UA professor designs admission button for 2011 First

María Zanetta, a Spanish professor from the Modern Language Department at The University of Akron and an artist outside her professorship, has been chosen to design the admission button for First Night Akron.

First Night Akron is a major visual and performing arts festival created by and for the community to welcome the New Year in Downtown Akron on Dec. 31 each year. The upcoming festival will be the 15th First Night Akron.

The image on the button reflects what most of us feel during the last day of the passing year. First Night admission buttons help support the cost of the celebration and provide admission to all First Night venues on event night. The design for the button changes each year and is a unique work of art.

The star on the upper left corner of the composition evokes the idea of new beginnings and hope, Zanetta said. Its warm glow illuminating the night signals the strength of the human spirit.

The main character symbolizes hope and determination. The color green points to the desire to grow individually and as a community of individuals embarked in the same common goal: to leave this world in a better shape than we found it.

Zanetta was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she attained a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the National School for the Arts, Prilidiano Pueyrredón. Upon graduation, she moved to the U.S. to pursue doctorate studies in comparative literature and art at The Ohio State University.

Zanetta has been a professor at The University of Akron since 1995. She teaches a wide range of courses in Hispanic literature, language and culture, as well as graduate seminars which focus on the interrelations between the different artistic manifestations of Spanish culture.

Past First Night Akron button artists include Don Drumm, Mark Soppeland, Laura Ruth Bidwell, Miller Horns, Joan Colbert, Michael Ayers, Leandra Drumm, Dan Cuthbert, Janice Troutman, Martha Kaltenbach, Jon C. Lund, Linda Hutchinson, Liz Remmel and Julienne Hogarth.

Overall, Zanetta said that she wanted to represent the interconnectedness among all living creatures and the universe and the fact that every time we transcend our boundaries and reach out to others and to bigger causes, we become better human beings.

First Night Akron is a program of Downtown Akron Partnership. Founding partners are the City of Akron and the Akron Beacon Journal.

First Night began in Boston in 1976 as a way to bring neighboring communities together in celebration, while providing an alternative way of ushering in the New Year.