitants face.

behavior and natural abilities that we hardly recognize. This two-part series explores this parallel existence with all the techniques that have been perfected in past “spy” shows, including HD spy cameras, night vision cameras, drones, miniature on-board cameras and digital high-speed cameras. The Brain with Dr. David Eagleman Neuroscientist David Eagleman explores the human brain in an epic series that reveals the ultimate story of us, why we feel and think the things we do. This ambitious project blends science with innovative visual effects and compelling personal stories, and addresses some big questions. By understanding the human brain, we can come close to understanding humanity. Nepal Earthquake on NOVA On April 25, 2015, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake ripped through Nepal, causing catastrophic damage, shaking Mount Everest, and leaving thousands dead. NOVA tells the story of this chilling disaster

Pets: Wild at Heart From the award-winning team that brought us Earthflight and Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, comes a revolutionary look at our pets. Our pets may seem familiar, but they exist alongside us in a secret world of wild

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Making North America on NOVA This unprecedented, 3-part series presents a bold and sweeping biography of our homeland. How was it built? How did life evolve? How did the landscape shape us? Host Kirk Johnson embarks on an epic road trip to uncover the clues just beneath our feet. American Epic In the 1920s, record company scouts toured America with the first electric recording machine and captured the raw expression of an emerging culture. The filmmakers follow the scouts’ trail to rediscover the families whose music was recorded: early blues, country, gospel, Hawaiian, Cajun and folk, without which there would be no rock, pop, R&B or hip hop. Over three episodes, the remarkable lives of seminal musicians materialize in previously unseen film footage, unpublished photographs and exclusive interviews with some of the last living witnesses to that era. The Pilgrims on AMERICAN EXPERIENCE  Acclaimed filmmaker Ric Burns explores the converging forces, circumstances, personalities and events that propelled a group of English men and women west across the Atlantic in 1620. With distinct and riveting personal histories, passionate religious beliefs and the will to survive, even through violent means, these first immigrants reveal the history of our nation’s beginnings. Western Reserve PBS, WNEO and WEAO. Powered by YOU.

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Richele Charlton

Downtown Kent

Ghost Walk

AS THE WEATHER TURNS CHILLY, the days shorten and brightly colored leaves crunch beneath feet, it is time for the annual Kent Ghost Walk. The lantern-lit guided tours that walk through downtown are a blend of the supernatural and of Kent history.

made themselves known. Highlighting these ghostly visitors was discussed, but didn't happen until 2007.

Richele Charlton was chairing the Main Street Kent Promotions Committee at the time. “At one of our early meetings we were brainstorming ideas for unique events to draw people to downtown.” One of the members, Lisa Martinez said, “I hear ghost walks can be popular. Do you think there are any haunted places in Kent?” “I know of at least one place!” replied Richele and the Kent Ghost Walk was born. However, the incoming 2009 committee was not interested in continuing the walks; Richele, her husband Tom Simpson, their family, and friend Cheryl Cone

In 2002, while renovating the Kent Theater to make way for The Kent Stage, the majority of staff and construction crew experienced paranormal events. Apparitions were seen and named – The Sparkly Lady and the Shadowy Man; ladders violently shaking and disembodied voices were among some of the other unnerving and strange happenings during that time. It turns out that from the very beginning, it was known the theater was haunted; through the years, many other spirits have

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Continued from page 59 have all worked hard to continue the event and to turn it into an annual tradition. The walks now draw not only local residents but also those living all over Ohio and Pennsylvania. Each year the walk sells out; in order to accommodate more people, the walk was

have had paranormal investigation and ghost psychics confirming they are haunted. One of the investigation groups is EctoVision Paranormal, a local team of 5 ghost hunters and 1 psychic medium. They have investigated and filmed at The Kent Stage, Pufferbelly Ltd. and the former location of Nobel Images/ Groov-E-Juice. They have collected a variety of

Pictured outside of The Pufferbelly Restaurant is Poet 1, Merle Mollenkopf, the official Pufferbelly Ltd. teller.

Photograph by Jason Noble

expanded so two different walks could run at the same time. The walks are: The Downtown Kent Ghost Walk which goes to haunted and historic homes and businesses, and Spirits of the Cuyahoga, a history, mystery and murder walk. This walk goes along the river boardwalk, with stories from Kent's darker past and the spirits that have Photograph by Erin LaBelle been left behind.

Teller Maria Walter

For the stories to be presented during the walks, they must be considered actual paranormal events. Many of the walk sites

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Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP’s) and other unexplained sounds and sights that are beyond scientific explanation that help to prove the existence of spirit activity in these buildings. Eric McGill, the director of EctoVision Paranormal also saw Thomas, the Shadowy Man during the 2014 Kent Paranormal Weekend! A group of other event goers sitting behind Eric also saw the Shadowy Man at the same time. Laura Lyn, psychic medium and group member, has communicated with a number of spirits in these buildings as well. She has also confirmed stories by several Ray’s Place employees that Gurty, a long time Ray’s cook, visits the restaurant on a regular basis. Kevin Long, the owner of Pufferbelly Ltd. has had many experiences

