Release Date: Thursday, November 4th 2010
West Akron artist designs First Night button
11/4/2010 - West Side Leader
By Kathleen Folkerth
WEST AKRON — It’s been quite a year for West Akron artist Maria Zanetta.
Her work was featured in a show earlier this year at Harris-Stanton Gallery. Then she was one of three artists in the exhibit Making Visible at Summit Artspace, which remains on display through Nov. 7.
Now Zanetta’s work will be on the lapels and jackets of thousands of Akron-area revelers, as she is the button artist for this years’ First Night® Akron.
“It’s been one thing after the other,” Zanetta said of her year. “It’s exciting.”
Zanetta’s button will be unveiled to the public Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at Summit Artspace during Artwalk. The button will be available for purchase starting Nov. 26.
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Zanetta came to the United States 20 years ago to work on her master’s degree at The Ohio State University (OSU). She stayed to work on her doctorate in comparative studies in literature and art.
While much of her studies have been in the humanities and literature, Zanetta said she’s been an artist since she was a child and her bachelor’s degree is in fine arts.
“I always drew, and even during high school I attended classes with private teachers who were part of different art studios,” she said.
While at OSU, she met her husband, Hans Dorfi. When he took a job with Bridgestone Firestone in 1995, they moved to Akron. Zanetta took a position in the modern languages department at The University of Akron (UA).
Today, as a full professor at UA, Zanetta oversees upper division courses for Spanish majors, minors and graduate students, she said. Through the years, she has continued to work on her art.
First Night officials invited Zanetta to submit her portfolio for consideration to be this year’s button artist. Once selected, she said she worked on three different concepts, and a panel of previous button artists selected one showing a young girl looking into a mirror.
The chosen art is a personal piece, Zanetta said, that explores the practice of New Year’s resolutions.
“It’s a look at the past year and what was promised about yourself, and what other things you would like to do in order to make a difference and protect what you consider most sacred to you, such as family or creative self,” she said.
The work, created with acrylics, took Zanetta back to a style of painting she hadn’t explored for some time, she said.
“It’s a more symbolic kind of artwork,” she said.
The project was a challenge, Zanetta added.
“I usually don’t do commissioned work,” she said. “I prefer to create things on my own. But this has been very interesting because it takes you away from what you’re used to doing, so it’s really inspired me.”
First Night Akron is in its 15th year of providing a family-friendly alternative to New Year’s Eve in Downtown Akron. This year, to mark the 15th year, a special commemorative button has been created in addition to the First Night Akron 2011 button. The 15th anniversary button is $15 and allows wearers admission to First Night and more than a dozen arts and cultural activities in Summit County through April. The commemorative buttons will be available at the Artwalk as well as at DAP’s office, on the fourth floor of Greystone Hall, 103 S. High St. The buttons also can be purchased at www.firstnightakron.org, where more information on all the events included in the button purchase is available. Buttons also can be purchased at locations such as the Akron Art Museum, 1 S. High St.; Akron Zoo, 500 Edgewood Ave.; and Library Shop on Main, in the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. High St.; among other locations.
The 2011 button, which will cost $10, also will be available at the above locations. It only provides access to First Night but not to the other events.
For additional information, call DAP at 330-374-7690.