Monthly Archives: August 2016

Massillon Museum to Offer Musical Art Class 

Children entering grades one through five are invited to register for Musical Art class with the artist BZTAT. Participants will explore historic artworks that have been influenced by sounds and music. They will draw, paint, and create collages inspired by music. The class celebrates the Massillon Museum’s exhibition, Echo: The Early History of Sound Recording.
The three-session class will meet on Tuesdays, August 23 and 30 and September 6, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
The class fee—$45 ($40 per Museum member)—includes materials. Massillon Museum classes are open to the public. Pre-registration is required for this class by August 18. Students may register by phone, by mail, or in person using cash (exact change), checks, or credit cards. The Massillon Museum, as a Blue Star Museum, offers a 10% discount on classes for active military personnel and their families. For a detailed class schedule, call the Massillon Museum at 330-833-4061 or visit
The Massillon Museum is located at 121 Lincoln Way East (Ohio Route 172) in downtown Massillon.  Free parking is available on adjacent streets and in the nearby city lots and parking deck.

Giant Mural Celebrates “The Reintegration of Pro Football”

On Friday August 5 at 4:30 pm, on the side of the five-story Bliss Parking Deck (238 Cleveland Avenue NW) in downtown Canton, ArtsinStark unveiled a 30 by 90 foot mural commemorating The Reintegration of Pro Football in 1946.

More than 100 artists from 33 states applied to create the painting upon which the giant mural is based. The selection committee chose as the winner Paul Collins from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. Collins designed the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize Medal, won the People’s Choice Award in Paris, and has been voted one of the top 20 painters in America. “There had been a handful of African American players in pro football between 1904 and 1933,” says Robb Hankins, ArtsinStark CEO, “but from 1934 to 1946 — pro football had its own color barrier.” The mural memorializes how football history was changed forever in 1946, when the Los Angeles Rams signed Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, and the Cleveland Browns signed Marion Motley and Bill Willis. “The ELEVEN is a $2.2 million public art series of ArtsinStark and The Pro Football Hall of Fame,” explains ArtsinStark board chair Max Deuble. “We are celebrating the greatest moments in professional football history, and these eleven monumental sculptures, murals, and multi-media art will all be within walking distance of one another in downtown Canton.”

In 1946, these four African American football players brought about the permanent reintegration of pro football, a full year before Jackie Robinson did it for baseball. A documentary called “The Forgotten Four” released last year tells the story of their lives — . The Pro Football Hall of Fame selected the eleven greatest moments. ArtsinStark is raising the $2.2 million to install them and commissioning all the artists. The “Reintegration of Pro Football” moment of The ELEVEN is being sponsored by 1) The George H. Deuble Foundation, 2) The Hoover Foundation, 3) Stark Community Foundation, and 4) Timken Foundation of Canton. In-kind Supporters are Hilscher-Clarke Electric and KebCo Precision Fabricators. The goal is to have all eleven of the moments done by 2020 for the 100th anniversary of the NFL.

In August, 2014 artist Michael Clapper unveiled the first moment, his 25-foot steel and glass sculpture The Birth of the NFL. In August, 2015 artist Gail Folwell delivered to Canton the second moment, a five figure bronze sculpture memorializing The NFL Draft. This June artist David Griggs installed his steel and granite sculpture commemorating The AFL/NFL Merger.

The Reintegration of Pro Football is the first mural.

Paul Collins created the 30-painting series “Other Voices- A Native American Tableau” which opened in New York and then went to Paris. Collins was commissioned by the Amway Japan Corporation to create paintings on the customs of the Japanese people. His “Voices of Israel” exhibit of 25 paintings on the history of Israel has toured all over the U.S. He was one of 23 painters commissioned by Anheuser Busch to create works celebrating African leaders, which led to him being featured in a TV commercial commemorating the original airing of “Roots.” He is the first African-American artist to paint the portrait of a sitting President of the United States.

BACKGROUND: ArtsinStark — Kids, Jobs, Communities. We are a 46 year old private, non-profit organization that gives out grants, manages the Cultural Center, runs the Annual Arts Campaign, and much more (Canton Arts District, First Fridays, SmArts Program in the schools, 20/20 Vision, and the ELEVEN). More at Our annual budget is $3 million. What we don’t earn, we raise each spring through the Annual Arts Campaign. In May 2016 the Campaign raised $1.7 million— to become the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make goal for 11 years in a row. (Over the last decade we have increased private sector giving to the arts by 85%.)

Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Eleven Greatest Moments
(arranged chronologically)

1. Birth of the NFL, 1920. On September 17, representatives of the league’s ten charter teams, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, meet in the showroom of Canton Bulldogs owner Ralph Hay’s automobile dealership, and create the NFL. (On August 1, 2014 Michael Clapper unveiled his 25-foot steel and glass sculpture “Birth of the NFL, 1920.”)

2. Red Grange turns Pro, 1925. The Chicago Bears sign college superstar halfback Harold “Red” Grange and he becomes pro football’s first big gate attraction.

3. The NFL Draft, 1936. NFL Commissioner Bert Bell’s idea of teams selecting college players by inverse order, based on how they finished the prior season, changes the future of clubs overnight. (On August 7, 2015 Gail Folwell unveiled her five bronze figure sculpture “The NFL Draft, 1936.”)

4. Reintegration of Pro Football, 1946. The Los Angeles Rams sign Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, the Cleveland Browns sign Marion Motely and Bill Willis, and the doors of professional football open for African Americans. (Paul Collins was commissioned to create a painting for “The Reintegration of Pro Football, 1946.” Both the painting and the mural are being unveiled on August 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm.)

5. 1958 NFL Championship Game. In what has been called the “Greatest Game Ever Played,” Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts come back to beat the New York Giants in first “sudden death” NFL championship

6. Formation of the American Football League, 1959. The AFL is formed and for ten seasons expands into new markets, creates opportunities, and brings tremendous innovation to the game.

7. Pete Rozelle named NFL Commissioner, 1960. Rozelle begins his 29-year career during which he makes pro football America’s most popular sport, gets the first league-wide TV contract, negotiates the NFL/AFL merger, and transforms the Super Bowl into an international extravaganza.

8. AFL/NFL Merger, 1966. The costly battle between two rival leagues for players and markets ends with the June 8, 1966 announcement of the AFL-NFL merger. (David Griggs built “The AFL/NFL Merger, 1966” sculpture, and it was unveiled on June 23, 2016 at 12 noon in front the YMCA downtown.)

9. The Ice Bowl, 1967. In frigid conditions at Lambeau Field on New Year’s Eve, Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21 – 17, cementing the legacy of coach Vince Lombardi and the 1960 Green Bay Packers.

10. Super Bowl III, 1968. Joe Namath, star quarterback of the AFL’s New York Jets, predicts victory over the NFL’s heavily favored Baltimore Colts and — in one of the greatest upsets in sports history — does exactly that 16 – 7.

11. Monday Night Football, 1970. The phenomenal success of NFL games telecast during prime time on a weeknight begins on September 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns face the New York Jets in ABC-TV’s Monday Night Football debut.

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As one door closes …

By Judi Christy

Cleveland Avenue, in the block between 3rd and 4th streets, has seen its share of tenants; popcorn vendors and computer whizzes, people who grill cheese, others who steam suits. Unofficially designated as the epicenter of the Canton Arts District, there has also been a constant – an address that despite the comings and goings of renters and regulations, has stood for what it was always meant to be – a place for the arts.

324 Cleveland Avenue NW.
Avenue Arts Marketplace and Theatre, operated by ArtsinStark, will transition to the space, once so lovingly cared for through the blood, sweat and tears of Brennis Booth and Todd Walburn of Second April Galerie. No doubt, the guys will be missed. They are beloved. But, as they move to new endeavors, their former stomping ground of 8 years will not fall to ruin. It will thrive, no doubt a little differently, as the task is passed to the county arts council, effective August 5, 2016.

The 2-story, 10,000 foot space will be home to approximately 20 resident artists, many who have been a staple of the building, and joined by 15-20 commissioned vendors, who may not have the inventory or nest egg to support a monthly rental agreement. These details are still on the ironing board, as Tricia Ostertag, VP of Marketing and Events for ArtsinStark, will be running the operation.

Tricia will be managing the art space, perfecting the juggling act that she has done as the point person for the monthly First Fridays, walk-the-block inspirations and anything else that Robb Hankins (the never sleeping but always dreaming) president and CEO of ArtsinStark puts on her plate and also handling the black box (Kathleen Howland Theatre), with plans to offer theatre classes and an expanded performance schedule.

As the former Marketing Director for ArtsinStark, I tire just thinking about it. So, younger minds and stronger bones are needed to build this next phase of what I’ll loving call, the arts empire.

And, why not?

