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Artists finish mural honoring B.F. Goodrich history

10/18/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of the city of Akron
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Drivers coming into Downtown Akron on South Broadway Street will be getting an eyeful of history every day as they pass METRO’s Transit Center, located at 631 S. Broadway St.

Artists recently completed the installation of a 95-foot-long mural on Rosa Parks Drive honoring the men and women who worked at the B.F. Goodrich Co. (BFG) during the last century.

The untitled work, shown at right, consisting of 19 pieces of fabric adhered to the wall of South High Street, was created by 11 arts apprentices under the direction of Bernadette Glorioso, a lead artist with Akron’s 2012 Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience, which brought together 76 high school students for an intensive five-week program in the visual and performing arts, according to city of Akron officials.

Founded by Mayor Don Plusquellic in 2003, the program provides work for professional artists and education for students through public artwork, according to city of Akron officials.

Plusquellic suggested the subject of the mural, to celebrate the men and women who built Akron in the 20th century, according to city of Akron officials.

The mural shows a large zipper that opens to reveal some of BFG’s history. (The Akron company is credited with first naming the “hookless fastener” in 1920 and installing it on galoshes and flying suits for the U.S. Navy, and the name later became the nickname for The University of Akron sports teams, according to city of Akron officials.)

The mural also pictures the most celebrated inventor of synthetic rubber, BFG scientist Dr. Waldo Semon. Other images include a space suit — the first man in space wore one assembled at the South Main Street factory — as well as men who built tires and women who worked in the factory during World War II.

Student apprentices who assisted in developing the mural included: Buchtel senior Martelle Graham and Firestone seniors Meile Moore, Tiffany Roberts and Megan Zanin.

Applications for the Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience are delivered to Akron area schools and posted to the city’s Summer Arts Experience website annually in March. Akron students between the ages of 14 and 17 are eligible to apply. For more details, visit www.akronohio.gov/lock3live/sae.htm.

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