Category Archives: Alliance

Mount Union to Host Gallery of American Masterworks April 8-13

The University of Mount Union is pleased to announce that it is partnering with The Butler Institute of American Art to bring an exciting and unique opportunity to the Stark County area. With financial support from the Greater Alliance Foundation, Mount Union will host an exhibit of American Masterworks from The Butler Saturday, April 8 – Thursday, April 13 at the University’s Sally Otto Art Gallery in the Giese Center for the Performing Arts.

The Butler Institute of American Art, founded in 1919, is the first museum in the world dedicated to American art. The institute is located in Youngstown, Ohio and its original building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. According to its website, The Butler is known worldwide as “America’s Museum.” It hosts nearly 125,000 visitors annually to its numerous galleries.

The Butler collection includes more than 22,000 individual works of art, 25 of which will make the trip to Stark County to be displayed on Mount Union’s campus. Some of the works featured at the American Masterworks exhibit come from nationally-renowned artists such as: William James Glackens, Benjamin West, Reginald Marsh, Anna Mary (Grandma) Moses, Roy F. (Fox) Lichtenstein and many others.

As part of the six-day exhibit, Dr. Louis Zona, the executive director of the Butler Institute of American Art and professor emeritus of art history at Youngstown State University, will be a part of two events on April 11. Zona will present Mount Union’s Continued Learning Program (CLP) series at 10:30 a.m. in Presser Recital Hall on the exhibit and his involvement with The Butler. Later that evening at 7 p.m., Zona will hold a gallery talk in the Sally Otto Art Gallery discussing each of the 25 works on display and their cultural significance across the nation, dating back to the early 18th Century. A reception will follow in the gallery after the discussion ends.

“The Butler Institute’s collection is amazing,” said University president Dick Merriman, “and we’re very excited about this unique opportunity to showcase notable works here on our campus.  It’s a wonderful bonus to have the executive director of the Institute come to campus to interpret the works and situate them within both evolving artistic traditions and the development of our country.”

Zona earned his B.S. in Education from Youngstown University in 1966, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He received his M.S. in Art Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969 and earned a Doctor of Arts degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1973. He has been in his role at The Butler since 1982 and is credited with expanding its reach and assisting in opening satellite facilities in Salem and Howland, Ohio.

“The Butler’s collection in Youngstown traces the various developments in the history of American art,” said Carol Opatken, director of the Sally Otto Art Gallery. “The 25 paintings that we’ll have on loan does the same, so it will be an instructive show for our students and just wonderful viewing for everyone. With this exhibit, we hope to continue into a partnership with the Butler and bring more of their collection to the Alliance area.”

“To express appreciation to our donors and many partners in the community, the Greater Alliance Foundation is excited to collaborate with the University of Mount Union to bring this remarkable event to the community,” said Douglas Schwarz, executive director of the Greater Alliance Foundation. “We hope that this is the beginning of a great partnership between The Butler Institute of American Art and the University, in which both students and Stark County residents benefit from this great opportunity.”

The Sally Otto Art Gallery is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. from 5 p.m. There is no admission charge for the exhibit. Financial support is available for schools that wish to bring students to the exhibit. School districts seeking more information on the financial support can call (330) 823-6063.

For more information on the American Masterworks exhibit and other art events taking place on Mount Union’s campus, visit

ArtsinStark Is Helping Downtowns Reinvent Themselves

The “Sticky Arts” exhibit that went up in downtown Alliance this week is 50% art show — and 50% economic development strategy.  It’s just one of many projects the University of Mount Union and ArtsinStark have partnered on to transform two blocks on East Main into an attraction for locals and tourist alike called The Crossing.  “We are using these 15 museums, antique stores, eateries, and specialty shops, along with public art installations, to reinvent a place,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins.”  The non-profit county arts council has partnered with the City of Louisville to create Constitution Place in its downtown, with the Village of Minerva to rebrand three of its blocks as historic Market Street, and with the Canton Chamber to build the Arts District.  “ArtsinStark has also given grants to Hartville, Canal Fulton, Massillon, Jackson, and North Canton to do the same thing,” says David Grabowsky, who is chairing the 2017 Annual Arts Campaign to raise $1,650,000 for the arts in Stark County.  The drive is at 30% or $500,000 of its goal.  More info is available at  or 330-453-1075.

