Hi. I hope that you're having a wonderful holiday season. My blog has moved to Culture Tantrum, so please feel free to visit me over there.
Hi. I hope that you're having a wonderful holiday season. My blog has moved to Culture Tantrum, so please feel free to visit me over there.
I don’t know much about comics, but I enjoy reading them and am inspired by the local creators who work hard to build a strong scene. When I heard there was a panel called “A Voltron That Has Yet to Assemble: The Columbus Comics Scene Past, Present, and Future” at CCAD’s Mix comics symposium, I had to attend.
Moderated by James Moore (2-Headed Monster Comics), the panel included Bob Corby (S.P.A.C.E.), Ken Eppstein (Nix Comics), Jenny Robb (Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum), and Jeffrey Stang (The Laughing Ogre). Tom Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter) was the featured guest. As I typed notes, the guy next to me and the lady in front of me doodled cartoons of the panelists.
Spurgeon, the lone panelist not living in Ohio, offered a refreshing perspective.
“Columbus has all of the earmarks of a classic emerging comics scene,” he said. “It was always this terrifying weird city that people talked about but no one knew about, sort of like the South Carolina of cities.”
He referenced our nationally known comic shops and matter-of-fact cosmopolitanism (Ha! He knows us.) Thanks to our large volume of students and institutional support, he thinks Columbus is a “potential juggernaut” in the comics world.
“The Midwest has real audiences of arts enthusiasts,” he said. “And it’s actually kind of a nice place to live.”
Spurgeon established himself in Seattle, where he encountered “a mix of angry old people and angry young people.” He name-dropped a bunch of people he worked with that I’d never heard of. And Gary Larson1.
“Do Columbus comics feel a close connection with one another?” Spurgeon asked. Moore responded that most of them feel a real sense of community. They frequently hang out and share meals together.
“One thing that we all have in common is music as a topic,” Moore said. “A lot of local comics are about musicians.”
Eppstein, who actually molded his business plan after those of local indie bands, aims to publish a monthly cartoon newspaper.
“Columbus is one of the best cross-sections of American culture,” he said. “If you can come here and build an audience, that audience will follow you to other cities.”
When the OSU Cartoon Museum reopens in November, Robb hopes to better serve local comic creators. She’d also like to start a graphic novel book club. In her eyes, when it comes to the future of Columbus comics, “the sky is the limit.”
1 Okay. I vowed not to be That Girl who ran up to him afterward, babbling about how I wrote my college entrance essay about Larson and that two huge compendiums of Larson’s work live in my kitchen. But I thought about it.
The Johnstone Fund for New Music, in partnership with Sunday at Central and Short North Stage, recently joined forces to create “New Music Salon at Short North Stage,” a free contemporary classical music series at the Garden Theater in the Short North.
For the opening performance on October 23 at 7:30 p.m., violinist David Niwa (Artistic Director, Sunday at Central); violinist Olev Viro @Columbus Symphony); violist Ken Matsuda (Columbus Symphony); violist Belinda Reuning Burge (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra); cellist Luis Biava (Columbus Symphony); and cellist Michael Carrera (Professor of Cello, Ohio University) will perform Arnold Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (Verklärte Nacht, 1899). The musicians also will perform Pulitzer-Prize-winning American composer Charles Wuorinen’s String Sextet (1989).
“As we look into the uncertainty of a new century, these two great 20th century works for string sextet show how connected we are to the past,” said Zoe Johnstone, co-founder of the Johnstone Fund for New Music.
The October 23 concert coincides with Short North Stage’s production of the Stephen Sondheim/James Lapine Pulitzer-Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George, which is based on Georges Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Island of the Grande Jatte.” Both Transfigured Night and “Sunday on the Island of the Grande Jatte” were completed at the end of the 19th century as romanticism in the arts gave way to the modern era.
“The Garden Theater was built in 1920 specifically for live music performance,” said Short North Stage board president Peter Yockel. “These concerts help bring the theater back to its original purpose.”
The series continues in 2014 with free concerts on February 19 and June 4.
The sixth annual Independents’ Day takes place on September 20-22 at Gay Street and Pearl Alley in downtown Columbus. The free all-ages festival features local bands, artists, crafters, filmmakers, comedy acts, fashion designers, food trucks, emerging chefs, brewers, and distillers.
More than 40 local bands will perform on four stages, including Lydia Loveless, Fields and Planes, Connections, The Whiles, The Regrettes, Cadaver Dogs, Way Yes, Nick Tolford & Company, Karate Coyote, Cliffs, Bummers, Sleep Fleet, Indigo Wild, The Girls!, Washington Beach Bums, and an appearance by New Bomb Turks.
September 20: 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in Pearl Alley
Nina West will emcee the kickoff celebration, which includes live music by Forest & the Evergreens and Tin Armor, food trucks, and craft vendors.
September 21: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Gay Street and in Pearl Alley
Crafts: Local crafters, including Columbus Crafty Cotillion, will showcase wares. Columbus Craftacular will host a Make N’ Take booth.
Food Trucks/Carts: Mikey’s Late Night Slice and Pattycake Bakery will be on hand, as well as newcomers The Coop, Ajumama, Explorers Club, Mashita Noodles, Tatoheads, Paddy Wagon, Freedom a la Cart, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, and J-Pops.
Up-and-Coming Eats: Emerging chefs, aspiring entrepreneurs, and ambitious home cooks will share free samples.