Like Walburn and Booth, ArtsinStark has paid their dues. They’ve also shed their fair share of blood, sweat and tears to keep the Canton Arts District in the forefront of downtown development, economic interests and certainly the local and regional media. Who better to jump in and save the day when Booth and Walburn came to them with plans to move to new ventures in Cleveland? Through an aggressive granting process, ArtsinStark has kept many a boat floating, providing not only the necessary dollars but also the lessons of good business practices including the keeping of regular hours, fresh merchandise, outstanding customer service and safe and free parking.

The Ostertags are arts people. Tricia, is a heartbeat away from earning her PhD in arts management (write that dissertation in your down-time, girlfriend!) and her husband Stephen came out of the womb as a thespian. They have operated their own theatre company, Silver Star, for years and worked in various roles at the Players Guild, Porthouse Theatre, Kent State University, Walsh University, and of course, ArtsinStark. They have learned their lessons.

And, there’s the forum to grow – with a little help from their friends, and the supportive embrace of ArtsinStark.

Arts Avenue Marketplace and Theatre will officially open on First Friday, August 5. There will be an expanded food service offering from Hazel’s Artisan Bakery plus a few more surprises to keep you guessing and coming back again and again. Future plans include an on-line inventory, internet sales and a book club. But, that’s after Tricia has time to catch her breath. Until then, they will open their doors five days a week for well wishes, new friends and lots and lots of customers. Stop in, say “Hello,” and for goodness sake, bring your debit card.

Avenue Arts Marketplace and Theatre
324 Cleveland Avenue NW
Canton, Ohio 44702

Tuesday through Friday from 12- 8 p.m.
Saturday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Canton Palace Theatre to Host The Courthouse Players Production of The Andersonville Trial

The Courthouse Players are proud to present The Andersonville Trial on Saturday, August 13, 2016 at 7pm at the Canton Palace Theatre.  The play is a reprised Law Week presentation, of a historical, thought-provoking courtroom drama set in 1865 in Washington D.C., where Swiss immigrant and Confederate Captain Henry Wirz is on trial before a military court.

Tickets for the show can be purchased through the Canton Palace Theatre’s website or through the box office in person or over the phone Monday – Friday 10am to 4pm. General admission tickets are $10 each and VIP tickets are $25. VIP tickets include: premium seating and a post-performance meet and greet with the cast.

The cast includes:

  • Judge Richard Reinbold as General Lew Wallace: Former Assistant Canton and Stark County Prosecutor; Canton Municipal and Stark County Common Pleas Judge; Lieutenant, U.S. Army.
  • Judge Bob Lavery as Major D. Hosmer: Alliance Municipal Judge; former Alliance Law Director; former President of Alliance City Council and general practitioner.
  • Tom Borcoman as Otis Baker: Retired prominent defense attorney; former Stark County Public Defender and Special Prosecutor.
  • Jeff Jakmides as Lt. Col. N.P. Chipman: Criminal defense and family court lawyer who was Tom Borcoman’s Chief Investigator in the Public Defender’s Office; former Assistant County Prosecutor for  the late Judge James Unger.
  • Judge Eddie Elum as Dr. C.M. Ford: Massillon Municipal Judge; former Assistant Attorney General and Lieutenant, U.S. Navy.
  • Joe Martuccio as Captain Henry Wirz: Canton Law Director, former Stark County Public Defender.
  • Don Marshall as Lt. Col. Chandler: Certified Specialist for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation; Private Practice in Louisville; former Mayor of Louisville.
  • Lem Green as Dr. Jon C. Bates: Former magistrate in Canton Municipal Court; former Assistant Stark County Prosecutor.
  • Darrell Markijohn as Ambrose Spencer: Private practitioner and Veteran Civil War Reenactor.
  • John Scavelli as James H. Davidson: Assistant Law Director, Tallmadge, OH; former Assistant Public Defender, and private practice.
  • Jason Reese as Jasper Culver: Canton Assistant Law Director; former Assistant Canton City Prosecutor, and private practice.
  • Anthony Flex as Sgt. James Gray: Chief Deputy of Stark County Clerk of Courts.
  • Musicians, Kris and Jeff Kiko-Cozy: Seasoned local composers and performers.
  • Roles still to be announced: Colonel Thomas and Colonel Mott, the “silent” judges.

