Founded in 1934, the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center is a self-supporting nonprofit that offers classes led by experienced artists to pupils of any skill level. Aspiring sculptors can jump hands first into the beginning pottery class, which includes a kiln-firing fee and a half block of clay ready to be deftly shaped into a bowl, mug, or more shapely block of clay. A sketchbook and drawing pencils are bestowed upon all who enter either drawing class, where former tracers will learn the fundamentals of elevating a flat image to realistic three-dimensionality. Classes take place at the center itself, which also contains a first-floor gallery where student and instructor work is proudly displayed–increasing your changes of being romanced by every sexy art thief in the greater Akron area. Check out a complete description of classes before registering.
The Akron Art Museum's collection showcases art after 1850, allowing visitors to breathe freely and without fear of catching the plague from Medieval shrouds. Works by Ohio-affiliated artists such as Frank Duveneck are joined by renowned pieces by Andy Warhol, El Anatsui, and Doris Salcedo, as well as traveling exhibitions. The upcoming exhibit Who Shot Rock & Roll: A Photographic History 1955 to the Present features 175 pictures by photographers including Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, and Annie Leibovitz.
The Perkins Stone Mansion was originally commissioned by Colonel Simon Perkins, the son of Akron's founder. Completed in 1837, but updated most recently in 2006, the sandstone building remains one of Ohio's most noteworthy pieces of Greek Revival architecture. It features numerous architectural highlights, including a two-story portico, elliptical frieze windows, and intricate interior woodwork. The historical site serves as a testament to Perkins' family history and the history of Akron and Summit County.
By exploring the Jewish people’s emigration to and experience in America, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage encourages reflection and tolerance in visitors. Before entering the museum, open since 2005, guests can marvel at its façade, constructed from more than 126 tons of hand-chiseled golden jerusalem limestone. A timeline of Jewish, American, and world history unfolds in the lobby, and an orientation film and a Finding Nemo remake exclusively starring gefilte fish screen in the 60-seat briefing theater. Touring collections grace the special-exhibition gallery, and the 7,000-square-foot permanent-exhibition space shares the stories of America’s Jewish immigrants—from their arrival to the aftermath of the Second World War—with interactive stations, films, and oral histories. Elsewhere, ritual objects, sacred scrolls, and fine art from The Temple Museum of Religious Art grace the walls of the light-filled Temple-Tifereth Israel Gallery.
MAPS Air Museum’s historical exhibits and collection of military aircraft educate visitors on military aviation history and Northwest Ohio’s role in it. Restored aircraft such as the F-86 SabreDog and B-26 Marauder (one of only seven on display in the world) give guests an up-close look at actual mechanical birds, rather than having to imagine real birds being piloted by humans. Permanent displays on Pearl Harbor, the Tuskegee Airmen, and Rosie the Riveter delve into iconic moments of World War II, and artifacts and memorabilia from veteran Reamer E. “Buzz” Sewell trace one soldier’s journey. For more information on tours or special events, visit the museum online.
To most, the garden featured in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is purely make-believe. But not to people who've smelled the chocolate-scented varietals blooming amongst hidden trails and a climbable tree house at the Hershey Children's Garden. This sweet-smelling garden is just one of the Cleveland Botanical Garden's 20 gardens, which encompass everything from 3,500 herb plants to lotuses and water lilies floating atop a 74-foot-long reflecting pool. Vibrant hydrangeas complement sculptures in an art garden, while the Guren Art Gallery's ever-changing exhibits spotlight new work inspired by botany and the power of pruning shears.
Shaded boardwalks and winding trails connect all these visual splendors, eventually leading visitors to the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse. Divided into a Madagascar desert and a Costa Rican rainforest, the glasshouse showcases 50 types of butterflies, birds, reptiles, and amphibians, plus 350 exotic plants, including a colossal strangler fig. Experts shine a light on such specimens during botanical lectures, which are one of many educational programs the garden offers, ranging from gardening symposia to kids science classes.