Beverages: Local brewers and distillers will pour spirits, beer, and mead.
Film: Selections from the Film Festival of Columbus (FFOCOL) will be screened. The Residence Inn will host entries from the Wexner Center for the Arts Ohio Shorts competition, as well as a series of short films by Central Ohio filmmakers.
Fashion: Local fashion designers will host a collaborative fashion show and T-shirt Remodel workshops.
Records and Comic Books: An array of vinyl from local record stores and works from local comic book writers and artists will be available.
Chalk Art: As a preview to Chalk the Block at Easton, local artists will create chalk art alongside the festivities.
Sunday, September 22: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Pearl Alley
The Hills Market and Due Amici will host Brunch and Bloody Marys, followed by urban bobsled cart racing and live acoustic music.
“Expanding this festival to three days is beyond thrilling,” said Independents’ Day captain Alexis Perrone. “Each day was thoughtfully crafted so that people can experience the best of what independent outlets in Columbus have to offer.”
Local designer and pop art aficionado John Buckley created this year’s troubadour-themed festival artwork, signage, posters, and T-shirts.
Sign up for volunteer shifts here.
Zanesville is a special place. It has vast history, heartland charisma, and a deep sense of community. In the six years I’ve been visiting my husband’s hometown, I’ve felt the white-hot hum of a cultural revolution. The area once known as “Clay City” and “Pottery Capital of the World” is now drawing attention for its burgeoning art scene. Passionate and tireless downtown artists have been opening their hearts and their studios on the first Friday night of each month in an effort to jolt the creative pulse of the city.
Now in its 10th year, the First Friday Art Walk represents more than 300 artists. It was founded by the Artist Colony of Zanesville (Art COZ), a visionary organization responsible for launching this growing movement. The Artist Collective is a vibrant micro-community of artists that will be the featured studio at tomorrow night’s First Friday. Artists Carrie “Butterfly” Turner, Natasha Oliver, and Joleen Kinsel opened the collective last May on the fifth floor of the historic Masonic Temple.
“Our goal is to share unique art with people in Zanesville and expose them to new concepts,” Carrie said. “Everyone in our space loves sharing ideas and creating art together.”
Carrie hosts monthly art classes at her studio. She quit her job in February to pursue her dream of being a full-time artist.
“I always encourage people to follow their dreams and go after what they want, so I better be willing to put myself out there and lead by example,” she said. “Art is a way to escape everyday life when needed. It can make a difference, and it’s my objective to show you how.”
The collective, which includes its three founders and eight other artists, specializes in interactive art, community projects, and installation art. It teaches emerging artists how to organize shows and hang pieces. It also knows how to generate some (healthy) controversy. More than 500 people attended its tasteful yet slightly daring Erotic Show last winter.
Tomorrow evening from 5:00 to 8:00, the collective will host a reception to showcase the work of Jessica Bradley, as well as guest artists including Justine Murasky, Holly Murphy, Dede Parker, Jim Parker, Zane Prindle, Jason Smith, Erica Tabet, and Joel Weston. All ages are welcome, and guests are invited to pick up a brush and contribute to the community tree mural.
The fifth annual Y-Bridge Arts Festival also takes place in Zanesville this weekend, with more than 70 visual and performing artists.
“I’d like Zanesville to be an art destination,” said Carrie. “I’d love to see art on every corner.”
Photos of artwork in various studios at the Masonic Temple during July’s First Friday Art Walk.
The next Pecha Kucha Columbus event takes place on August 8 outside of the newly opened studio cooperative Tacocat in Grandview. Atmospheric indie rock band Fever Fever will perform at 7:30 p.m. and presentations begin at 8:30. The suggested donation is $2 per person.
Each speaker will follow the international Pecha Kucha format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include culinary artist Donte Allen, architect Al Berthold, Jim Coe from WCBE 90.5 FM, Blake Compton of Compton Construction, artist Daric Gill, Jessica Mathews with Cbus Cycle Chic, meditation expert Lori Moffett, Beth Poley of Ohioana Library, Erin Scott from Benefactor Group, and physician Randy Sharma. Adam Brouillette will emcee. Pecha Kucha is about sharing passion and creativity, and is not a forum for sales pitches, commercial presentations, or self-promotional material. Presenters are subject to change.
Food trucks will sell refreshments, as organized by Food Fort Columbus. Guests should bring folding chairs. Free parking is available in most surrounding lots. Carpooling and bicycling are encouraged. In case of severe thunderstorms, a rain date has been scheduled for August 15. Updates will be posted on the Pecha Kucha Columbus Facebook and Twitter pages.
There are three shelves of My Little Ponies in my (pink) office. With accessories. Right by the box of Strawberry Shortcake Colorforms and unicorn coloring book, near my Smurf glass. I don’t necessarily broadcast this behavior, but after visiting The Art of the Brick at Discovery Times Square, I realized that there’s absolutely no shame in playing forever. The Art of the Brick features the works of Nathan Sawaya and is the world’s largest display of LEGO art. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the show, which is on display through January 5.
The museum is also hosting a LEGO building contest. Submissions are due by August 19. Now go play.
We all know New York is the city that never sleeps, but it’s more than that. It can morph into any country from around the world at any moment, making it the ultimate shape shifter. I recently asked New York to become Spain, as Spanish culture is my catnip. Last weekend, I went to a flamenco show by Alegrías en la Nacional near the Meatpacking District. Flamenco pulls people on a moody and mysterious journey through love, anger, attraction, and defiance. It ignites something in the deepest part of me.
