Hip Squared

Record stores can get tired and stagnant. Having owned one for the past seven years, Square Records co-founder Dave Ignizio knows this better than most. That's why his Akron store doesn't just stock a huge selection of used vinyl and the latest in alternative and independent releases. It's also home to a 200-square-foot art gallery.

In August, visitors to the Highland Square neighborhood shop were treated to an exhibition of 30 custom-painted Kidrobot toys after local artists were given the challenge of putting their own spin on one of the toy line's blank vinyl Munny figures. That exhibition followed this summer's 33 1/3 show, for which artists were asked to redesign the cover art of a classic album.

"I think [people] like the gallery, the setting," Ignizio says. "It's a little more fun than some traditional galleries."

Next up is the Oct. 2 opening of a show that will feature carnival-and circus-themed artwork. The way Ignizio sees it, Akron is the perfect place for a shop like his that embraces cool independent art as much as it does music. "People underestimate Akron," he says. "It's got a lot of history as far as punk music, outsider music and just general strangeness."

More Info: squarerecordsakron.com

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