Knight Foundation Initiative Aims to Get Under-Served Audiences into Akron Museums & Concert Halls

The grant defrays rental costs so smaller community groups can use the Akron Civic for work aimed at underserved groups
The grant defrays rental costs so smaller community groups can use the Akron Civic for work aimed at underserved groups
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For the past year, Summit County arts organizations have been discussing ways to extend their reach to underserved audiences, after an independent study revealed that African Americans and young people didn't feel connected to the area arts scene. Akron Civic Theater Executive Director Howard Parr says it was a sobering assessment.

HOWARD PARR: This study just said, Here's the facts. If you want to address the issues that you have, in terms of more attendance, more participation, then you'd better start thinking about the needs of the community.

A new six million-dollar initiative from the Knight Foundation is looking to ease the disconnect by funding community outreach activities by the Akron Civic, the Akron Art Museum, the Akron Symphony and two other anchor institutions in the city. The money will help support programming that appeals to a more diverse audience mix. A portion of the grant will also be used to create an annual contest to fund new art ideas from the community.

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