The name “Sticky Arts” comes from the fact that copies of the 22 artworks by 16 local artists were first printed on adhesive paper and then literally stuck on windows and walls at three different locations across Alliance inviting people to come experience The Crossing.  The first of the three sites are the store windows downtown in The Crossing on East Main Street from Mechanic to Linden.  The second site is the hallway outside the Rodman Branch Library at Giant Eagle Market Place (1808 West State Street), and the third site are the walls around the entrance to the Kresge Dining Commons in the Campus Center at the University of Mount Union.

Julie Amabeli, Alayna Watson, and Fredlee Votaw represent the great variety among the 16 Alliance artists that are part of Sticky Arts.  Julie Amabeli is a University of Mount Union graduate who works as a financial analyst by day, and creates precise pen and ink portraits of famous people by night.  Alayna Watson is a senior at Alliance High School who does ceramics and painting. Fredlee Votaw has been exhibiting in shows for 45 years and explores all kinds of art in creations he calls “Diary Art.” The other artists in the show are: Robert Buganski, Lynn Digby, Kacie Prologo, Chrystal Shofroth, Andrew Wells, Dena Donnelly, Allie Bennett, Travis Kuntzman, Lily Thomas, Martha McClaugherty, Olivia Sziber, Marilyn Kuntzman and Olivia Morey.

Sticky Arts will host an opening reception, with refreshments and live music, at the Giant Eagle Marketplace location on Thursday April 6 from 5:30 to 7 pm.  The Sticky Arts exhibit will be on display  until the end of May — or until the glue wears out!

ArtsinStark Announces $1.1 million in Grants

At its December board meeting ArtsinStark’s Board of Directors approved $1,075, 000 in grants to 31 organizations and individual artists across Stark County. The grants were awarded in two categories: Operating and Special Projects. “Donors to the Annual Arts Campaign have made it possible over the last ten years for us to award $10 million in grants to the 7 largest arts groups: Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Palace Theatre, Players Guild and Voices of Canton,” says ArtsinStark board chair Emil Alecusan,” and another $1.5 million to 600 small non-profits, artists, and schools in every community in Stark County.” The programs supported by ArtsinStark grants reach more than 200,000 people a year, and is part of its mission to use the arts to create smarter kids, new jobs, and healthier communities. To see more information on ArtsinStark’s Grants Program and the list of this year’s award winners to date, please visit

The Operating Grants approved by the board for seven major arts organizations in Stark County total $1,039,835. “These are the crown jewels of our region,” says ArtsinStark board member Ed Levy, who is Chair of the Operating Grants Committee. “They operate at the highest professional level and are so important to attracting visitors to the region.”

Operating Grantee Amount Description
Canton Ballet $ 127,470 To host 10 performances of 3 major productions, do
school presentations, and offer hundreds of classes
to more than 300 students.
Canton Museum of Art $ 253,750 To host 10 exhibits, 2 major art shows, and 60
community events, classes and outreach programs
for more than 30,000 participants.
Canton Symphony $ 326,150 To host 7 classical concerts, 3 pops concerts, and a
range of intimate musical performances and
interactive programs for young audiences.
Massillon Museum $ 61,600 To host 6 Main Gallery exhibits, various permanent
collection and Studio M exhibits, 5 intimate concerts,
and numerous community lectures and workshops.
Palace Theatre $ 41,625 To provide over 100 movies and art films, live
concerts, dance performances and special events at
its historic theatre.
Players Guild Theatre $ 188,990 To present 8 major shows, touring productions for
K-12, along with classes and workshops.
Voices of Canton $ 40,250 To host 12 concerts by the adult chorus, and provide
educational outreach to schools.

The Special Project Grants go to 24 smaller arts organizations, non-profits, and individual artists and total $34,974. Ballet LaReve in Canal Fulton is taking dance programs to preschoolers. Keep Alliance Beautiful is creating a mural for a downtown mini-park. The Lions Lincoln Theatre in Massillon is establishing a young people’s theatre company. “These are special projects being run by organizations and individual artists that show us every day how art is changing lives all across Stark County,” says Special Projects Grants Committee Chair Vicki Conley. In the spring ArtsinStark will announce another round of Special Projects Grants for schools and Stark County downtowns. Here is the list of the Special Project Grants approved this week.