As I settled into our table (right in front!) and sipped on some (authentic!) sangria, the guitar began strumming and I was a goner. Dancers stomped furiously, their bodies jerking and strutting while their faces glowered and snarled. The intensity was hypnotic. Next time you’re in New York on a Saturday night, please consider supporting Jorge Navarro and his team in this fierce contribution to the flamenco movement. Tickets cost $20.
My next stop was 100 Years of Flamenco in New York at Lincoln Center, which is the only dedicated flamenco exhibit I’ve ever attended. Described as a “love letter” to flamenco in New York, it uncovers the lives of renowned performers through historic photographs, drawings, programs, newspaper articles, sheet music, and costumes. Highlights include a rare video clip of La Macarrona in 1918, photographs of the arresting Carmen Amaya, and an 1840 Currier & Ives lithograph of Fanny Elssler. 100 Years is presented by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, and is on display until August 3. Admission is free.
Lastly, I visited Back Tomorrow: Federico García Lorca / Poet in New York at the New York Pubic Library. Lorca is considered to be Spain’s greatest modern poet and playwright. I read several of his works when studying for my undergraduate degree in Spanish. A free thinker at a time when liberalism wasn’t publicly embraced in Spain, he was a true trend bucker. He wrote Poet in New York after spending several months there in 1929. This is the first time that the manuscript has ever been on display. The exhibit, produced in collaboration with the Fundación Federico García Lorca, features drawings, photographs, letters, and mementos. Lorca was assassinated in 1936 at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, but his rebellious spirit hovers at the core of Spanish culture. Back Tomorrow is on display until July 20. Admission is free.
I’ll always be grateful to New York for being New York, and for being whatever any of us need it to be.
The 5th annual Goodale Park Music Series kicks off in July with these Columbus performing acts:
July 14: Forest & the Evergreens
July 28: Angela Perley & the Howlin’ Moons
August 4: The Spikedrivers
August 11: Way Yes
August 18: The DewDroppers
August 25: Eric Nassau and Friends
Rain date: September 1
All shows take place at the Goodale Park gazebo from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. The series is made possible with generous support from theShort North Foundation, Short North Civic Association, Columbus Recreation & Parks, ComFest,Friends of Goodale Park, and Italian Village Society. Click here for photos of past concerts.
Live Art: A rotating group of artists will create live art throughout the series, including Adam Brouillette, Andrew Lundberg, Fresh A.I.R. Gallery, Michael Quinn, Sara Adrian, TRANSIT Arts, and Urban Scrawl.
Vendors: Participating vendors include 2-Headed Monster Comics, Accessorize Your Accessories,alison rose, Badala, Candle with a Cause, HOMAGE, Sweet Simpliciteas, Todd Beistel (The Horror Show), and What The Rock?
Sound Engineering: Above Sound
Check-In Partner: Yelp Columbus
Elvis Presley will probably forever be considered the King of Rock and Roll. I mean, the man has almost 99,000 Twitter followers, and he passed away 29 years before Twitter began. An estimated 85,000 people impersonate him. But after learning about the free Elvis photography exhibit at Capital University’s Schumacher Gallery, I was skeptical. Rhinestone-studded visions of fist pumps and girdled velvet filled my head. Haven’t we seen all of Elvis there is to see? I headed to Bexley anyway, and was treated to a raw glimpse of the man before the pelvis.
Elvis at 21: Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer contains 56 photographs (most of them 36x48 pigment prints) that were taken during one week in 1956. Wertheimer was a 26-year-old freelance photographer from Brooklyn who had never heard of Elvis, and Elvis could still sit alone at a drugstore counter without getting mobbed. The black-and-white images were shot in close range, and rarely used flash. As evocative as the photos were the anecdotes pinned alongside them.
“I guess he felt that someone should be photographing him because one of these days he was going to be famous,” Wertheimer said. “People asked me later on, ‘What was so different about Elvis?’ I didn’t know at the time, but I would soon understand that first of all, he made the girls cry and second, he permitted closeness.”
Elvis was a hopeless flirt and a wicked dazzler — but he was talented and fearless. This show made me realize that, in spite of all the executives ordering him how to be a star, he defied them and became an icon.
Elvis at 21 was developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service with support from The History Channel. It debuted at the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles on January 8, 2010 (Elvis’ 75th birthday) and has been touring throughout the country. The exhibit will be on display at Schumacher Gallery until April 27.
Some things are best kept secret. Colonel Sanders’ recipe. PIN numbers. What’s whispered at the end of Lost in Translation. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at The Ohio State University is one of the biggest secrets in Columbus, but big plans are in the works to make it a place you won’t forget.
The Cartoon Library was founded in 1977, when Ohio State alumnus and famed cartoonist Milton Caniff donated his artwork to the university. It was named after former Columbus Dispatch cartoonist Billy Ireland, who mentored Caniff. With more than 300,000 original cartoons, 50,000 books, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings, it’s the world’s largest academic research facility dedicated to printed cartoon art. In addition to editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons, it has one of the world’s largest collections of Japanese manga.
This summer, the Cartoon Library will move from its hidden 6,000-square-foot digs behind the Wexner Center for the Arts to a 30,000-square-foot space at Sullivant Hall. The new area will feature three museum-quality galleries for visiting and permanent collections, and will host book tour events, cartooning workshops, and live slide show readings of comics. The Grand Opening Festival is scheduled for November.
