Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Year in Review: 2015, Part 2.

The Year in Review: 2015, Part 2.
by Brit Charek

Just like we've done in years past (2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively), Joanna and I are reflecting on the past year's Akron Empire adventures before we embark on new ones.

Joanna has already posted her Year in Review, as well as her most popular guest posts, and now I'm excited to share with you mine!

1. Knight Arts Challenge in Akron (from September)

The Knight Arts Challenge is a $3 million, three-year initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to engage and enrich the community through the arts. I wrote about this back in September when the challenge was seeking applications to encourage Akronites with big ideas for the arts to send in a proposal, and since then 58 finalists have been announced, including a project that I proposed on behalf of Crafty Mart!

2. The Bit Factory (from August)

I had such a blast touring this startup incubator in the heart of downtown. The space's design (by Dominic Falcione of Rubber City Fab) perfectly matches its contemporary and collaborative work philosophy. I've been lucky enough to return to the space for some really great after-hours events such as Pechakucha Akron and look forward to visiting it often in the future, as well as seeing what great ideas come out of the startups that are based there.

Handmade goods, live music AND food trucks?! I'm in! Not to mention the Gardener of Bath's Art Fest seems to always be blessed with the most perfect sunny-but-breezy Ohio fall weather. I enjoyed working with the fest's organizer, Heather, to write this piece, but enjoyed attending the event even more! I was delighted to see some of my favorite local artists there as well as discover some new favorites-- I even saw my friend Chicaloo Kate, who came all the way from Michigan to vend! I can't wait until their next fest.

This studio offers the best workout in the whole Empire! Although I have to admit that I've gotten out of the habit of attending-- I went and got pregnant, which has seriously affected my stamina let me tell you-- I am counting on them to help me find my pre-baby body again this summer.

5. NEXTOhio (from March)

This was another event that I had I had the pleasure of writing about beforehand and then I was able to see the organizer's vision come to fruition. Although Annal Vyas claimed that "the event organized itself," I'm pretty sure it took quite a bit of effort to find half a dozen dynamic speakers to present pertinent information to Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs, organize a startup Pitch competition (not to mention the funding that goes along with it), and get hundreds of people to attend. I might have just been there for the free pizza last time, but if there's a NEXTOhio Conference in 2016, I'll make sure I mark my calendar.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned next week when I share my Top 5 Most Popular Guest Blog Posts from 2015. Thanks for reading!


  1. Thank you for this informative post. I am fairly new to Akron, having lived here for only two years, and your blog is helping me get to know more about it.

    Connie Biltz
    author of Rainbow Chaser

  2. Evidently, Park Ford wants to suck on the government tit.

    It was recently reported that Ohio will receive a $190,000,000 grant from the Federal government to tear down condemned homes beyond repair and crack houses in poor communities across the state which desperately need a hand up to help them recover from years of red ink, neglect and deindustrialization. This Federal grant will help those poor Ohio communities by reducing the health and safety risks associated with condemned homes, improving the appearance of those communities riddled with blight and making long abandoned properties more appealing to potential buyers. In other words, that money will help to clean up our state.

    In response to this report, Park Ford's commercially sponsored talk radio goon publicly called for that money to be given instead to privately owned companies like Park Ford so they can expand their privately owned business.

    Are you kidding me? That's what profits are for. That's what RIDICULOUS auto service charges are for. The owners of Park Ford are filthy rich already. If they want to expand their business and get even richer, they should do so by spending their OWN MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PROFITS. NOT BY SUCKING ON THE GOVERNMENT TIT.

    Park Ford's talk radio goon is calling for the worst kind of socialism. The kind which helps the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Meanwhile, the poor communities of Ohio riddled with blight and crime will get NOTHING. That is EXACTLY what Park Ford's HIRED TALK RADIO GOON is calling for.

    The same talk radio goon has also been calling for the Federal government to give handouts to the oil industry because gas prices and big oil profits are FINALLY down. What a sold-out pig.

    The hell with Park Ford, the hell with ridiculous auto service charges, the hell with big oil greed, the hell with corporate welfare and THE HELL WITH TALK RADIO GOONS.

    By the way, did I mention that the richest 1% of Americans already own 42% of America's total wealth? Yes, really.

    The rich don't need anymore government handouts.