Organization/Artist Award City NewProject
1 Alliance for Children & Families 3,500 Alliance To offer math & music program for homeless families
2 Ballet LeReve 750 Canal Fulton To provide outreach performances to preschoolers
3 Bluecoats Drum and Bugle Corp 2,500 Canton To produce a drum corp program to EnRichMent students
4 Bonilla, Lindsay 750 N. Canton To present a storytelling & music program at local libraries
5 Bowen, Ted 750 Alliance To offer summer juggling lessons in Alliance parks
6 Canton Calvary Mission 2,589 Canton To produce a fashion & dance exhibition with K – 12 students
7 Canton Tree Commission 750 Canton To hold a photo contest to celebrate Arbor Day
8 Early Childhood Resource Center 1,500 Canton To create interactive texture garden with artist Michele Waalkes
9 Joseph, Craig 750 Canton To produce a season of 7 plays promoting civic engagement
10 Keep Alliance Beautiful 750 Alliance To create a mural for a mini-park space in Alliance
11 Kent State University at Stark 3,500 Canton To produce “Guitar Weekend” with extended outreach
12 Knight, Jim 750 Countywide To provide dramatic readings at local libraries
13 Lions Lincoln Theatre 750 Massillon To create a youth theatre troupe
14 Malone University 3500 Canton To offer a Meadow Mural project to middle-schoolers
15 May, Margene 750 Canton To create an outdoor art mural promoting family unity
16 Pawsitive Ohio 750 N. Canton To raise awareness of homeless animals by creating art
17 Project REBUILD 1135 Canton To create classroom mural with at-risk students
18 Rossetti, Kristen 750 Canton To provide a literature & art class for children 2 – 10
19 Stark County UMADAOP 750 Canton To provide an art camp during Juneteenth Celebration
20 Stone, John 750 Canton To produce a photography exhibition showcasing Canton
21 Washington High Sch. Alumni Assoc 2000 Massillon To increase outreach for annual Messiah performance
22 Venegas, Raven 750 N. Canton To curate and design an exhibition of historical paintings
23 Vigil, Emily 750 N. Canton To create outdoor artwork for area garden sites
24 YMCA, Eric Snow Family 3500 Canton To host One Voice Gospel Choir program for youth 12 – 24

ArtsinStark Chair Wants to Connect All Downtowns to Village

Click here to listen to the WKSU interview

At its annual meeting, the ArtsinStark board elected Emil Alecusan, CFO of Brewster Cheese, as the chair of its 45-member board. It also brought on these new board members: Barry Adelman, Adrian Allison, Marty Chapman, Duncan Darby, Ron Ponder, Alan Rodriguez, and Kay Sanders. “Our downtowns are using the arts to reinvent themselves and to connect to the exciting dreams of the Hall of Fame Village,” says Alecusan. “Making our downtowns super creative places filled with live music and the arts is key to getting young professionals to live there, and visitors to the Village want to come experience them.” For the past 10 years downtown revitalization has been one of the County Arts Council’s primary strategies, not only in Canton but all across the county. Alecusan also noted that research shows that stronger downtowns contribute to stronger surrounding communities economically.

ArtsinStark has worked with the Special Improvement District to build the Arts District in downtown Canton, to install public art everywhere, and to host more than 100 First Fridays. In downtown Minerva, ArtsinStark and the Village of Minerva have spent the past five years creating “Market Street,” with the Art Spot Gallery, Roxy Theatre, and Hart Mansion. In Louisville, the City and ArtsinStark have been creating “Constitution Place” which includes the Ahh Gallery and Uptown Joes. In Alliance, the University of Mount Union and ArtsinStark are partnering to transform the old downtown into “The Crossing” with The Troll Hole, Jupiter Studios, and the Cat Museum. “Our support for the Massillon Museum and the Lion’s Lincoln Theatre is helping that downtown prepare for more tourists,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins, “and we’ve provided grants to North Canton, Hartville and Canal Fulton, among others, to start filling their downtowns with public art, special events, and festivals.”

The County Arts Council has also been working with Visit Canton to develop more cultural tourism experiences. They’ve hosted together “Live Music Downtown” grants to support more musical series downtown. They’ve partnered on a plan to develop and rebrand the 100 acres around the Cultural Center as “North Market” and seamlessly connect it to the Arts District to the south. “This is different from regular tourism,” says Alecusan, “because cultural tourists are so passionate about arts and history — that they stay longer and spend more money — which is exactly what we all want.”