There are some amazing exhibits planned for 2014 that you won’t want to miss. Trust me. In the meantime, an exhibit of A.B. Walker’s work opens tomorrow. Walker was a popular early 20th century cartoonist who drew for Life, Harper’s, The Atlantic, The Saturday Evening Post, Judge, and Collier’s. The exhibit runs through April 26 and will be followed by a show of Civil War cartoons. In late May, the Cartoon Library will close for relocation.
The Cartoon Library is free and open to the public, but is a “closed stack” non-circulating institution. While you can’t browse items, you may access anything in the collection by completing simple paperwork and asking staff members for guidance. Researchers from around the globe visit the library to study items in the collection. All artwork is humidity/temperature controlled and stored in acid-free archival materials.
“Tons of famous cartoonists are from Ohio,” McGurk said. “There’s no reason that Columbus shouldn’t be the main comic city in America.”
Renderings courtesy of Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
Bullying is not an easy subject, but thankfully it has been getting lots of global attention. You Will Rise Project hosted a student art exhibit yesterday at Columbus Museum of Art, with pieces by 11 Columbus students aged 11 to 17 who have been victims of bullying. The multimedia display was as haunting and raw as it was uplifting. Each student spent several weeks embracing and releasing their innermost creative spirits with local artist volunteers. Here are some excerpts from the student bios, taken from the event program:
“People would attack me with words…I actually tried to commit suicide. My parents got me help and moved me to a very accepting school. I discovered art and it helped me get out of that dark place where I thought I wasn’t good enough.”
“I started getting bullied in the third grade. Then in sixth grade I started cutting myself. [In] seventh grade I finally tried to commit suicide…I finally found a healthy way to deal with my pain in art.”
“Art saved me…I was bullied because I am an art kid and I didn’t fit in at the other schools I went to…I have now begun to discover myself in my new accepting school that has a zero tolerance for bullying.”
To me, constructive and empowering efforts like these can help save the world. Click here for more photos.
We often hear about programs that benefit the community. Last night at the first annual Short Stop Youth Center Open House, I experienced one that changes it. Children performed monologues from The Wizard of Oz, and the youth band performed such numbers as Seven Nation Army and Somebody That I Used to Know. Mentors spoke passionately about impacting young people’s lives through the arts. The air hummed with creativity and empowerment.
Short Stop is a free after-school program in the Short North for kids aged 7-18, offering activities in theater, art, music, dance, homework help, healthy eating, and drug/alcohol prevention. It’s open Monday to Friday from 2:30 to 8:00 p.m. There are currently 25 children enrolled at the center, which receives funding from United Way of Central Ohio and ADAMH, but it can accommodate more. The group is hosting a free haunted house on October 30.
Click here for more photos.
The eighth annual Craftin’ Outlaws alternative craft fair takes place on Saturday, November 17 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Gateway Film Center. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. Modern handmade goods from more than 50 Midwest vendors will be for sale, including clothing, jewelry, paintings, posters, ceramics, knitted accessories, stuffed animals, soap, stationery, skateboards, and home décor. Early Bird Passes (for shopping access from 10:00 to 11:00) can be purchased online or at the show for $5. Early Bird shoppers will be invited to participate in an Early Bird Raffle, the proceeds of which benefit Project: Zero Ohio.
“At Craftin’ Outlaws, you’ll find gifts that you can’t just get at a mall,” said Megan Green, Craftin’ Outlaws lead organizer and Owner of Stinkybomb Soap. “Each one tells a handmade story.”
Courtesy of Jessica Miller Photography.
The 5th annual Independents’ Day takes place on Saturday, September 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Gay Street and Pearl Alley in downtown Columbus. Presented by Gateway Film Center, this all ages festival celebrates indie culture, commerce, and creativity by offering live music on four stages, artists, crafters, dancers, street performers, restaurants, food trucks/carts, beer tents, and a kids area.
Independents’ Day represents a collaboration of organizations including Capitol Square Rotary, CLOUDHAUS, Columbus Crafty Cotillion, Columbus Young Professionals, The Couchfire Collective, DRAC (Downtown Residents’ Association of Columbus), Etsy Team Columbus, Experience Columbus, Franklinton Arts District, Kobo Live, Locality 2012, Music Loves Ohio, Ohio Historical Society, The SBB (Small Business Beanstalk), and Wonderland Columbus. This year’s Independents’ Day beneficiaries are Columbus Youth Guild and TRANSIT Arts. Sponsors include Gateway Film Center, Alexandra477, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, Columbus Alive, ColumbusLocalMusic.com, Due Amici, Eartha Limited, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Little Industries, The Other Paper, and WCBE 90.5 FM.
New This Year
A free Independents’ Day mobile phone app will launch in August. Other new elements include a dance stage, an Ohio-grown short film festival, a local author fair, a Fashion Collection area with apparel and accessories from local fashion designers, a craft vending machine, a social media corral, and a comedy show.
The application deadline for musicians and vendors is August 1. Dancer applications are due on September 1. Click here to apply.
People who are interested in volunteering at Independents’ Day can sign up for a shift here.
Each speaker will follow the international Pecha Kucha format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include Matthew Barnes and Jacob Taylor with CivitasNow, Bear Braumoeller from Slow Food Columbus, Erin Corrigan of Independents’ Day, Kim Crabtree from IM Creative, Connie De Jong with Global Gallery, dance artist Cassia Hinchman, and artist Lisa McLymont. Presenters are subject to change. Pecha Kucha is about sharing passion and creativity. It’s not a forum for sales pitches, commercial presentations, or self-promotional material.
