On Sunday, October 4th 2015, 500 Plates brought together 500 Akron, Ohio residents from each of the city’s 22 neighborhoods at one, 500 foot-long table on the Innerbelt Freeway for a shared community meal.

Prior to this main meal, we collected a favorite household recipe from one resident in each of Akron’s 22 neighborhoods. These recipes were printed onto custom designed stoneware plates which was used at the community meal, creating a unique way to connect Akronites from different neighborhoods. Each guest at 500 Plates took home their plate as an extension of the meal.

We are also creating a toolkit to help neighborhood partners carry out smaller community meals in their neighborhoods. In addition, we are creating 22 unique tables, one for each neighborhood, which will serve as gathering points for each neighborhood to hold their neighborhood meals.

The meal took place on a stretch of the Innerbelt Freeway near downtown that was closed to vehicle traffic that day and is permanently closing in 2016. This event also served as a way for residents to reimagine what the freeway could potentially be used for. Sixty-three tables connected atop the concrete, creating one continuous 500 foot-long table. Attendees were guided by volunteer table hosts to discuss their personal stories as well as the challenges and opportunities of their neighborhoods, public space, and the future of their city. A 500-foot long table runner invited participants to write or draw their ideas for the Innerbelt. Those ideas are being shared and discussed on Neighborland.


Fast Company


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Pop-Up City

Akron Beacon Journal

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This is a project by artist Hunter Franks with support from the Knight Foundation.

Hunter Franks

hunterSan Francisco-based artist Hunter Franks transforms public spaces into positive venues of conversation and connection. His public installations create shared spaces and experiences that break down social barriers and build connections between people and communities.

Projects include a storytelling exchange to connect disparate neighborhoods, a public display of first love stories, a vacant warehouse turned community hub, and a global network of people creatively building stronger cities. His Neighborhood Postcard Project has been carried out in 22 communities from Chennai, India to Santiago, Chile and his League of Creative Interventionists has chapters in cities around the world from Cologne, Germany to Detroit, Michigan.

In 2011 he walked from Los Angeles to New Mexico — an experience that continues to fuel his desire to tell the stories of underrepresented people and places.

David Swirsky

David has lived in Akron his whole life and is currently a student at the University of Akron and leader of the Akron League of Creative Interventionists. He has co-organized free, community events on and off campus that integrate music, art, yoga/meditation practices, and health/wellness workshops. He is helping make this event come to life on the ground in Akron.

Dominic Falcione

Dominic creates awesome things at Rubber City Fab. He is creating 22 tables that will enable neighborhood partners to host community meals in their neighborhoods far into the future.

Eva Kwong

Eva is an experienced ceramic artist and teacher. She created 500 unique stoneware plates for this event.




Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged.

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Robert J Events & Catering

City of Akron

The Akronist is a multimedia community news and entertainment website that shares stories about people, places and issues in Greater Akron, with a special emphasis on social issues, nonprofits, neighborhood news and information and the arts.


The Downtown Akron Partnership’s mission is to promote and build a vibrant and valuable Downtown.


Neighborland empowers people to take action on local issues. It’s a new way for people to share insights, identify resources, and connect with decision makers to make great ideas happen.

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BMe Community is a growing network of all races and genders committed to building better communities across the U.S. BMe Akron is an affiliate of BMe Community. Text Akron to 96000 to join.


Neighborhood Network of University Park

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The International Institute of Akron (IIA) is a leader in the ever-expanding international community in Summit County, Ohio. A nonprofit agency founded in 1916, IIA welcomes new Americans to Akron to make our community their home.


East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation improves communities by providing quality and affordable housing, comprehensive homeownership services and economic development opportunities.


Unlikely Partners Taking Shared Risks to Renew Our Community for Christ’s Sake.


North Hill Community House impacts the community one Life at a time.


If you want to learn more about the project please contact us at hi@500plates.com

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