ArtsinStark Announces Sticky Arts Competition for Alliance

ArtsinStark and 20/20 Vision Alliance are issuing a call for entries for its “Sticky Arts Exhibit” to celebrate paintings and drawings made by artists from Alliance, OH.  The competition is open to any artist currently living in Alliance, Ohio — high school age and up.  Awards of $50 will be awarded to each artist selected.  The artists will give ArtsinStark, just for the length of the exhibit, the right to reproduce up to five of their submitted images on adhesive paper.  This “sticky art” will be installed on the windows of buildings and storefronts in three different locations: 1) University of Mount Union, 2) downtown Alliance in “The Crossing,” and 3) Giant Eagle Marketplace.  “We will have the same exhibit up at three different locations simultaneously,” says ArtsinStark CEO Robb Hankins, “as part of connecting the excitement of what is happening downtown in “The Crossing” to the rest of Alliance.”  The submission deadline is 5 pm on Monday, December 12.  More information is at  or 330-453-1075.  Exhibit Dates are January – June 2017, and an opening reception will be held once all the art has been installed
Interested artists should submit photographs (each a JPEG file should be 1-3MB) of from one to five of their new or existing paintings and drawings.  Those digital files should be sent to or mailed to ArtsinStark, PO Box 21190 Canton, OH 44701-1190 by 5 pm on Monday December 12.  Each submission must include the following info: name, address, phone number, and email address.  The adhesive paper (roughly 15 inches by 15 inches or larger) that the winning images will be printed on, in most cases, will be bigger than the size of original art. 
20/20 Vision Alliance is an economic development project of the county arts council ArtsinStark and the University of Mount Union.   The goal is to transform two historic blocks on Main Street downtown from Mechanic to Linden into “The Crossing” — an entertainment destination for locals and tourists alike.

Mount Union Hosts 52nd Annual Artfest

by Garrett Graber

For four years now, I’ve been attending the University of Mount Union: a small college in Alliance, OH. While Mount Union is widely known for our outstanding DIII football team, what I love most about my school is its commitment to the arts. On Saturday, September 17th, Mount Union will host its 52nd Annual Artfest around the Campus Lakes. The event is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year, participants can look forward to seeing art from Paris Studios, Brian Snyder Photography, and the Armored Gem just to name a few. From my past experience, the artwork is this event is always varied, always stunning, and always beautiful. Due to the vast array of vendors (49 this year) , there is always something that will meet everyone’s taste and preferences. ArtFest also hosts live demonstrations, and Jeff Piper, a ceramics artist, and Keith McMahon and his son Jesse, both broom makers, will show off their artistic talent and ability.

Artwork comes in a variety of forms, and ArtFest honors this.  Live music from local musicians will play throughout the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Art is the ability to create something beautiful, and what’s more beautiful than food? From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Alliance Chamber of Commerce will host “A Taste of Alliance” in conjunction with ArtFest. This will include several area restaurants and caterers where people can chow down while enjoying local art.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Jurying of Fine Arts will occur. This year, the judge is Jamie Kirkell, who’s art is currently in the Sally-Otto art gallery. He specializes in silk floral paintings, has been in the peace corps. and apprenticed under Indonesia Batik Master Bambang Oetoro. His art is breathtaking, refreshing, and, at least in my opinion, spiritual. While we all seen flowers before, the silk canvas adds a certain life and texture to his floral subjects. Seeing them in this way, on this canvas, is like you’re seeing flowers for the first time.

So please, if you have the time check out this year’s ArtFest. It is a wonderful to show your support for local artists and businesses. For more information, please contact the The University of Mount Union’s Office of Marketing at (330) 823-6063 or




ArtsinStark Special Project Grants Process Begins September 14

It all starts with a great idea and that’s what ArtsinStark is looking for as they open their annual granting cycle. September 14, 2016 marks the beginning of the Special Project Grants process, open to Stark County nonprofit organizations and individual artists (performance and visual).

Awards will range from $750 to $3,500 for projects that will be completed by December 31, 2017 and affecting those living, working or being educated in Stark County, Ohio. “We are looking for ideas that demonstrate outreach, impact, and high artistic quality and hope the entire county is represented,” said ArtsinStark Office Manager Anne Wadian.