A pop-up art show will be on display, featuring work by Catherine Bell Smith and Helma Groot. Food trucks will sell refreshments, as organized by Food Fort Columbus. THOUGHTco will screen print T-shirts for guests throughout the evening ($5 for shirts brought from home and $12 to buy a new one). Scott Vayo will deejay.
The suggested donation is $2 per person, benefiting Pecha Kucha Columbus. Attendees are encouraged to bring reusable cups (for the water fountain) and lawn chairs. Junctionview Studios is located at 889 Williams Avenue in Grandview. Free parking is available on the street and alongside the building. Click here for a detailed map. Carpooling and bicycling are encouraged.
Photos by Jill Moorhead
It started somewhere between Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Battlestar Galactica. It was intensified by The Hunger Games, Green Hornet, Super, Iron Man, The Oatmeal, and the Columbus Indie Comix Fair. Yep, my fate has been uncloaked: I have an Inner Nerdesse. Maybe she was always there, lying dormant until the Cylons activated her while being transported via hovercraft to the arena, but I can’t be sure. In my head, Admiral Adama was telling me it was time to join the fleet. And so yesterday I attended the 13th annual SPACE convention. With more than 180 vendors from around the country, it’s the biggest creator-owned comic show in the Midwest. The two-day event is organized by Bob Corby of Back Porch Comics and features thousands of self-published comic books. In addition to hosting workshops and panels, it awards juried prizes to creators in various categories. There are so many talented indie writers, illustrators, graphic artists, and cartoonists with brain-bendingly kinetic material. It’s gratifying to support them directly, since the comic industry has been infiltrated by pop culture behemoths like movies and video games. This is evidenced in the Morgan Spurlock film Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, which was released two weeks ago.
Some personal SPACE highlights included getting my pony portrait, learning that the first edition of Grammar Man had typos, discussing how cats are plotting to overtake humans by communicating through Netflix envelopes, hearing the phrase “well-meaning homeless alligator,” and listening to my husband roar “Boba Fett!” when finding his favorite Star Wars character in a stack of drawings. I may have blurted “Battlestar Galactica is the best show ever” a little louder than I intended, but no one frakking cared. Click here for more photos.
Pecha Kucha Columbus will present its next event on Thursday, May 10 at Eartha Limited. Festivities kick off at 7:00 p.m. with local band Both Girls and presentations begin at 7:30. Each speaker will follow the international PK format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include Beth Berkemer and Ashley Sergent from COTA; Jackie Calderone of TRANSIT Arts; healthy living enthusiast Brian Erchenbrecher; Jung Kim with Columbus Chamber of Commerce and Columbus 2020; OSU student Carrie Krochta; Kenyon College museum curator Natalie Marsh; architects Joseph Mayer and Brandon Pence with DesignGroup; poet Rikki Santer; Columbus State Community College professor Bob Stein; and a representative from 200Columbus. Presenters are subject to change.
A pop-up art show will be on display, with work by Chris Sherman and Kim Webb. TRANSIT Arts will perform during intermission. Local food trucks will sell refreshments, as organized by Food Fort Columbus. THOUGHTco will screen print T-shirts for guests throughout the evening ($5 for shirts brought from home and $12 to buy a new one). Scott Vayo will deejay.
The suggested donation is $2 per person, benefiting Pecha Kucha Columbus. Eartha Limited is located at 371 Maier Place, adjacent to the Scioto Audubon Metro Park in the Brewery District. Free parking is available in Eartha Limited’s lot. Carpooling and bicycling are encouraged.
Pecha Kucha Night was devised and shared by Klein Dythan architecture. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for “chitchat,” it was founded in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for designers to meet and share their work in public. More than 500 cities around the world now host PK events. Pecha Kucha Columbus was formed in 2007 and holds four events a year.
The Short North Foundation is accepting requests for grants between $500 and $2,500 from area organizations with projects taking place in or around the Short North. Specifically, the Foundation seeks projects and programs that benefit Short North area residents, unite Short North neighborhoods, and incorporate or preserve public works of art and architecture.
The deadline to submit a grant proposal is June 29. Projects requiring multiple-year funding will be considered. Past projects that have been funded by the Foundation include the Goodale Park Music Series, Screen on the Green movie series in Goodale Park, Harrison Park Art Awards, tree plaques in Goodale Park, flower beds in Italian Village Park, Columbus Art Walks, and the Columbus Film Council. To request grant guidelines and a grant application, email Alexandra Kelley Fox.
Founded in 2000, the Short North Foundation aims to advance the creative spirit, diversity, and vitality of the Short North Neighborhoods and Short North Arts District. It maintains partnerships with the Friends of Goodale Park, Harrison West Society, Italian Village Commission, Italian Village Society, Short North Business Association, Short North Civic Association, Short North Special Improvement District, and the Victorian Village Commission. Since its inception, the Foundation has worked with neighborhood civic organizations to help fund Short North area bench restorations, consistent neighborhood sign programs, bicycle bollards, the Community Campaign for Creating Encounters in Urban Art and History, the Short North Parking Initiative, the Short North Pocket Parks Campaign, and the Short North District Roundtables.
