Giant tattoo appearing soon in Highland Square


Students in a prior Arts Lift group learn welding techniques with artist John Comunale.

A giant "tattoo" will soon begin to appear on an exterior wall of Angel Falls Coffee Company in Akron's Highland Square.

Actually a painted mural, it's the eighth and latest public art project created by Arts LIFT, an award-winning summer arts apprenticeship program offered by the Myers School of Art at The University of Akron.

Guided by tattoo artist and painter Jesse Strother, co-owner of Good Life Tattoos in Highland Square, 14 high school students from the Akron Public Schools will collaborate with UA art education students and faculty to design, draw and paint the mural.

The project runs June 10-21, with work happening at UA's Folk Hall and on-site at Angel Falls. The Highland Square Neighborhood Association and January Paints and Wallpaper are also involved as project supporters.

Elisa Gargarella

The Arts LIFT artists will unveil the completed mural during a free public celebration June 28, 6 to 8 p.m., at Angel Falls Coffee Company, 792 W Market St. The event will feature local eclectic Bluegrass band Fast Molasses and refreshments.

The University of Akron's Arts LIFT

Founded in 2002 with support from the Lola K. Isroff Arts Assistance Endowed Fund, The University of Akron's Arts LIFT program enables students to work with professional artists while participating in collaborations that enhance and engage the community, assist underserved populations, and address environmental and ecological issues.

Elisa Gargarella, a UA associate professor of art education, originated and directs Arts LIFT.

"Arts LIFT is all about synergy among urban students, teachers, artists and community organizations," explains Gargarella. "Through public art, Arts LIFT inspires social engagement, builds awareness of cultural resources and helps to invigorate the local economy."

Past UA Arts LIFT community partners include the Akron Zoological Park, Crown Point Ecology Center, Corbin Conservatory at Stan Hywett Hall and Gardens, Cuyahoga Valley Environmental Education Center, Keep Akron Beautiful, Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association and the Feed My Sheep community garden project at First Congregational Church.

In 2005, Gargarella and Arts LIFT received the Collaborative Project Award from the Akron Area Arts Alliance. In 2009, they received the Charley Harper Award for contributions to Ohio's eco arts from the Environmental Education Council of Ohio.

For more information about Arts LIFT, call the UA Myers School of Art at 330-972-8325.

See also: Akron Students To Help Create Giant "Tattoo"

Media contact: Elisa Gargarella (director of UA Arts LIFT), 330-972-8325 or, or Cyndee Snider, 330-972-5196 or