The first step in ArtsinStark’s grant process is the completion of the Concept Form. “This is a simple way to assure that grant projects meet specific criteria before applicants go through the regular paperwork,” Wadian said. Concept Forms will be available online at or can be picked up in the ArtsinStark office (900 Cleveland Avenue NW, Canton) from September 14 – November 7, 2016.

Once the Concept Form is received and reviewed to see that it meets granting criteria, the applicant will be sent the formal grant application. No applications will be available online or in the ArtsinStark office — they will be individually issued upon the successful completion and review of a Concept Form.

Over the last ten years, ArtsinStark has funded over $1.5 million in 600 Special Project Grants to Stark County non-profits and artists never before funded.

For more information about ArtsinStark granting, please call 330-453-1075.

Stark County Artist Profile: Stephanie Cargill

by Stephen Ostertag

Our Stark County community is home to many live performance theatres and independent theatre companies. On any given weekend you can see local actors performing at the Kathleen Howland theatre in 2nd April art gallery, the Canton Players Guild, Carnation City Players, the North Canton Playhouse, or in productions mounted by independent groups like Seat of the Pants Productions, Sima Performing Arts Studio, Gilda Shedstecker Presents or Coercion Theatre Company to name a few.

The great thing about having all this live theatre all around our community is the chance to see talented performers in dazzling musicals, classic plays, an new works created and written here in our community. One such talent is the captivating, Stephanie Cargill. Stephanie is a mainstay of the theatre community in stark county having appeared in productions at each community theatre and numerous independent organization throughout several decades.

Stephanie’s need to perform started early, she says “I was that little girl who stood on a stool, chair, or piano bench and sang anytime anyone would listen. I sang when I was swinging. I sang when I was in the bath. I sang when I was supposed to be sleeping. I was in every choir that I knew about. I can’t ever remember NOT singing.” Her passion for music was channeled into theatre after seeing a production of The Wizard of Oz at the Coach House theatre in the Case Mansion when she was a little girl. “I was blessed with parents who let me explore anything that I expressed a desire in, and soon I was in youth theater classes,” with a wry smile Stephanie added, “and dance classes, but those who know me know that those classes didn’t stick!”
When asked about her first theatre performance Stephanie shared a memory from second grade.

“My teacher, Miss Ragazino allowed me to “produce” and “direct” a production of Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I’m sure you can guess who played the title role! I wore a beautiful yellow chiffon negligée of my mother’s and sang ‘In My Own Little Corner.’ It was bliss!” One of the special things about Stephanie is how she genuinely relishes her experiences in theatre as cherished life events which add texture to her everyday life.

She added, “The first official production I was part of was Gypsy at The Players Guild Theatre. It was starring Ronnie Furman, a local radio celebrity. She was gracious and kind and I loved the strength that she brought to Momma Rose. It is a role that I am still waiting to play.”

Like many actors, Stephanie enjoys the escape theatre provides, she recalled times when “theatre was the ONE place that I could go to the door, drop my baggage, and be ‘whatever I want to be.’ That is still true for me today. The stage door is still magical.” Part of the therapeutic escape of theatre is losing yourself into different characters Stephanie recalls the late Richard (Dick) Rheam: “He was my real-life hero and mentor. He believed in me and believed in what he did. He never left the stage without leaving it all there. Every single time. In his memory, I try my best to do the same thing.”

She offers this advice to young performers, “When you make your entrance, make it with the intention of leaving everything out on the stage. Every time. It will make you a much better actor. Leap and the net will appear. And if it doesn’t, the audience will really believe your performance.”

I was fortunate enough to see Stephanie perform in two of my favorite Stephen Sondheim musicals, Into the Woods at Carnation City Players and Sweeney Todd at the Players Guild. Both performances were captivating and emotionally charged though they were vastly different characters. Listing Sondheim as a musical theatre hero, Stephanie adds “We have a love-hate relationship.” Perhaps this explains why she seems so patient to get around to playing Mama Rose and why Sondheim favorite Bernadette Peters is also a treasured hero.