About the Canton Palace Theatre

Completed in 1926, the Canton Palace Theatre is a downtown architectural jewel registered on the National Historic Registry. A prized community venue for classic, contemporary and art films, The Palace annually hosts more than 300 special events, concerts, recitals and Broadway-style productions. For more information, please visit

The Palace is located at 605 Market Avenue North in Canton, Ohio. Business and box office hours are Monday through Friday 10:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Business offices can be reached at (330) 454-8172 and a 24-Hour Recorded Event Information line is (330) 454-8171.

Unveiling of The Reintegration of Pro Football

by Judi Christy

“The Reintegration of Pro Football,” is not only the title of the latest art installation in the downtown Canton Art District but also a very timely reminder that inequality was alive and well long before the RNC, Trayvon Martin and Selma, Alabama.  It’s also a sign of hope, that the fire fueled by the political and racial unrest of today, will possibly be simmered if cooler heads and warmer hearts are heard.

In fact, if the sentiment was not so raw, the work could be titled, “Black Lives Matter.”  But, then, we’d have to get political.  And goodness knows, professional sports, like religion, does not play with well when asked pick a side.

So, let’s start with a history lesson: 

When professional football began in 1920, all athletes regardless of color were permitted to play.  The leagues were smaller and so it might be surprising that only 17 African Americans suited up for the games, but there was no rule or retaliation in place, as the best man for the job, could indeed get the job.  But in 1933, this was no longer the case.  In the aftermath of the Great Depression, work was scarce and fear was plentiful.  And people like George Preston Marshall led a charge to ban blacks from the sport, as he incited others to agree that they were taking away jobs from men who were white.  And, because Mr. Marshall was the owner of a professional football team (ironically named the Washington Redskins), people listened and followed, agreeing that professional sports should be only played by white athletes.

And, so was the case until the mid-1940s.

History applauds professional baseball for striking down the wall of race by putting Jackie Robinson, #42 and an African-American, on the plate.  He had a wonderful career, movies, books, statues and street names commemorating the 1947 occasion.

But, little has been noted about the previous year (1946) and a sport that, at the time, was not considered as America’s favorite pastime.  But, it was football that actually tackled the problem in black and white.

In 1946, Cleveland’s NFL team, the Rams, moved to Los Angeles and sought a lease to play at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. At the same time, a team from a rival league, the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), also applied to play there. Under pressure from the Coliseum Commission and black sportswriters —both the NFL’s Rams and the AAFC’s Dons announced their intent to integrate as a condition of their leases.  Or, to put it more bluntly, they needed more guys to play in the games.

As a result, four black players: Ken Washington and Woody Strode, both from UCLA, played for the FL’s Los Angeles Rams and Bill Willis (Ohio State) and Marion Motley (Naval Station Great Lakes) were signed by the All American Football Conference’s (AAFC) Cleveland Browns, under coach and owner, Paul Brown.

But the reintegration process was not immediate.  In 1950, only six of the 13 NFL teams had a total of 11 black players. But by 1953, when the world was in the hunky-dory aftermath of WWII victory and peaceful times, all of the NFL teams, but one, were integrated.

It took nine more years, for (you guessed it) the Washington Redskins, to add Bob Mitchell and Ron Hatcher, two African American players to their roster in 1962.  (Side note:  George Preston Marshall was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963, the same year he suffered a stroke.)

Today, approximately 69% of all NFL players are African-American.

And now for the poetic justice part of the blog:

Artist Paul Lamar Collins is of African-American and Native-American heritage.  At age 79, he has a mile long Wikipedia page and hundreds of brass name plates in galleries, throughout the world, celebrating his success of one the top 20 painters in the United States of America.   He designed the Martin Luther King “Non-Violence/Peace Prize Medal” for Coretta Scott King, created an 18’ mural for President Gerald Ford, and worked with the United Nations as a diplomatic liaison with the Sioux Indians.   Among his first exhibits was the 1969 “Black Portrait of an African Journey,” depicting travels to West Africa to portray the daily lives of the Senegalese and Gambian people.

And, this August, he brings his work to Canton, Ohio.  As the winner of the $25,000 commission for a mural depicting the “Reintegration of Professional football,” Collins becomes the fourth nationally-acclaimed artist to have his/her work chosen to represent one of the Eleven Greatest Moments in Professional Football History, a $2.2 million partnership between ArtsinStark and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It’s fitting that Collins is the artist.  It’s fitting that this is the moment.  It’s fitting that now is the time.

The Reintegration of Pro Football: 1946
Friday, August 5, 2016
4:30 p.m.
Bliss Parking Deck
217 2nd Street NW, Canton, OH 44702