The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

The Editorially Independent Voice of The University of Akron

The Buchtelite

Akron loves Masonic Drumm's

Written by: Sarah Koester

Walking around the littered outskirts of campus is not pleasant until you come across Don Drumm Studios & Gallery. Whether you want to relieve yourself of stress, have an appreciation for sculpture, or are looking for the perfect gift, Don Drumm Studios & Gallery is a place where you can accomplish all of those things.

Don Drumm Studios & Gallery provides a sense of beauty that you might not otherwise find on nearby streets off campus. It’s composed of two buildings; one is made of brick and the other is a house colored purple, orange and green. There are three outdoor courtyards that allow you to forget the West Exchange traffic a few blocks away.

Sculpture is the main focus of the gallery. You can find pieces made out of glass, metal, ceramics or even recycled materials. Don Drumm Studios & Gallery was established in 1971 and has become an Akron landmark. Drumm is considered a pioneer in sculpting cast aluminum. He is also known for using cement and metal to create architectural sculptures. His work can be found around the world.

Walking up to the gallery through the small brick parking lot, you are greeted by a small courtyard complete with two blue metal butterfly benches. The serene environment does nothing to prepare you for what you will find when you walk through the door. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the vast amount of handmade jewelry, you know you’re in the right place. Don’t be nervous, take it all in. It’s well worth it.

On the first floor, you can find many signature pieces by Drumm, including metal and aluminum suns, works with religious connotations, doorknobs, buttons, and abstract pieces as well. Even though the first floor is small and cluttered, each piece stands on its own and is nothing but appealing to the eye.

Barb Ulrich is a regular customer who purchases buttons that she either sews to her clothing or uses to make jewelry. Whether she is making a purchase or just walking around to look at the art, her trip is always well worth it.

“I like the variety. There’s something for everyone,” Ulrich said. “You can get cheap and classy, or expensive and jazzy. There is a price point for everyone.”

Alongside the many Don Drumm pieces, there is work on display from many local artists, including Drumm’s wife, Lisa, and their two daughters, Leandra and Elisa. Many other artists’ works are also on display, all with different designs and points of view.

The first room off the main path in the studio holds the work of Michael Marras. His work was by far my favorite. Marras is a mixed media abstract artist who specializes in both 2D and 3D hard surface modeling. One piece titled “Firstborn” was particularly interesting. It was a bug made out of rusted metal, with a complete set of dentures.

Walking across to the other building, the Different Drummer, gives you a small break from the stuffy studio. The courtyard is full of beautiful wind chimes made of different metals, including spoons. There are also garden sculptures of different animals. The sound of the chimes and the enclosed outdoor environment leaves you feeling very peaceful.

The Different Drummer is where you can find Lisa Drumm’s soft sculpture dolls, a nostalgic toy room and fantastic novelty gifts. There is also a very cute pet section. The toy room is full of toys that some of you may remember playing with when you were younger. You can take your gifts to the toy room, and they will be more than happy to wrap them for you.

The novelty section was the most exciting part of the Different Drummer building. They had everything from mustache sandwich cutters to a very handy noodle counter. A favorite was the Jesus bread stamp. You just press it onto your bread, pop it in the toaster, and voila, you have Jesus on your toast!

Local art is very important to the studio. The artists on display are local, and even though Drumm is known worldwide for accomplishments, he chooses to keep his studio in Akron. Maggie Guthrie, the Gallery manager, explained why the Drumms choose to keep their studio local.

“Because Don’s work has been accepted and supported by the community, they have no reason to leave,” Guthrie said. “Don’s sculpture and functional work has become a signature for Akron, and the gallery has become a destination for local patrons as well as travelers. Through the years, Don and Lisa have raised their family here, made numerous friends, developed Crouse Street into a small art campus with prize-winning gardens. And the Akron community has responded. It’s a very comfortable place for them to live and work.”

Don Drumm Studios & Gallery is located at 437 Crouse St. in Akron. Whether you have been there before or not, it is always worth the visit. You can find a gift for anyone at any price, and looking at all of the amazing sculptures throughout the studio is a gift itself. It is important to support local artists, and Don Drumm Studios & Gallery is a great place to do that.

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