Stephanie lists playing Mother in Ragtime as one her most memorable experiences, “I loved climbing inside of her for every performance and bearing witness to the transition in her life. The song “Back to Before” speaks to me and my life, especially the lyrics “We can never go back to before.” And why would we want to?” Speaking of Stephanie in the role of Mother, she is the real life mother of some very talented children (now grown.) “Without a doubt,” Her favorite familial theatre memories are of, “A Christmas Carol, the New Musical for two years my five kids and I shared the stage in various roles and I loved it. The role of Belle was written for my voice (shout out to Steve Parsons), and I loved singing those songs. As adults, all of my kids are adventurous, creative beings. I know that being involved in theatre helped to shape them into who they are today.” Stephanie said, beaming with joy and pride.

We all love seeing the sets and costumes when we see a performance and those elements can really aid the actors’ performance. Stephanie’s favorite costume was her Belle gown, “Richard Boczek, who was the costumer at the Players Guild for years, made a beautiful purple and green gown for me when I played Belle in A Christmas Carol that I adored. It fit me to a “T” and I felt like a princess when I wore it.” Stephanie’s costume for the recent Sweeney Todd production was decidedly less beautiful, but equally informative for her performance.

A few years back, Stephanie took on the challenging play Wit which chronicles a woman’s battle with cancer. “That role was life-changing for me in so many ways. I am a singer first and an actor second, so tackling a role in a straight play – particularly a role of this magnitude – was terrifying.” Stephanie shaved her head of thick curls for the production, when asked about this memory she recalls “when I auditioned for the show, I told the director, “I know that some women often choose to shave their head to play this role. I just want you to know that I would NEVER do that.” Three weeks later, I was bald. The play is just so brutally honest about the battle with cancer, that I couldn’t dishonor those who had been through (or were going through) that battle by walking on stage with a full head of hair. Also, I was playing alongside the brilliant Kathleen Howland, who was facing that demon herself. In the end it was not a decision at all; it just was. Internally it made me vulnerable and I think made my performance more honest and real.”

More recently, Stephanie took on another challenging role in Next to Normal a musical about a woman’s battle with mental illness. “Diana in Next to Normal, is a terrifically challenging role and under the outstanding direction of Amy Sima-Dirham, I think that I did that role justice.”

Stephanie credits many directors, instructors, and fellow actors with informing her craft. “Don Curie taught me that EVERY moment on stage is your most important moment – not just the moments when the spotlight is on you. As a matter of fact, the times when the spotlight isn’t on you are probably even more important that the time when it IS on you.” For anyone who saw Sweeney Todd, Stephanie credits Don as the inspiration behind her portrayal of The Beggar Woman.

Actor Greg Emanuelson has shared the stage with Stephanie on numerous occasions, and offers, “She challenges me to rise to her performance level and I trust her artistry well enough to know that, whatever happens on stage, she will make it work so that we both shine.” The two are currently appearing in Songs for a New World for the Sima Performing Arts Studio in Massillon, Emanuelson emphatically boasts “Stephanie is arguably one of the best actors I know, and not just in Stark County. Over the 20+ years in my theater career, my experiences with Stephanie are true highlights I always treasure. It’s a no brainer for me to accept a role in any show she does as I know we all will be better for the opportunity!”

While theatre offers Stephanie an endless line of characters to create, she also finds outlets for her creative nature by working with her hands. “I love beauty. I love creating beautiful things. I look at a beautiful garden and I think about how I can recreate that beauty in a pair of socks. I see the grandeur of an old mansion and it becomes inspiration for my home. I see a magnificent performance and I wonder what I can do to create the same spark inside of an audience member that I just felt. Creativity is just part of my being, and I’ve got this great guy by my side who supports me in any crazy endeavor that I can dream up. I knit and sew, and I like to think outside of the “norm.” For Christmas last year all of our family members got felted slippers – ranging from beautiful fashion items to outrageous monster feet!”

Currently, Stephanie and her husband, Michael Cargill, are in the middle of renovating a 170-year-old home, and Stephanie is in the thick of decorating it. One of her current “outlets” is upholstery. “I’ve taken a few classes (locally) and I will basically tear apart and rebuild any piece of furniture that I can get my hands on.”

As for her stage work, Stephanie confesses that she still gets those butterflies in the stomach before stepping out in front of a crowd. “Fear is the nemesis of live theatre – or at least my own personal nemesis. There are so many unknowns when stepping on the stage, not the least of which is our own brain, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have the jitters every time I step on stage.”

You can catch Stephanie on stage this weekend and next in Songs for a New World, follow the link for ticket information Also be sure to check out what local productions are going up in your area and what opportunities are being offered to educate those interested in becoming performers.