I used to be so jealous of the kids who went to Fort Hayes. Yes, I was very fortunate to attend the school that I did — but Fort Hayes bleeds magic. An alternative high school in the Columbus Public Schools system, admission is based on a lottery system. With a strong focus on visual art, music, and the performing arts, it has this thumping and saucy straight-out-of-Fame aura. I was honored to be asked to participate in a panel discussion there yesterday about arts and social change.
Led by Fort Hayes’ Technical Theatre Director Rodney Grist, the three-hour session took place at Shot Tower Gallery. It explored the ability and responsibility of Central Ohio arts organizations to impact social change, and the possible formation of a socially conscious nonprofit arts organization. The 11-person panel was a “change project” for Grist’s PhD study in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. In small groups and as a whole, we brainstormed how arts programs should tackle social injustice and oppression. We also dissected the needs of Columbus arts educators and studied our own individual roles as change fosterers.
Our music, visual arts, theater, film, and multimedia programs comprise a huge part of the Columbus soul. They’re engrained in our history and in our future. They inspire us to create and teach us to collaborate. They continue to make us unique. We owe it to everyone in our community, from young children to senior citizens, to be hyper-committed to this cause. Columbus Arts and Experience Columbus offer outstanding events calendars that are searchable by date, location, discipline, and price (including free). Now excuse me while I break out the glitter and legwarmers. I’m gonna live forever, I’m gonna learn how to fly.
In the first chapter of the brilliant book Orbiting the Giant Hairball, varying ages of school children are asked to raise their hands if they’re artists. All of the first graders raise their hands, half of the second graders do, and then a third of the third graders. The older we get, the more self-conscious we become — but we all possess creative spirit, and many of us have an inherent ability to promote compassion. I was reminded of that yesterday during the opening reception of Poetry in Motion at the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Carnegie Gallery.
The pieces in this collection were made by Columbus youth aged 5-21 in the Art in the House and TRANSIT ARTS out-of-school programs. They were inspired by poems from the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion project, with guiding civil rights themes of Rosa Parks and the “Power of One.” The free exhibition, which was curated by Stephanie Rond, marks a collaboration between the library, GCAC, and COTA. Reproductions of some of the artwork will be installed on 300 COTA buses starting this month. Poetry in Motion will be on display through March 27. Click here for more photos.
The first Columbus Indie Comix Fair was held today at Ace of Cups. Presented by SPACE (Small Press & Alternative Comic Expo) and Nix Comics, it featured comic books and artwork by 2Headed Monster, Aliastrations, Back Porch Comics, Blink Comics, Ferret Press, Monkey’s Retreat, Neno World, Nix Comics, Pander Bear, Symphony of the Universe, and Yuri the Comic. Click here for more photos.
Before last night, I thought murals were just really cool works of public art. I didn’t perceive them as portals through which communities could stage improvement revolutions. But during the opening reception of Good Design in Hard Times at Whetsone Public Library, I learned a few things.
“A mural can be a transitional way to project the future,” said Eliza Ho, co-founder of the nonprofit group ALTernative. She and her husband Tim Lai presented about four Columbus projects they helped manage that are small in scale, but soaring in community impact. They founded ALTernative last year to benefit neighborhoods through art and design and to offer a platform where people can share ideas.
A graffiti-ridden wall at the southwest corner of Hudson and Summit Streets is now a panorama of bright painted trees, thanks to Wild Goose Creative and a slew of local supporters. The first piece of the SoHud Community Mural Project, it was unfurled last September by artists Jon Stommel and Travis Czekalski. ALTernative has proposed a second mural at the former Hudson Theater, which is covered in graffiti and has been abandoned for decades. Its “secret garden” design and surrealist pink stairways spark hope for a renaissance of the building.
Ohio Bird Mural
Inspired by the passion of the Lower Olentangy Urban Arboretum and Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed, this Glen Echo Ravine installation transforms a vandalized bridge underpass into an educational bird sanctuary. It will spotlight 20 Ohio bird species and feature 15 custom bird “abodes.” The project is set to be unveiled on July 14 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Glen Echo Park.
With more than 100 food trucks and carts roaming our streets, Columbus has become a mobile food mecca. Dinin’ Hall is a groundbreaking street food hub concept that will bump the phenomenon to a sleeker level. Offering a communal space where people can enjoy food truck delicacies, it simplifies ordering and minimizes lines. The 1,300-square-foot space at the loading dock of 400 West Rich in Franklinton is scheduled to open in late April.
“This is all about using design as a solution,” Tim said. Good Design in Hard Times will be on display at Whetstone Library through the end of April.
Schizophrenia is a heavy word. Sometimes we use it in jest, but the condition after which it’s named is dire. It casts a sense of shame that is so strong and dark, its sufferers have trouble coping. This is why Cincinnati artist and care provider Michael Coppage took action. For two years, he captured the “apathy, anger, and fear” he felt while counseling patients, and interpreted his experiences in a series of sculptural pastel portraits. The result is Stigmatized: The African-American Male and Schizophrenia, which opened on Wednesday night at Fresh A.I.R. Gallery in Columbus.
“I view Schizophrenia as a terminal illness with symptoms that carriers struggle to control their entire lives,” said Coppage. “The need to fit in and ‘be normal’ is often the biggest barrier to medication adherence and routine mental health treatment for the young African-American male population diagnosed with a mental illness.”
With this beautifully brave exhibit, Coppage aims to conjure something vital: Empathy. “We need all of the help and support we can get,” he said.
