South Side News & Notes
Akron Art Museum director to step down
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Art Museum’s longtime director, Mitchell Kahan, announced Aug. 13 he plans to leave the museum in January.
Museum officials also announced that Janice Driesbach will join the staff on Aug. 20 as the museum’s new chief curator following a yearlong national search.
Kahan, who said he will leave Jan. 2, will assume the title director emeritus. He served as director for 26 years, which museum officials said is one of the longest tenures of any art museum leader in the country.
“Mitchell has brought an impressive record of achievement to the museum’s 90-year history,” said Fred Bidwell, president of the museum’s Board of Trustees. “The board is immensely grateful for his dedication, foresight, creativity and passion. His commitment to the cultural arts and the community will have a lasting impact in Akron and Northeast Ohio.”
Under Kahan’s direction, officials said the museum experienced significant institutional growth. The museum went from a 25,000-square-foot facility to 83,000 square feet, from an endowment of just more than $2 million to more than $20 million following three campaigns, from a collection of 2,000 objects to more than 5,000, and from a staff of 22 to more than 50. The museum also hosted a capital campaign that raised $44.8 million, surpassing the goal of $42 million.
Also, Kahan raised almost $5 million in permanent endowment funds for purchases of art. Officials said when he arrived at the museum in 1986, there were no funds for art purchases.
“The biggest and perhaps most rewarding challenge of my career was working with one of the world’s leading architects, Wolf Prix, on the museum expansion,” Kahan said.
The John S. and James L. Knight Building, at 1 S. High St., received worldwide acclaim when it opened in 2007.
Kahan said he will continue living in the Akron area with his partner, Christopher Hixson, and will focus on foundation management, arts journalism and making art.
Museum officials said Driesbach, of Lakewood, has worked as both a curator and museum director. After earning an undergraduate degree in art history and political science from Allegheny College, she received her master’s degree in art history from the University of Iowa, where she studied with art historian Frank Seiberling (son of Goodyear founder F.A. Seiberling).
“It is an honor to join the Akron Art Museum as chief curator,” Driesbach said. “I am eager to work with the museum’s strong and dynamic collection and to undertake new collaborations. I look forward to working with the talented and dedicated staff and volunteers, engaging with art and artists, and becoming part of the Akron community.”
“Jan’s experience in museum management will be an immense asset as we move forward in our executive search for Mitchell’s successor,” Bidwell said.
A national search committee will be comprised of past museum presidents. Bidwell said the board anticipates significant interest in the position due to the museum’s national reputation.
Fifth Third Bank partners with community organizations to offer financial information
CANTON — Fifth Third Bank announced it has partnered with community organizations to bring the Financial Empowerment Mobile, or eBus, to 15 locations in Northeast Ohio through Aug. 25.
The eBus is a 40-foot bus that doubles as a mobile classroom to provide credit counseling, financial literacy, homeownership assistance, foreclosure prevention and access to banking products and services directly to where people live and work, according to bank officials.
On the eBus, visitors will be able to:
• request a free credit report and review it onboard;
• receive a free consultation on loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention;
• receive a free personalized evaluation of finances;
• speak with nonprofit organizations that provide housing, money management and business advice;
• browse free multilingual, self-directed programs on homeownership and credit counseling;
• obtain money management and budgeting information;
• get access to a wide range of banking products and services; and
• access resources provided by community partners.
Local stops of the eBus in the Canton area include: tomorrow, Aug. 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the North Canton Main Street Festival along Main Street; Aug. 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Trillium Family Solutions, 624 Market Ave. N.; and Aug. 23 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Total Living Center, 2221 Ninth St. S.W.
The eBus also will stop in Barberton Aug. 24 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army, 560 Wooster Road W.
According to bank officials, this is the eighth year the eBus has visited Northeastern Ohio.
According to bank officials, among Fifth Third Bank’s many partners in this effort are: Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Goodwill Industries of Akron, The Job Center of Akron, National Association of Real Estate Brokers and Oriana House Inc.
Summit County Public Health reports increase of West Nile Virus
SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit County Public Health (SCPH) officials announced they have found an increase in the number of mosquitoes infected with West Nile Virus (WNV) as compared to previous years.
The percentage of WNV-positive mosquitoes is the highest since the virus first appeared in the county in 2002, according to SCPH officials.
SCPH officials state that while no human cases of WNV have been reported in the county, area residents should protect themselves from mosquito bites. People can reduce the risk of contracting WNV by:
• staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active — at dawn and at dusk;
• wearing light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants when going outdoors;
• using mosquito repellant. Products containing DEET should not be used on infants younger than 1, and products for older children should not contain more than 10 percent, according to SCPH officials. Adults can apply DEET at 30 percent. Products containing picaridin, IR 3535 and oil of lemon eucalyptus also are effective. The latter should not be used on children younger than 3 years old, and users should follow label directions, according to SCPH officials; and
• decreasing the presence of mosquitoes by eliminating breeding sites, which include standing water in containers, gutters and children’s toys, as well as old tires. Also, SCPH officials recommend changing the water in birdbaths at least once a week.
SCPH officials stated they are continuing efforts to reduce the mosquito population by treating areas containing mosquito larvae and spraying for adult mosquitoes during the evening. They also are actively surveying areas to detect the presence of WNV and locate high-risk areas for treatment.
For more information, visit www.scphoh.org or call SCPH Mosquito Control at 330-926-5668.
For the SCPH spray schedule, call 330-926-5667.
Kathleen Folkerth and Maria Lindsay contributed to these reports.
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