ArtsinStark Campaign Hits Goal for 11th Straight Year

It took to the very last day of an 11-week marathon to get it done, but ArtsinStark’s 2016 Annual Arts Campaign has made goal for the 11th straight year in a row.  At the Victory Luncheon held at Canton Glassworks and the Hub Art Factory in the Arts District on Wednesday, volunteers and arts leaders cheered as 2016 Campaign Chair Jim Porter, CEO/Publisher of The Repository announced “We’ve done it again!” Porter reminded everyone that “In a challenging economic environment like this one — it’s all about just getting to the $1.7 million goal.” More than 100 volunteers worked on the drive and 30 companies hosted arts workplaces for the arts.  ArtsinStark Board Chair Max Deuble thanked Porter for his amazing leadership saying “Jim’s determination was inspirational, and The Repository’s coverage about how art changes lives in our schools, our downtowns, and our neighborhoods made all the difference.”

ArtsinStark runs one of the 60 united arts fund drives in America.  The 1.7 million in dollars raised through the Annual Arts Campaign support our largest arts organizations: the Canton Ballet, Canton Museum of Art, Canton Symphony, Massillon Museum, Palace Theatre, Players Guild and Voices of Canton.  They also provide grants for some of our smaller arts organizations, individual artists, and other nonprofits looking to use the arts to deliver innovative programs.  They underwrite the SmArts Program in the schools.  They help downtowns across the county use live music, public art, and artist studios and galleries to revitalize themselves.  They produce “First Fridays.”  And they help keep the Cultural Center for the Arts, which will be 50 years old in 2020, up and running.  “Every year the arts change the lives of 200,000 people in Stark County,” says ArtsinStark Vice Chair Emil Alecusan. “We want to use the arts to make Canton a center for innovation, and the kind of super, creative place that turns kids into the geniuses of tomorrow.”

ArtsinStark is a 46-year-old private, non-profit organization that gives out grants, manages the Cultural Center, and runs the Annual Arts Campaign — and much more (Canton Arts District, First Fridays, SmArts Program in the schools, 20/20 Vision, and The ELEVEN).  What it doesn’t earn, it raises each spring through the Annual Arts Campaign.  As of today, ArtsinStark is the only united arts fund drive in America to ever make goal for 11 years in a row, and is also winner of the Governor’s Award for the Arts.  More information at


Fiber Mania Sweeps Alliance

by Evan Chwalek

Downtown Alliance will again host an event celebrating fiber arts and area businesses on April 23. The 9th Annual Fiber Mania is co-sponsored by the Canton Visitors Bureau, ArtsInStark and two local businesses, Enchanted Threads Fiber Arts Gallery and The Troll Hole Museum.

The event, which is free to the public, will showcase local artistic talent including fiber artists and musicians. Prizes including a Kindle Fire, crocheted throw and upcycled glass lawn ornament are up for grabs.

By following a map through downtown Alliance businesses, attendees can participate in a scavenger hunt and enter to win one of the grand prizes. Additionally, the event serves as a way to acquaint oneself with the galleries, restaurants, and stores of Alliance.

Over a dozen businesses will be involved with the scavenger hunt, with a small troll doll hidden in each location. Only participants earning stamps from twelve of fourteen businesses will have a chance at the grand prizes.

Assistant Organizer of Fiber Mania, Vickey Kugler, hopes the event will help show off the revitalization of Alliance. Kugler said everyone involved hopes to “show how downtown Alliance is becoming an arts area” and that “there’s so much that’s changing down here.”

Attendees can look forward to learn the process of creating various forms of fiber art, including felting, crocheting, knitting and spinning. Everything from raw materials to finished pieces of fiber art will be available for purchase, inspiring fiber artists of all abilities. The craft show will host over a dozen vendors and live music will be entertain the visitors.

“Everyone’s participating in their own way. It’s pretty cool” Kugler said.

Animals whose fur is used for fiber arts will also be present, showing the process from animal to finished product. Classes in fiber arts also add an educational dimension to the event.

The fiber arts festival is only one aspect of the revitalization of downtown Alliance. Farmer’s markets, new businesses and restaurants are a refreshing sight and raise hope for a thriving downtown arts scene.

Fiber Mania will take place in downtown Alliance from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. on April 23.