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Don Drumm (1935-)

Pictured, from left (see below for more information on each):

  • Garden of Fantasy, 2008
  • Untitled1, c.2015
  • Untitled2, c.2015

About the artist

Don Drumm, a native of Warren, Ohio, has been creating works in sculpture for many years.After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in art from Kent State University, he established a studio on Akron, from which he has worked uninterrupted to create works in a range of sizes from small, utilitarian pieces to large sculptures, some of which, like the three here at Summa Health, generate their own spatial environment.

He has continued his art practice well past the age of 80, and, with his wife, Lisa, maintains public galleries adjacent to his studio on Crouse Street where his and other works of “folk art” are on view. He has long been recognized as one of Ohio’s living art treasures

More about Garden of Fantasy

Garden of Fantasy

Materials: Laser-cut aluminum and bronze

Location at Summa Health: Akron Campus, Jean and Milton Cooper Pavilion, ground floor lobby

This two-story-high sun mobile hangs above the lobby, catching the changing light and color of each day, reflecting that light on its dappled bronze and aluminum surfaces. The intricate cut-out areas in some of the flat areas of both metals result from the relatively new process of laser-cutting, a technique developed in the U.S. in the 1960s and made commercially available from the later 1980s onward. Don Drumm mastered the technique in when he was in his 70s. Laser-cutting permits the delicacy of cutting and perforating the leaf- and other plant forms that make up this mobile; serious metal appears to be as easily pierced as paper! (Speaking of mobiles, the mobile itself is an American art creation, given impetus by the 20th Century artist Alexander Calder, whose works, literally moving in the air above, you can still see all over the world).

You’ll recognize the central image here as one of Drumm’s favorite motifs, the life-giving sun. The artist chose to use the garden as a metaphor for the terrestrial response to the sun: Abundant plant life with scrolling, entwining leaves, flowers, even what might be roots, aspire to the sunny heavens and anchor their exuberance in the soil. This is an apt metaphor for the health that we all aspire to and idealize in a hospital setting.

More about Untitled1


Untitled 1

Acquired for the Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Center for Breast Health (formerly room 115)

Materials: cast and hammered aluminum, approx. 10’ wide x 7’ high.

Location at Summa Health:  Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Tower on the Akron Campus, main building (141 N. Forge St.), blue neighborhood, ground floor, Williams Center, reception area.

This mural (= “of the wall”) sculpture was specifically acquired for the Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Center for Breast Health to bring Don Drumm’s vitality into patient waiting rooms. The artist has cast molten aluminum to create scrolling vines, leaves, and branches around a central sunflower head aligned with a second, smaller one below.Leaves, stems, branches, and seeds spill across as much as 10’ and up to 7’ high.The artist has worked these forms in high relief and deeply undercut them so that they do not lie flat against the wall but curl, twist, and reorient themselves in such a way that the sculpture can reach as much as 6” into the space before it. It is formally an active piece that asserts the joys of movement and growth.

In addition to surface effects such as hammering and brushing, the sculpture acquires its energy from dense textural passages, from areas where Drumm has repeated form to suggest pattern, and from the apparently ceaseless motion of all the growing elements.Where we might recognize leaf shapes that suggest chestnut or buckeye, morning glory or bindweed, dogwood, and, of course, sunflower, the artist (perhaps that is a reference to him in the large contented frog left of center!) has combined all into a fantastic tangle of exuberance.

More about Untitled2


Acquired for the Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Center for Breast Health

Materials: Cast and hammered aluminum, approx. 7’ high x 7.’ 

Location at Summa Health:  Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Tower on the Akron Campus (141 N. Forge St.), blue neighborhood, ground floor, Williams Center reception area.

This second Drumm relief mural, slightly smaller and more vertical in its feel than the first piece, contains two large, crested birds — phoenixes? — with spread wings and fanned tails perched within a vigorous garden of fantastic vegetation.We recognize the favored Drumm motif of the sunflower/head, set off by smaller leaves and balanced sometimes by giant, palmate leaves that the artist perforates deeply to create areas of light-dark (chiaroscuro) contrast.And while it would be a stretch to seek a story here, we are comforted by familiar patterns of surface treatment — repeated nail-head or boss forms, the restless contours of leaf shapes, contrasts between brushed and unbrushed areas to suggest tones — that reveal the deft hand of the artist at work to shape a vigorous imaginary environment.

See more work by this artist

In addition to his website and the wonderfully labyrinthine spaces of his Crouse Street studio and galleries, work by Don Drumm is widely visible in public and private contexts throughout this part of the state. Don, and his art, has been a witness to history, including to the events of May 4, 1970, at Kent State. Summa Health is fortunate to have three significant sculptures by Drumm in its collection. 

The healing arts at Summa Health


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