On Thursday, August 1, 2019, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro’s Department of Job and Family Services at 1180 South Main Street in Akron will host an opening reception for “As a Community We Will Lift You,” a mural project created by artist Jennifer Jones.

In November 2017, Jones was among 45 finalists in the Akron Knight Arts Challenge, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The challenge invites artists, organizations, and businesses to share their best ideas to inspire, engage, and enrich the city through the arts.

“My intention was for this mural project to transform the lobby of the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services into a place of hope for those seeking assistance” said Jones.

The images in the mural, painted by Jones and students from Kent State University, are directly inspired by the stories of clients, staff, and members of the surrounding communities interviewed by Jones.

“We want people to know that we see them, and that their stories are important,” said Jones, whose inspiration for this mural came, in part, from her own experience of feeling stigmatized when she was a young mother receiving public assistance.

“It’s admirable of Jennifer to want to give back to Summit County for the assistance it provided her during a difficult time in her life,” said Executive Shapiro. “Just as Jennifer’s mural brightens the waiting area in the Summit County Department of Job and Family Services, it’s our hope that it will also raise the spirits of others in need of assistance and send a message that we in Summit County are here to lift those in need of support.”

The opening reception for “As a Community We Will Lift You,” which runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.