Exploring Downtown Kent’s Public Art Tour

Did you know that you can take walking tours around Downtown Kent?

There are two tours available. The “History of Industry Kent” tour and the “Public Art” tour.  The historical tour highlights influential businesses, Kent’s early manufacturing period and the railroad era.

The art tour, the tour I took, highlights Kent’s public art as well as a rotating banner exhibit of art and poetry. Below you will find information about a few of the public art pieces, as well as a few My Ohio Fun road trip notes.

Haymaker Farmers’ Market Mural
Haymaker Farmers’ Market Mural Elaine Hullihen was the creator & project manager.

During the summer season the Haymakers Farmers’ Market is held on Franklin Ave. every Saturday between 9am and 1 pm. Rain or shine. If you are taking the tour on a Saturday, make sure you bring your grocery bag. There are normally bakers, plants, specialty items, meats, cheese, honey, fresh fruit and vegetables, Ohio maple syrup, and more.  Bring cash. Many of the vendors do not take credit cards. You can however purchase market tokens with a credit card.  To learn more about the market click here.

 

Mill District Mural
Mill District Mural. Mural by Emily Anne Buckingham and Joshua Bentley.

Highlighting the Mill District area of Kent you will find the “Mill District Mural” on the side of the building that houses the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Center on N. Water St.  If you need a coffee fix while enjoying the trail, right across from the mural are two great coffee shops; the Bent Tree Coffee Roasters and the Scribbles Coffee Co.

Love Mural Kent
The Love Mural By Edwin George

The “Love Mural” can be found right on the side of the Scribbles Coffee building. Both coffee shops offer a nice selection of fresh brewed coffees, specialty drinks and pastries.

Scribbles Coffee - Kent
Scribbles Coffee – Kent | Photo: D. Rock MyOhioFun





Bicentennial Sculpture
Bicentennial Sculpture | Sculpture by George Danhires

The “Bicentennial Sculpture” depicts Kent’s history.  The mural is located just across from Ray’s Place and Taco Tontos. Ray’s Place is known for their Mo-Fo Burger, which Iron Chef Michael Symon raved about on the Food Network Channel. The day I did my tour I opted for Taco Tonto’s special Street Tostado with sweet potatoes, chorizo, house pickled red onion, corn salsa and a house-made blueberry-basil sauce. Who knew you could use sweet potatoes and blueberry-basil sauce in creating a tostado. Hello!  If you do not feel like eating in, there are public tables just across the street by the sculpture.

Taco Tontos Street Tostado
Street Tostado | Photo: D. Rock MyOhioFun.com

Joe Walsh Mural Kent
Joe Walsh Mural | Mural by Scot Phillips | Photo: D. Rock MyOhioFun.com

The east side of the Water Street Tavern building on Water Street is rockin’ with a “Welcome to Kent” mural that includes rock legend Joe Walsh. “A tribute to Kent’s rich musical history.”

If your hungry,  the tavern’s menu includes chicken, various mac & cheese, burgers, sides, fish dinners and more.  The kitchen and bar hours start at 5pm. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Lake Cities Train Mural
Lake Cities Train Mural | Mural by Henry Van ‘t hooft

The Lake Cities Train Mural was completed by a 17-year-old Boy Scout. This mural was part of Henry Van ’t hooft’s Eagle Scout project. The mural is 10 feet x 25 feet and depicts a period of time when passenger trains arrived in Kent.

Squirrel with an Attitude Sculpture Kent Ohio
Squirrel with an Attitude Sculpture | Sculpture by James Taylor

According to an article in “The Connection”, black squirrels were brought to the Kent area after a Kent State University grounds superintendent heard about the black squirrel population dying off in other areas of Ohio. Read more of the story here.  Today, all around Kent you will find businesses paying tribute to the honorary black squirrel mascot.

The “Squirrel with an Attitude sculpture” can be found in the center of Acorn Alley, just across from the new Fruit Stand, a fresh fruit and juice bar.  “Popped!”,  which recently moved to its new location on E. Main St., is a great place to get your popcorn and chocolate fix. Make sure you try their cheese popcorn. It has a hint of bacon.

There are twelve total works of art on the trail. Each piece of art is unique and tells a story.  The trail itself makes for an enjoyable way to explore Downtown Kent. A perfect way to include a little shopping, check out the local food, and drink scene and just have a good time.  If you would like to learn more about the trail visit mainstreetkent.org.

 


 

 

MyOhioFun Road Trip Notes:

If you would like to explore the area for more than one day, Central Portage Visitor and Convention Bureau can assist you with local accommodations and additional tour ideas.  Ask about the “Sweet Tooth Trail”.

Wingfoot Lake State Park
Wingfoot Lake State Park | Photo: D. Rock MyOhioFun.com

Portage County is blessed with three (3) State Parks, a wonderful Portage County Park District, as well as local park systems.  Perfect for those who enjoy hiking, fishing, picnics, and more. For kayakers, the Cuyahoga River runs through Kent and two of the State Parks are surrounded by large lakes. Rentals are available. I suggest you call ahead to secure a time.   To learn more click here.

 

Mike's Place Kent
Mike’s Place Kent

For those who enjoy a little whimsy with their meal, Mike’s Place has a menu that is as crazy as their building.  Jet fighter on the outside and a bus on the inside. Did we say we spotted Elvis?

If shopping is on your list. You will find antique stores, art galleries, specialty shops, an outlet mall, and more in and around Kent.

Did we mention that just a few minutes from Downtown Kent you can enjoy an old-fashioned drive-in movie theater? For movies and times visit Midway Twin Drive-in Theatre Ravenna.

Fall is a great time to plan a visit to the area.  The area’s apple orchards, pumpkin farms, and corn mazes make for a full day of fall fun. And if ghostly things are more your speed, Kent Ghost Walk offers paranormal tours.

Things to know before you go:

  1.  Bring a cooler for any goodies you may find along the way.
  2.  Bring your camera if you don’t have one in your phone.
  3.  Call ahead to rent any kayaks or other water devices at the State Parks.
  4. Cash if you plan on going to the farmers market or visiting a local orchard or farm.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather.

Miles:

Portage County is conveniently located to Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Wheeling.

Akron – 12 miles
Buffalo – 210 miles
Canton – 33 miles
Chicago – 365 miles
Cleveland 4 miles
Columbus- 140 miles
Erie – 123 miles
Indianapolis – 310 miles
New York – 430 miles
Pittsburgh – 102 miles
Toledo – 136 miles
Wheeling – 115 miles

 

Central Portage County Visitor Bureau


Article and photos by: D. Rock, MyOhioFun.com
Any use of the above article or images without prior permission, will be in violation of copyright laws. 

***Disclosure:  I receive compensation from Central Portage County Visitor & Convention Bureau for promotion of their area.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***