John Hedges Stepping Down as Director of Weathervane Playhouse

John Hedges, after successfully serving as Executive Director of Weathervane Playhouse since 2007, has announced to the Weathervane Board of Trustees that he has accepted the position of Executive Director of the Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre in Indianapolis, Indiana.


During his tenure at Weathervane, Mr. Hedges has grown the theatre’s audience base by 24% to reach an all-time high, increased total revenue by 31% while increasing individual contributions by 57%. With the endorsement of Academy Award-winner Olympia Dukakis, John spearheaded the theatre’s 2009 Capital Campaign which expanded and renovated the facility, and in 2010 he began a Guest Director Series with Tony Award-winner Michael Rupert. During the 2009-10 Season he co-produce the landmark drama The Great White Hope with Karamu House and Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland, which garnered Weathervane its first-ever press coverage by American Theatre magazine, and in 2011 he co-produced the new musical Shine! in collaboration with Mainstreet Musicals in New York City with TV star Hal Linden.

Current Board President Michael Gaffney said, “We are grateful for John’s seven years of outstanding leadership to this theatre. It’s been said one should strive to leave a place better off than it was when you arrived. John Hedges’ tenure at Weathervane was a resounding success. He led the $1 million capital campaign and the subsequent expansion of our lobby; he has increased the visibility and image of Weathervane throughout the community; and the quality of this theatre’s productions are consistently among the best in the region.”

In commenting on his departure, John said, “It has been a privilege to be a part of the renaissance of Weathervane Playhouse these last seven years. This theatre is poised to be a significant contributor to the quality of life here in Akron for many years to come. As I welcome this new opportunity to return to the city where I grew up and began my theatrical career some 40 years ago, I do so knowing there will always be a special place in my heart for Weathervane and Akron, Ohio.”

DAP Announces A Community Inspired Art Project

Downtown Akron PartnershipIn the true spirit of community collaboration, the John S. Knight Center, Downtown Akron Partnership, Akron Summit County Public Library and Summit Artspace have teamed up to bring a new work of art to downtown Akron and they need your help to make it happen. Local painter and tattoo artist Jesse Strother, who recently completed a public art project in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood, will incorporate community sketches into a large mural in the John S. Knight Center.

Community members can contribute to the mural by attending events at the museum, the Knight Center, the Akron Summit County Library and Summit Artspace during May and June. Events include the May 9 art opening at Summit Artspace, Oddmall at the John S. Knight Center on May 10, at the museum’s May 24 Family Drop-In day, and every Thursday in May during the museum’s Free Thursdays.

The reveal of the finished mural will occur on Saturday, July 5 at 7:30 pm during the Downtown Akron Artwalk.

Summit County Proclaiming August 2014 “Kids Month”

This August 2014 Russ Pry, Summit County Executive, will be proclaiming “Kids Month” in Summit County. Activities, programs and events are already being planned throughout the month. Each week in August will have a theme and the highlight of the month will be the Summit For Kids Symposium, Luncheon and Expo August 1st and 2nd. The general themes for the month of August are:

Week 1                 Kindergarten Readiness Week           August 3rd-9th

Week 2                 Child Wellness Week                           August 10th-16th

Week 3                  Family Week                                        August 17th-23rd

Week 4                  Child Safety Week                               August 24th-30th

Please keep in mind Kids Month and consider incorporating your child oriented events and programs into your August plans. Summit County is happy to include these events, programs, activities and informational sessions on the Kids Month Calendar.

If you have an addition to the calendar or would like to get involved in one of the planning committees, please contact Tina Merlitti at 330-643-8626.


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Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens Site of New Concours d’Elegnace in 2014

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens announces the 2014 Concours d’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, slated for September 19-21, 2014. Stan Hywet is located at 714 North Portage Path in Akron, Ohio.

The expansive 70-acre estate, America’s 6th largest historic home open to the public, provides a strikingly beautiful and historic backdrop for this re-imagined Northeast Ohio Concours show.

“There are few settings to equal the elegance of Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens,” says David Schultz, the Concours executive director who is a nationally-known auto enthusiast, author and Concours judge. Schultz previously served as executive director of the Glenmoor Gathering in Canton, which was a precursor to this new event.

Given Stan Hywet’s patriarchal connection to the automotive industry — Seiberling also participated in the establishment of the Lincoln Highway — automobile events are not new to the Estate. Every June for more than 50 years, Stan Hywet has hosted an annual Father’s Day Car Show in collaboration with the Ohio Region Classic Car Club of America, which attracts thousands of casual car enthusiasts, hobbyists and collectors.

“The two shows have very distinctive characters and qualities, and they occur in different seasons, allowing the Father’s Day edition to continue, and making the introduction of the Concours d’Elegance at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens a lovely enhancement to our annual events line-up,” notes Linda Conrad, president and executive director. “The Father’s Day Car Show has been a tradition for three generations of northeast Ohioans,” says Conrad, “with a typical display of more than 400 vintage automobiles. By contrast, the Concours is one of the nation’s most iconic celebrations of rare and unique automobiles, featuring approximately 175 of the invitation-only ‘rolling sculptures’ from throughout the United States.”

“We are in the process of selecting our feature classes for 2014,” says Schultz, “but one of our cornerstones will certainly be the great American and European automobiles of the 1920s and ‘30s.”

The motorcars will be the centerpiece of a weekend of time-honored events that are also open to the public. Exhibitors, sponsors and guests will be treated to a variety of cultural experiences that truly represent the art of fine living, including uniquely designed insider’s tours of the garden, grounds and Manor House; the elegance of high tea, special wine tastings and fashion events; gourmet food selections; and a symphony of musical entertainment set against the historic backdrop. Also on the roster is a countryside automobile tour for exhibitors.

According to Schultz, several key members of the former Glenmoor Gathering team will be involved with the Stan Hywet Concours. Schultz notes that Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens has a strong and creative events team with a proven track record. “Simply stated,” he says, “this is something they do very, very well. They are experts at events!”

Stan Hywet offers not only a spectacular venue, but a wonderful history and a legacy dating back nearly 100 years. The name is Old English for stone quarry. Three English country homes —Compton Wynyates, Ockwells, and Haddon Hall —served as the inspiration for Stan Hywet’s 65-room Manor House.

For more information visit or call Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens at 330-836-2626.