Fresh A.I.R. Gallery (A.I.R. stands for Artists in Recovery) highlights art created by individuals who are affected by mental illness and substance abuse. It educates community members and dispels stigmas by focusing on journeys of recovery and artistic spirit.
Stigmatized will be on display through March 30. An artist’s talk with Coppage will take place at the gallery on March 30 at 4:00 p.m. Click here for more photos.
Some of us are visual people. We must see things in order to comprehend them. When beholding 100 Years of Art: Celebrating Columbus’ Legacy at the Riffe Gallery, one thing is quite clear: Our city is an evolving creative force. This free exhibit is presented by the Ohio Arts Council in honor of the Columbus Bicentennial and celebrates art that shaped our heritage. It features more than 60 pieces by artists including George Bellows, Emerson Burkhart, Roy Lichtenstein, Elijah Pierce, and James Thurber. Melissa Wolfe from the Columbus Museum of Art, who curated this diverse tribute, credits our unique artistic personality to the “remarkably easy and dynamic exchange” among our communities. We indeed offer a rare blend of global context, Midwestern accessibility, and local fervor — and it couldn’t be more visually stunning. 100 Years of Art is on display through April 15. Free group tours are available by making a reservation. Click here for more photos.
ImageOHIO12 opened at the Shot Tower Gallery last night. Presented by ROY G BIV Gallery, it unfurls a strong, evocative cosmos of photography and video. Selected artists of this 12th annual show include Brandon Antczak, W.E. Arnold, Brittney Denham, Nick Fancher, Jenny Fine, Leah Fisher, Mark Fohl, Rachel Girard-Reisert, Arden Grace, Rebecca Holbrook, John Hooks, Brittany Kunkel, Amy Leibrand, Jacqueline McGilvray, Ardine Nelson, Allison Pierce, Jana Pryor, Lizz Stringfield, Chanika Svetvilas, Laurel Talabere, Crystal Tursich, Heidi Weller, and Charlotte Woolf. The exhibit is juried by Chris Stults, who noted that several pieces “stood out for the ways that they tried to convey something that was absent.” It will be on display through February 24. Click here for more photos.
Pecha Kucha Columbus will celebrate its 5th anniversary on Thursday, February 16 at the Columbus Museum of Art. Festivities kick off at 6:00 p.m. with musician Enrique Infante and presentations begin at 6:30. Hosted by CMA’s Center For Creativity, PK will take place in Derby Court and the Cardinal Health Auditorium*. Each speaker will follow the international format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include Oron Benary with SOLE, architectural photographer Brad Feinknopf, OSU medical student Danny Ash, Dwight Heckelman of Groove U, Jess Mathews from Consider Biking, Steve Shapiro with The Educational Council, Mark Farmer from Team 614, and Scott Vayo of BPM Productions. Presenters are subject to change.
Guests will have access to CMA’s galleries throughout the evening. Musical act Coal Fired Bicycle will perform during intermission. Local food trucks and indoor food vendors will sell refreshments, as organized by The Food Fort at ECDI. A cash bar will be available and Genre Creative will provide a free photo booth. The suggested donation is $2 per person. Free parking is available in the CMA parking lot and the State Auto lot just east of the museum. Since it began in Tokyo in 2003, Pecha Kucha has become a global force with events in more than 460 cities around the world. Pecha Kucha Columbus was founded in February of 2007 and this will be our 20th event.
* There will be a raised 7-foot screen in Derby Court and a 12-foot screen in the auditorium.
Every so often, a collection of art sparks the spirit of the past while evoking promise for the future. Cityscapes Yesteryear: Past and Present at the King Arts Complex is one of those exhibits. The 59-piece show opened on Thursday in commemoration of the Columbus Bicentennial. It celebrates our urban history through the works of Harvey Gilliam, Roman Johnson, Kojo Kamau, and Leon Page.
Gilliam is a 90-year-old Near East Side native known for his watercolor explorations of historic neighborhoods and city landscapes. He studied at the Columbus College of Art & Design and drew deep inspiration from renowned Ohio painter Emerson Burkhart. He always felt that art was his chosen profession and remembers the site, season, and year of all his paintings. Johnson (1917-2005) was also from the Near East Side. Widely respected amongst his peers, he befriended and painted alongside Burkhart for years. He studied in New York and Paris and had work displayed at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Page (1925-2003) studied at CCAD and considered himself a contemporary impressionist. He used his paintings and watercolors to document his personal views of the African American life experience. He actively participated in the Ohio Watercolor Society and crafted murals in prominent community spaces throughout Ohio, Michigan, and Canada. Kamau is an award-winning photographer and co-founder of Art for Community Expression (ACE). A Near East Side native who is now in his early 70’s, he worked as a photojournalist for the United States Air Force and as a medical photographer for The Ohio State University. He has won numerous awards for both his photography and cultural activism. His leadership has been an instrumental force in launching programs and galleries to propel African American artists.
