Hope, Healing, and Renewal:
Visual Artists of Akron Black Artist Guild
Experience the intersection of art and healing through beautiful artworks in paint, photography, and sculpture by visual artists of Akron Black Artist Guild.
The Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park is honored to collaborate with this Akron, OH, cultural institution, whose artists prompt us to consider art as an outlet for release and self-understanding and how creativity is an integral part of healing.
Exhibit On Display
Sept. 15 – Nov. 5
1565 Boston Mills Rd
Friday – Sunday
11am – 3pm
4pm – 7pm
Artists in Exhibit
Charisse M. Harris (she/her)
Charisse is a mixed-media artist from Akron, Ohio. She received her Master of Art degree in fine arts from Kent State University and her Bachelor of Art degree in studio art from Baldwin-Wallace University. She has taught a variety of studio art courses at Kent State University, Columbus State & Capital University in Columbus. She is currently a visiting assistant professor of Art at Oberlin College and a lecturer at Baldwin-Wallace University.
The range of issues she explores in her art – intersectionality, black culture, faith, food and female representation– are as broad as the media she employs. Her work is multifaceted and complex in its analysis of the individual’s relationship to one’s external environment. www.charisseharris.com.
Chris is a digital artist, graphic designer and photographer from Akron, Ohio. Chris is a veteran who uses art as a therapy and outlet to combat the symptoms of his disabilities, which include traumatic brain injury. He currently is the Creative Director of Belt Magazine, an online digital publication covering the former rustbelt area of the United States, covering a wide variety of topics including poetry, politics and local culture. Chris was a Black Artist Guild Reimagine fellow in 2022 where he combined photograph and vector illustration in partnership with Reservoir Park and residents located in the Goodyear Heights neighborhood of Akron, Ohio. Chris enjoys hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Summit Metro Park. In 2023, Chris was selected as one of two local artists to create posters representing Akron and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to celebrate the Goodyear 125th anniversary docu-series. Chris studied graphic design at Cuyahoga Community College from 2016 – 2018. Chris’ work is heavily influenced by minimalism, Art Nouveau, Ukiyo-e, as well as Pop art, Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Anime. He is also the Co-founder of bARTer, an art trading network for visual artists with all levels of experience that encourages the building of non-hierarchical art collections and communities. www.chrish330.com.
Diane is a visual artist, native of Akron, Ohio, co-owner of Art Only Boutique, LLC., and co-founder of the Akron Black Artist Guild. Diane’s passion for art is second nature. Her choice of medium is acrylics for paintings and mixed-media work. The vibrancy of the acrylics and how forgiving they are makes them easy for her to work with. Diane also enjoys writing short stories, devotions, and various topics.
Diane’s artwork displays soulful illustrations and passion for abstract and impressionistic inspirations. Her figurative works of women depict the simple realities of life. She believes some seasons in a woman’s life are more complex than others. And a woman’s grace and beauty can remain unbroken as she ascends above the ashes.
Diane has taught several creative workshops, and she loves engaging with the community sharing her passion for art and developing future artists. www.artonlyboutique.com.
Self-taught, Gerri is a new artist who began painting as a means of dealing with stress. Realizing her stress was rooted in race and gender inequalities, she began to turn her paintings into something that represent beauty and confidence. She uses materials including canvas, vinyl, acrylic paint, and ink in shades that are usually subdued so they don’t take away from the focal point.
Gerri ‘s work is about beauty and positivity: the physical beauty of women and the figurative beauty of positivity, respect, self-love, and confidence. Gerri draws on the urban community for inspiration, transferring its fashion into her characters, using glitter to allow them to stand out from the painted backgrounds. She utilizes her built-up energy and paints her backgrounds with raw emotion, aiming for satisfaction–not perfection–hence, Perfectly Imperfect.
Ka ‘ Amun Dara
Ka ‘ Amun is a young, black self-taught artist brought up in the Akron-Canton area. Dara Fine Art started four years ago in Ohio when the artist’s love of history and the spoken word began a passion for expression through painting. As Ka ‘ Amun grows as an artist, his works pay respect to the great artists before him. After all, they have paved the way for the creativity he brings to his art. This journey has led him to continue creating and finding his own forever-evolving style. Ka ‘ Amun Dara may even be someone you know, as Dara’s identity is unknown. This keeps the focus on the art and art being the escape it was always intended to be. Instagram: @dara_fine.art.
Louise, a Miller South alum, started her artistic journey with a love for sculpture. After school, Louise took a detour to help run her family business, a local auto business that happens to be the only all-female, black-owned business of its kind in the county. In the last several years, Louise has used her sculptural skill and passion for baking to operate a thriving custom cake business called WeezieCakes. Returning to her first love of fine art, Louise is now more active in the local arts scene. She is a member of the Black Artist Guild, a participant of Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance’s First Friday event, and co-director of the East Avenue Market & Gallery.
Her recent body of work utilizes a sculpted bas-relief technique to convey emotions and explore memory. She looks forward to developing her artworks further and staying connected to the community. Instagram: @weeziecakes.
Nick is a painter and 2021 Kent State University graduate. Nick lives and works in Akron, Ohio. Nick’s work is inspired by the diversity of human experience. As a Japanese-American, Nick’s visual art strives to better represent minorities like himself in American portraiture and western art. Another motivation for Nick is self-discovery. Nick uses symbolic Japanese objects in his paintings to connect with a culture that was never taught to him growing up.
Nick completed an artist residency at Van Gogh Cleveland in 2021. Nick finished another artist residency at Hopewell farms this past June. In the fall of 2022, Nick was awarded the Urgent Art Fund from Spaces in Cleveland, Ohio. Nick is the 2023 recipient of the Distinguished Citizen for Art Education for the Northeast Ohio region. Nick will be the fall artist in residence for the Feverdream Artist Residency in Tremont, Ohio. Currently, Nick has a painting in the Second Annual Paul and Norma Tikkanen Painting Prize competition. This group exhibition will open October 4, 2023. The award ceremony is October 7 (6- 9pm). Additionally, Nick will participate in Cuyahoga College of Art’s (Tri-C) emerging regional group show in late October of this year. www.nicholasleeart.com.