The Pump House Center for Art + Culture will transform and activate the vacant Pump House building at 411 Ira Ave next to Summit Lake into an active neighborhood art, event, and performance space. The space will provide local youth creative educational and employment opportunities and serve as an intergenerational gathering place for neighborhood residents, hosting community meals, classes, art shows, musical performances, film screenings, and more.

The project is spearheaded by the League of Creative Interventionists with Knight Foundation support. Partners include the residents of Summit Lake, City of Akron, Let's Grow Akron, the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, and Akron Civic Commons. We are currently working with our partners to raise money for the necessary renovations to make this building a safe and accessible space for the community. 


Want to learn more or get involved? Fill out the form below or get in touch at leo@creativeinterventionists.com and we will be in touch soon. 

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We are looking for help with construction, fundraising, programming, events, social media, marketing, and more. Let us know what skills you have or how you would like to help. Thanks!

MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT

Who are the League of Creative Interventionists?

The League of Creative Interventionists is a national organization with a chapter in Akron. The League uses public participatory art to create spaces to prompt curiosity, connection, and creativity. We have been working in Akron for three years, most recently organizing a citywide meal for 500 people on the Innerbelt Freeway. Hunter Franks is the Artistic Director of the League. Anne Koller is the Programs Manager and Summit Lake resident Stephanie Leonardi is the Project Manager for this project.   

Why the Pump House?

We have worked on projects with organizations throughout Akron and upon getting to know the Summit Lake neighborhood, we were struck by the beauty of the lake and people. We talked to residents and heard the need for employment, education, and intergenerational connection. The Pump House is a beautiful and historic building that has been sitting vacant for at least 10 years. At the same time, there is a lack of creative and event space in the neighborhood and in Akron. Our hope is that transforming the Pump House into an active and vibrant space for creativity and culture will grow connections between neighbors, new jobs and skills, while cultivating joy and neighborhood pride.

How can I get involved?

We are co-creating this project with Summit Lake and Akron residents. The Project Manager for the project, Stephanie "Leo" Leonardi, is a Summit Lake resident who is active in the community. We are looking for more people to help out and get involved creating the neighborhood they want to see. If you are interested in offering your voice and skills to this project please email Leo at leo@creativeinterventionists.com.    

PUMP HOUSE ADVISORY BOARD

Early in this project we convened an advisory board consisting of Summit Lake residents and community leaders. These people are:

Grace Hudson, Summit Lake resident

Eric Nelson, Executive Director, Students With A Goal

Lisa Nunn, Executive Director, Let's Grow Akron

Nicole Mullet, Executive Director, Arts Now

Veronica Sims, City of Akron At Large Council

WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO RECENTLY


SUMMIT LAKE COMMUNITY PORTRAIT PROJECT

We partnered with local photographer Shane Wynn to capture powerful and playful portraits of Summit Lake residents. Photos were compiled into a book and installed along the Towpath Trail to connect residents and Towpath users.


Summit Lake Community Porch

On June 3, 2017 in the Summit Lake neighborhood of Akron, Ohio, the League of Creative Interventionists brought together their 16 Fellows from around the country to work with youth from the Summit Lake Build Corps to create a community porch in a vacant lot as part of their continuing work to make spaces for connection and joy in the neighborhood.


SUMMIT LAKE BUILD CORPS

The Summit Lake Build Corps pairs youth in the Summit Lake neighborhood with experienced fabricators and builders in Akron to teach new skills and enable youth to create projects that add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood. Building projects have included benches, picnic tables, and a fruit stand.


NEIGHBORHOOD T-SHIRT COMPETITION

A neighborhood-wide contest was held to create a t-shirt design for Summit Lake that captures the spirit, positivity, and vibrancy of the neighborhood. The designs were put up for a public neighborhood vote and the top three designs were printed and distributed at programming throughout the neighborhood. The shirts add to the sense of neighborhood pride and display the creativity of the community.


SNOW DAY

On a cold day in Akron, Ohio, the League of Creative Interventionists and the Pump House Center for Art + Culture activated the space near Summit Lake with community activities and opportunities for youth to learn how to create sculptures out of ice. Partners included Let's Grow Akron, Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, Reimagining the Civic Commons, the City of Akron, and Students With A Goal.


mul·ti·gen·er·a·tion·al

by Stephanie "Leo" Leonardi 

Around noon on November 5th, a sunny, colorful Saturday, over 100 neighbors, residents and guests started to trickle into the normally empty lot across from the Pump House building in Akron's Summit Lake neighborhood for the Pump House Community Day. They had gathered to celebrate community and share their ideas for what can happen in the building, which has been vacant for 13 years. Attendees wrote their ideas for programming on a giant chalkboard or individual sheets of paper. 

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Non-profit Let's Grow Akron showed off their adjacent community gardens and flock of chickens. Drummers from local groups Free World and Alchemy, along with local resident musician Dennis Oliver, set up a drumming circle and led the attendees in a creation story called "The Golden Age.” Ben Karam, a member of South Street Ministries, a local organization that has an active presence in the neighborhood, set up an inflatable bouncy house and a spin art table for kids. 

Jan Green and Grace Hudson from Lets Grow Akron's canning crew had arrived early with chili and all the fixings to go with it. They had been working on it for two days. Along with them was a crew of collaborators, and a handful of teens manning the hand made pizza oven, which they had made two months earlier. The apple crisp dessert pizzas were delicious and plentiful. It was entertaining throughout the day to watch the teen chefs at work.  

Attendees streamed in from both the neighborhood and the Towpath Trail, which runs next to the lake and provides a safe and accessible way for families to get to the Pump House. Folks received impromptu one on one lessons from the drummers, create funky art on a postcard, or took a peek inside the Pump House at all of the large machinery still inside. Jeff Horner was out on the pier prepared to fish with any kiddos that wondered up. Everybody had something to do, and if not something specific, just enjoying the day and the conversation with somebody while eating some deliciousness food seemed just as enjoyable. 

The word 'multigenerational' has as many layers to it as it does syllables and that is what the community day at the Pump House showed us. It modeled what we would like to see continued, which was a range of ages of people engaged together in creative ways and learning and listening from each other. While interacting that day we were in the very act of creating it!