A new creative placemaking project promotes playful, spontaneous interactions among people in four cities, to break down barriers and strengthen a sense of community. The Creative Interventions Tour is led by artist Hunter Franks and supported by the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation. Starting in Macon, Ga. and ending in Akron, Franks will undertake three-week trips to four communities where Knight invests including: Akron, Ohio; Detroit; Macon; and Philadelphia. Hunter Franks arrived in Akron on July 29 and will be here working with community organizations until Aug. 18.

"I am extremely excited to work with residents of these four unique communities to inspire and enable spontaneous interactions that will lead to more robust and sustained engagement," said Franks. "People really do want to connect; sometimes they just don't know how. The Creative Interventions Tour will not only help people talk to each other, but also help them build meaningful and lasting relationships with each other and their community. The project will utilize lightweight urban interventions as a powerful introduction to helping people envision and create the city that they want to live in."

Franks will lead workshops that bring people from diverse social and economic backgrounds together. He will craft the interactive activities with input from local organizations, taking into account specific community needs and document his experiences in each of the cities to share lessons and assess how small-scale, temporary interventions can create wide community impact. A creative intervention uses art in public space to foster spontaneous interactions between strangers with the goal of inspiring people to think differently about where they live and the relationships they have in their community. We will create a community of people who come together once a month to carry out a participatory public art intervention and get strangers talking to each other.

The first activity will be held during the Artwalk on Aug. 2nd from 5 to 10 p.m. and is entitled, FIRST LOVE. Guests can visit Summit Artspace galleries during Downtown Akron Artwalk to remember and share the story of their first love and read the stories of others. This installation will continue until Aug. 16, and stories will be collected in the galleries or can be posted to #FIRSTLOVE. Gallery hours are Thursdays from noon to 9 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.

Other Activities include:

Neighborhood Postcard Project

Aug. 5, Various locations, National Night Out Against Crime

The Neighborhood Postcard Project collects positive stories of underrepresented neighborhoods and shares them randomly with people in other neighborhoods to build connections. The project has been adopted in cities all over the world, including San Francisco, New York, and Antofagasta, Chile.

Akron League of Creative Interventionists Launch event

Aug. 7, Location to be announced

Join us to launch the Akron chapter of the League of Creative Interventionists, a global community of people who create shared spaces and experiences to break down social barriers. Founded by Franks, the League of Creative Interventionists is a worldwide network of people who work to build community through creativity. Franks will engage leaders and other residents to join the chapter and stage ongoing participatory interventions into the future.

Summit Artspace is a project of the Akron Area Arts Alliance in partnership with Summit County government. It is in the historic Akron Beacon building at 140 E. Market St., one block east of the Akron Art Museum. The gallery receives support from the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, John A. McAlonan Fund, Ohio Arts Council, the Corbin Foundation, GAR Foundation and the SUMMA Foundation.