Akron creative Karen Starr is passionate about her community, and she and a legion of friends and collaborators do a lot to make the city better and more fun.
In this live edition of The Gale Hill Radio Hour, Karen talks about a host of great projects, starting with the gorgeous coffee-table book If This Wallpaper Could Talk, which she produced with her photographer friend Shane Wynn. As its title suggests, it's all about wallpaper, specifically Akron wallpaper.
An interior designer, Karen has an affinity for wallpaper, though she's well aware that not everyone shares that feeling. She also has a deep appreciation for January Paint & Wallpaper, which has been in business since 1956 and is where, as a kid, Karen accompanied her mom on shopping (or just browsing) trips.
In this interview, Karen also talks about her own business, Hazel Tree Interiors, celebrating its 12th anniversary in 2022. Whenever feasible, the Hazel Tree team members incorporate the work of local artists and makers into their interior design projects.
Speaking of projects, Karen co-created two big ones:
The 2022 Highland Square annual PorchRokr Music and Art Festival marks the 10th anniversary of Akron's "giant holiday" party, transforming the porches of one of Akron's most eclectic neighborhoods into one-day art studios and concert venues. Thousands of locals and out-of-towners rock out to diverse musicians and artists who use both residences and business establishments as their personal stages. The festival rotates each year among four sections of Highland Square to encourage spontaneous interaction among all its neighbors. PorchRokr 2022 takes place Saturday, August 20.
Also in 2022, Karen and her co-creators are marking the 10th anniversary of Free Akron Outdoor Movies with a showing of Labyrinth on September 10 on the lawn of Glendale Cemetery, where the event has always been held.
Finally, and this is also fun, Karen sings with Roxxymoron, an eight-piece rock/pop cover band with horns, tight vocals, and a song list spanning generations. It was voted "Best Local Band" by Akron Life Magazine. During the interview, Kate asks Karen whether she has a favorite song to sing. Listen to find out what it is.
This episode was one of many live podcasts recorded in spring 2022 at Comida, a chef-owned restaurant in Hudson, Ohio's First & Main shopping and dining district. Called Podapalooza, it was presented by PodPopuli of Hudson.
Thank you for listening to The Gale Hill Radio Hour, a show about purpose, passion, and sharing our gifts with the world.