Colorful exhibits: Fred Fuller Park to be full of creativity during the 12th annual festival

Erika Kreider

George Sacco sits at his ceramics booth at last year’s Art in the Park. Sacco won Best of Show last year.

Credit: Ben Breier


Performers Schedule:


10 to 11:30 – Northern Portage Band, Blue Grass

11:45 to 1:30 – Stingers, Pop, Latin Jazz

1:45 to 2:45 – Guinevere & Joel Rhoads & Friends, Folk & soft rock

3 to 4 – Guy Pernetti, Acoustic Guitar

4:15 to 5:15 – Celtic Clan, Traditional Celtic Acoustic

5:30 to 6:30 – Ian Heisey, Dulcimer and Guitar


11 to noon – Thunderwalker Productions, Native American Flute

Noon to 1 – Flash in The Pan, Kent State Steel Drum Band

1:15 to 2:15 – Theodore Roosevelt High School Choir

2:30 to 3:30 – Brad Bolton & Peggy Coyle, Jazz on Guitar & Vocals

3:45 to 4:45 – Kent Brass Quintet

5 to 6:15 – John Mosey, Blues

Source: Nancy R. Rice, recreation supervisor for Kent Parks & Recreation


Nestled in the rolling hills of Fred Fuller Park this weekend will be unique photographs, displays of hanging paintings, eccentric jewelry and freshly hand-blown glass.

The 12th annual Art in the Park, a festival that displays the works of art from over a 100 local artists, is a town tradition.

The event entertains audiences up to 18,000 people every year with apparel, ceramics, pottery, drawings, metal and wood on display and for sale.

Not only will there be art, but there also will be live music.

Here is a small taste of some of the sights and sounds.

Music from trash

The Kent State Steel Drum Band, Flash in the Pan, has played at Art in the Park for about five years, according to Ted Rounds, associate professor of percussion.

“They (steel drums) are made out of 55- gallon oil drums that come in various sizes and various ranges,” Rounds said.

Steel drums have a metallic and island-like sound to them, compared to the usual drum sound.

According to Rounds, using steel drums as instruments started in Trinidad because music was illegal, and the people there made drums out of the oil canisters, or basically, trash.

This year, there are 13 members in the group.

“We’re an entertainment band,” Rounds said. “We’ve played for a couple hundred to thousands of people, but at Art in the Park there’s about 50 to 60 people out there.”

Environment is key to art

Featured children’s artist, Wayne Shepard, is a first year participant at Art in the Park and a part-time art education instructor.

“I’ve taught in public schools for 35 years, but I still go around and do workshops,” Shepard said. “We’re going to do a jewelry project with inexpensive materials using recycled materials. I got motherboards from computers and cut them up. We’re going to be making alien medallions.”

This year’s children’s theme is, “Out of This World.”

“I’m also giving a demonstration on how to enamel. Enameling is when you fuse glass to metal,” Shepard said.

Shepard’s art is themed around raising awareness about the environment and recycling.

“I emphasize the environment. I include feelings and emotions, also colors and patterns that induce good feelings,” Shepard said.

Some of his work includes producing a mural for Akron Children’s Hospital.

Shepard explained he creates his art to help people feel better, not for the money or the recognition, but if he does something along the way that earns him recognition, it would be good.

Story telling inspires art

Within walking distance of campus lives a man who is 100 percent Cherokee Indian, one of the few individuals left who can speak the native language.

“Each of the paintings has a story that depicts it,” said friend Dona Greene about Edwin George’s paintings.

George shared a Cherokee story his father told him about how the turkey got the gobble as an example.

“I know some stories. If it’s got a story, I can come up with it. Anything that has a story,” George said about the inspiration for his paintings.

This local folk artist has participated in Art in the Park since its inception.

A recent project George has taken on puts his art on the side of a Bio Bus, a bus that only runs on cooking oil, for the Portage County Park District.

Also, George just won Ohio’s Premier Folk Artist award, winning himself a grant of $5,000, which enabled him to help fund the painting of a mural in downtown Kent, supported by Standing Rock Gallery.

The decision about which paint to use for the mural was mostly based on a love story, said Crystal Birns, director of the art mural.

“The title is ‘Love.’ It’s public-friendly; it’s two turtles in love,” she said.

The next painting will involve the black squirrel.

These are just a taste of the different types of artists that will be at Art in the Park. Take a browse through Art in the Park, amidst the mature trees of Fred Fuller Park.

Contact ALL reporter Erika Kreider at [email protected].