All Aboard the Akron Soul Train

Shipping containers and small houses are going to be used to create a residential artists’ village in Akron that will be known as The Akron Soul Train.

The complex will also have tiny houses and be built near the Northside Arts District.

Funding for the project came from a $150,000 Knight Foundation Arts Challenge grant that was matched by a $50,000 Burton D. Morgan Foundation grant.

Money also is being raised through train-themed memberships, allowing members to get special deals at the village and on Akron Soul Train-branded collectibles.

“A year ago we were just announcing that we got a grant,” said Akron artist Amy Mothersbaugh, who is leading the project with Nancy Brennan. “It’s not because we’re really good at what we do. It’s because everyone seems to be excited about the vision and the possibility of this being in Akron. People feel like it’s theirs too, and that’s so cool.”

The plan is to offer artistic fellowships that help develop, promote and teach visitors about the arts through educational outreach, workshops, classes and exhibitions.

The group hopes to be able to select three artists to live at the village under varying-length fellowships.

For the time being, the fellowships can only be offered in warmer months until heat can be installed.

Akron Soul Train is working to develop collaborative programming with the city, Summit Metro Parks and the CVSR, whose Akron station is near the site of the village.

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