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When I first heard about the Akron On Deck Project, I assumed that only visual artists and photographers were eligible to submit ideas and their work for consideration to be placed on one of the playing cards. You know what they say about assumptions. They are rarely accurate, and that proved to be the case with Akron On Deck.

Marilyn and I both had our work displayed at the Art x Love Studio in downtown Akron, and when we went to pick up our work at the close of the exhibit, we engaged in a conversation with Mac Love about the Project. He said that they were also looking for submissions from poets and literary artists as well. I immediately thought of my poem “BLU” about a live recording concert that we had attended at BLU Jazz+ and the photograph that we took while there. To make a long story short, I submitted the photograph and the poem, and Marilyn and I were incredibly grateful and excited to learn that we had been selected to appear on the Ten of Clubs.

Akron On Deck was launched at the start of COVID-19 pandemic by the founders of Art x Love, Mac and Allyse Love, as a Kickstarter project to support local artists and businesses. Remarkedly, in six weeks enough funds were raised to produce the deck. The next step in the Project was to engage the community to help identify which businesses and landmarks would best represent Akron and should be included on the playing cards. The suits were organized by geographic region, and the final cards were selected based on the artists’ submissions.

The custom-designed set of playing cards features fifty-four Akron businesses and landmarks with artwork by fifty-four local artists and creative organizations. Forty percent of the proceeds from the sale of Akron On Deck go to the featured artists. Akron on Deck is entirely printed and made in the U.S.A.

Supplies are limited, and according to the website, they are currently sold out of Akron on Deck. However, they will have more in stock on December 18th. You may reserve your decks now by ordering through their website, and I would urge you to do so:

Barbara Marie Minney is a transgender woman, poet, writer, and speaker. She is a retired attorney and originally from West Virginia. Now based in Tallmadge, Ohio, her first collection of poetry entitled “If There’s No Heaven” was the winner of the 2020 Poetry Is Life Book Award and is available at Follow her at

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