Akron Art Museum: The Rubber City’s Crown Jewel
By Breanne George
A city landmark and community cultural center, the Akron Art Museum is a beacon shining bright in the heart of downtown Akron. The asymmetrical steel-and-glass museum has redefined the city with its modern, award-winning architecture, creating an inviting and inspiring space for members of the community to come together to appreciate art and participate in an array of cultural events. For brides looking for a unique and memorable setting for their special day, the Akron Art Museum is the perfect venue for one-of-a-kind weddings, from intimate ceremonies to elaborate receptions.
“The Akron Art Museum stands out from other venues in the region with its bold, distinctive presence,” says Sheri Stallsmith of the Akron Art Museum. “Since our event space has neutral colors of silver and gray, it’s adaptable and works with a bride’s wedding colors. You can dress up the space with lighting, flowers and other décor, or you can play it down and let the beauty of the space speak for itself.”
‘A Magical Setting’
Designed as an indoor piazza, the Beatrice Knapp McDowell Grand Lobby has more than 7,000 square feet of space for receptions of up to 300 guests. The focal point of the lobby is the stunning 57-foot-tall Crystal steel and glass structure, which serves as the museum’s grand entrance. Depending on viewing angle and time of day, the Crystal structure, as well as the metal skin of the Gallery Box, a flexible exhibition space, changes color and transparency. The Roof Cloud, which resembles wings on the top of the building, is illuminated with a blue-violet light at night.
“What I love most about this space is how it transforms from day to night,” Stallsmith says. “It’s daytime when guests arrive, and throughout the course of the reception, the venue gradually becomes a different space. You can see beautiful sunsets and the lights of the city, and reception lighting reflects from the windows creating a magical setting.”
A Special Place to Say ‘I Do”
The lobby features a dramatic grand staircase, which is a popular location for smaller ceremonies, wedding photography and a couple’s grand entrance as husband and wife to their reception. Ceremonies are held on the staircase, while guests are seated on the floor below. To ensure every guest has a great view, a capacity of no more than 100 people is recommended for this setup. For larger ceremonies, many couples utilize the lobby space near the colorful large-scale mural by American contemporary artist Sol LeWitt.
“The bright colors of the mural, which contrast with the neutral tones of the lobby, create a magnificent backdrop for wedding ceremonies,” says Dominic Caruso, Design, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the Akron Art Museum. “Every time I see wedding photos, I’m continually amazed at the different iterations that are possible. No two weddings are alike here.”
From Dinner to Dancing…
Receptions are completely customizable at the Akron Art Museum, whether a bride prefers a seated dinner or a cocktail/standing reception. The Northern Ohio Golf Charities Terrace, which is easily accessible from the lobby, is perfect for cocktail hour or dancing the night away on warm summer evenings.
Rental of the venue includes a customized floor plan; the use of museum tables (round, high-top or rectangular); museum security, maintenance and event staff; an onsite events coordinator for the day of the event; use of the museum for wedding photos before and after the ceremony; and a comprehensive bar package featuring a wide selection of wine, beer and liquor.
“What sets the Akron Art Museum apart from other venues is the level of service we provide at every wedding,” Stallsmith explains. “We have an amazing crew that assists with maintenance, security and setting up and tearing down the event. A bride doesn’t have to worry about anything on her special day. Our professional and experienced staff ensures she has a stress-free experience.”
To incorporate the art theme into the reception, many couples choose to have the galleries open during cocktail hour for guests to enjoy before the reception starts. In addition, the bride and groom have the opportunity to take their wedding photos in the galleries.
“The museum’s amazing art collection creates a unique backdrop for wedding photography,” Stallsmith says. “Many couples gravitate toward their own personal taste in art, whether contemporary, modern or traditional, while others seek out their wedding colors in the artwork.”
The museum will soon begin construction on an outdoor sculpture garden, which will offer a large space for wedding ceremonies and tented receptions. Sweeping out from the side of the museum, the garden will be a peaceful sanctuary in downtown.
“The goal is to create a beautiful community space with grassy areas, groves of trees, flowers, park benches and sculptures,” Caruso says. “Gentle ramps will offer easy access to the garden as well as additional space for seating at events.” The garden is expected to open in late 2016.
Couples who get married at the Akron Art Museum can stay connected to the venue, even years after their wedding day. Whether exhibit openings, cultural events or community programs, the museum offers many activities to enjoy year-round.
“We had a couple get married here two years ago and now they have a little girl who they bring to the museum’s baby art program,” Stallsmith says. “Couples can bring their children, and eventually their grandchildren, to the museum and say, ‘this is where we got married.’ The Akron Art Museum is a special place that can be a part of your life, not only on your wedding day, but forever.”
For more information, contact Justin Campbell at the Akron Art Museum at 330-376-9186 x212.