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with Charlie, the railroad worker spirit on the main level and the ghost of a rumrunner in the basement storage area of the restaurant. Mr. Long was one of the first people to submit a story for the Kent Ghost Walk, and he had one of the first downtown ghost hunts at his historic restaurant. He is enthusiastic about being a part of this annual event. Jason Nobel, owner of Nobel Images, has also been a long time supporter of the Kent Ghost Walk. While looking at images from a photo shoot, he discovered he also had a photo of a ghostly woman in 1800s clothing! He tried to recreate the shot to debunk the image, but was unable to do so. Other businesses that have had paranormal investigations are Empire and Secret Cellar. They also have employees that are sensitive and have had ghostly encounters. Last year we were excited to include Dale Adams Enterprises to our walk. Mr. Adams told his own account of having his business investigated by Mary Ann Winkowski, the real Ghost Whisperer, two different times. Each time she identified spirits in the multistory car restoration building. “People are still talking about what an amazing stop that was! I am hoping Mr. Adams will consider inviting the walk back in the near future,” commented Richele. Haunted sites in Kent are not limited to businesses. There are many historic homes in the downtown area that have past owners stopping by. One of these homes is owned by Parker Mathews and is located on Columbus Street. This Victorian house was once the home and office of Dr. Krape, who died in the second floor bedroom facing the street. As Aislinn Charlton-Dennis, storyteller for this site, would say, “Don’t worry! Dr. Krape is eternally on call!” Although Mr. Matthews has not met up with Dr. Krape, visitors and former owners have had plenty of experiences. “Maybe I am not sensitive to this sort of thing,” said Mr. Matthews, “But, I have recently invested in some ghost


hunting equipment. I am hoping to capture some EVP’s from Dr. Krape, stat!” There are also apartments above The Kent Stage that have many ghostly visitors. We use one of the apartments during our public ghost hunts and often make contact with several spirits. The ghosts are very friendly and seem to love the energy of the musicians and artists that rent the apartments. Part of the key to solving the mystery of who might be haunting a place is knowing its history. Many hours have been spent looking through books in the Ohio Room of the Kent Free Library. “That room is supposed to be haunted by Nellie Dingley, one of Kent’s first librarians. So far, Nellie has not made an appearance while I am researching story information,” said Richele with a chuckle. “I keep hoping she will pop in to say, ‘Hi.’” Kenneth McGregor of Art Armory has published several books on Kent history and is a great resource. He has also edited some of the stories for the walk and has built a replica of the Mittiga boys’ tombstone. (The Mittiga boys are said to haunt the banks of the Cuyahoga River where they met an untimely death when their canoe capsized in the rushing spring river currents.) The friendly staff of The Kent Historical Society have not only provided valuable information over the years, but also were instrumental in asking the public to share their personal ghost stories in 2007. The collected stories are now in a book titled Haunting Tales from the Tree City, which may be purchased from the Kent Historical Society store – the last stop on the Downtown Kent Ghost Walk. This popular book is currently in it’s 3rd edition and may be purchased for $5.00 the evening of the Ghost Walk.  During the walk, local storytellers weave together a tale of history and unearthly visitors, providing walkers with entertainment and edu-

cation. One of the first artists to agree to help with the Ghost Walk in 2007 was Poet 1, Merle Mollenkopf. He became the official Pufferbelly Ltd. teller, until his passing. He would greet the crowd in top hat and tails, telling jokes, moving into a Frost poem and then capturing everyone’s imagination as he masterfully told the story of the Pufferbelly ghosts. Other talented tellers are Lisa Hart, Samantha Wilmoth, Jeff St. Clair, Guy Pernetti, Richele, Devlin and Aislinn Charlton, Tom and Ethan Simpson, Greg Janik,

in Kent and other area haunts. Another great source for workers is the Crooked River Alliance of Time Banks – both The Kent Stage and The Kent Historical Society are members. While The Kent Stage organizes and executes the walks, it takes a lot of cooperation from downtown businesses and homeowners who are proud to be apart of this unique celebration of Kent history and hauntings. They love to update their stories of paranormal

Pictured is teller Cynthia Tuck inside of Noble Images/Grovee Juice. Photograph by Jason Noble

Jen Barocsi, Zach Ellsworth, Jason Prufer, Clay Magilavy, Elizabeth Burke, Cynthia Tuck, Maria Walter, Sheila Harko and many others, throughout the years. Many of these tellers have also had ghostly encounters and add personal narrative to their tales! Groups of approximately 20 enthusiastic walkers are led by cape-clad volunteer guides to the haunted sites. Many of The Kent Stage volunteers help out on this non-music event. Members of area paranormal groups also volunteer their time during the two-day event. At this time, three groups have confirmed for the 2015 Ghost Walk – EctoVision Paranormal, Munroe Falls Paranormal and Akron-based Team Spectre. These groups set up information tables with ghost hunting equipment in the lobby of The Kent Stage so interested ticket holders can learn more about ghost hunting

activities each year, which have evolved over time as more history is uncovered and more ghostly activity takes place. Gather a group of friends together and join us this October 23rd and 24th for a spooktacular evening of celebrating Kent’s eerie past! For more information on The Kent Ghost Walk visit these sites: Kentghostwalk.com Kent Ghost Walk Facebook page Thekentstage.com

Teller Sheila Harko Photograph by Erin LaBelle

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