Akron To Transform Shipping Containers Into A Village Of Tiny Houses For Traveling Artists

By Doug Livingston
The Akron Beacon Journal

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) At the “Akron Soul Train”, Artists will produce art while living and working in 40-by-10 steel containers more commonly seen on railways and cargo ships. One-month stipends are being offered for three artists to move in this summer.

The Akron Beacon Journal

The first of many transient artists could move into shipping containers in a wooded lot near downtown Akron this summer.

Akron Soul Train, a proposed village of tiny homes for traveling artists, is moving full-steam ahead. The project secured $150,000 from the Knight Arts Challenge last year.

“We’re being watched nationally because we were given the largest Knight grant in the nation,” said Amy Mothersbaugh of Studio 2091, who co-founded Akron Soul Train with Nancy Brennan of Kasota Artist Management.

The plan is to clear brush from a lot on the northwest corner of Howard and Beach streets.

Artists will produce art in the public space while living and working in 40-by-10 steel containers more commonly seen on railways and cargo ships. One-month stipends are being offered for three artists to move in this summer.

“Everyone is asking, ‘Can they do it?'” said Mothersbaugh, who has learned so far not to think too small.

With the help of Akron Soul Train development director Danielle Thompson, the group has raised $120,000 in private funding to match the Knight grant.

On Monday, Akron City Council approved a rezoning request to allow four phases of construction, ultimately resulting in what could be a canopy-covered village of brightly colored containers with sculptors, painters and visual artists mingling with pedestrians.

The artists’ playground will anchor the past in a space between the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, while building a bridge for future generations.

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