Oh, Holiday Season. You’re so festive and I love you, but things can get out of hand when you’re around. Shopping malls become High Spazz Zones where every driver is angry and McWidgets sell by the gross. Thankfully, there are less traditional (and more rewarding) ways of reaping your splendor. The Festivus holiday open house and art show at 400 West Rich took place on Saturday. More than 30 local artists have rented studios in this Franklinton warehouse, including Andew Lundberg, Columbus Artmobile, David Denniston, Etsy Team Columbus, Joss Parker, Jurate Phillips, Lisa McLymont, Michael Halliday, Sara Adrian, and Shawn Walburn. The space is basically like a sweet urban hotel where you visit everyone’s rooms and get blitzed1 by awesome feats of expression. Also on Saturday, the cool kids from Cow Town Low Brow opened their latest art show Salon De’ Salon at Hot Head Salon in Clintonville. With 50 bold new works by Ashley Voss, Carolyn Slebodnik, Corey Aumiller Cyrus Fire, Dan Gerdeman, Joey Monsoon, Stephanie Rond, Marina Goldshteyn, and Sharon Dorsey, the hair-themed exhibit donated a portion of proceeds to The Hair Theater Fund.
See? Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a mass-produced frenzy fraught with swear words and fistfuls of Advil. It can involve real people with real souls, and keep dollars in your local economy. Click here for more photos of Festivus and here for more photos of Salon De’ Salon.
1 The regular season of college football is over. This is me using pigskin terminology to keep the fire burning. Maybe it’s encroachment, but this is my blog. And you can like both art and football.
There are times for pretty and vapid art, but now isn’t one of them. Our economy is mangled. Socio-political deceit has reached a frightening high. We’re being smothered by over-commercialization and over-exploitation. At this precise moment, art should mean something. Columbus street art hero Vinchen just held a show of more than 20 new works at Invisible Gallery on King Avenue. It was presented by Rivet and ended yesterday, a fortnight before Guy Fawkes Day. Through ground level wall murals and floor installations, it hurled statements against corporate mistrust, reverse patriotism, and pseudo-feminism. Vinchen’s identity remains unknown, but this exhibit brilliantly unmasked his/her psyche. Click here for more photos.
Certain seasonal rituals should never be disrupted. Every October, I fire up the pumpkin candles, bake obscene amounts of acorn squash, and start my holiday shopping at Craftin’ Outlaws Alternative Craft Fair. This helps achieve balance in the world, or at least in my head. Yesterday was the seventh annual Craftin’ Outlaws at the Gateway Film Center. It featured more than 50 local craft vendors selling handmade items including screen printed shirts, knitted scarves, plush creatures, letterpress prints, journals, aprons, corsets, soaps, hand stitched bags, and rock ‘n’ roll jewelry. A portion of the event’s proceeds benefits Rwanda Knits, which provides knitting machines and business training to low-income Rwandan women.
“It’s exciting that after seven years, we still have so much buzz,” said Craftin’ Outlaws organizer Megan Green. “We’re really grateful for the continued outpouring of love and support from the Columbus community.”
Click here for more photos.
I believe that art is about timing. Depending on where you are in your mindspace, it can have different effects. In beautifully rare instances, you meet the right work of art at the right moment and something cataclysmic occurs. But having two of those experiences in one day, at the same place? I thought that was impossible. Until we went to the Asia Society Museum in New York on Sunday.
Emaciated Siddhartha is a third-century sculpture in the The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara exhibit. It’s a unique depiction of the Buddha Shakyamuni, whose drastically gaunt body slumps with jutting bones and a downcast spirit from years of intense asceticism. According to history, he realized at this low point that harsh personal measures wouldn’t save him from terminal suffering. So he embarked on the moderate approach known as the Middle Path and achieved enlightenment. As someone who has severely struggled with body image, I interpreted this as simple, powerful permission to seek harmony. Staring into the Buddha’s hollow eyes, and knowing that he found physical and emotional peace through balance, was the most nourishing reminder I could have asked to receive. Emaciated Siddhartha is one of more than 70 works of Buddhist sculpture, architectural reliefs, and gold/bronze pieces that will be on display through October 30.
Drawing inspiration from a 10th-century Indian sculpture is the giant work of metal poetry called Custos Cavum (“Guardian of the Hole”) by Korean artist U-Ram Choe. It’s part of Asia Society’s U-Ram Choe: In Focus exhibit. The “In Focus” series features contemporary artists who create new works inspired by pieces in the museum’s permanent collection. Choe’s sculptures, which have been referred to as “biomorphic mechanical sculptures,” are made of stainless steel, resin, motors, gears, custom CPU boards, and LED’s. He animates them with robotics that he develops and programs. Custos Cavum is a guardian that takes the shape of a seal. His purpose is to make sure that small holes in the earth remain open to connect two separate worlds. When the holes begin closing, he gnaws them open. When the guardian feels the opening of a new hole, he falls into a deep sleep. Are you with me? Because this is really cool. Winged spores called Unicuses grow from his sleeping body and fly to a new hole, unleashing a new generation of guardians. Eventually all of the guardians die and the two worlds cease to communicate. But then Unicuses start growing from a bone of the last remaining Custos Cavum, leaving hope that the holes connecting both worlds will one day open again.
Custos Cavum measures 865/8" x 1413/4" x 1023/8" and rests in his own room at the museum. He moves slowly and hypnotically, like a Hayao Miyazaki film. I’m telling you, this massive robotic seal is as alive as you and me. He breathes in and out as his spores flutter and sway. I fell into in a trance that was gentle and playful and sad. My first reaction was to laugh, and then to cry. I felt like I was 5 years old, and I felt like I was 85. I realized a world of things, and I realized nothing. In an interview with the show’s curator, Choe said “I have a habit of watching viewers react to my work. The moment my piece starts moving, some viewers seem to marvel as if they were seeing a religious icon in a temple or cathedral. Others react almost as if facing the grandeur of nature, like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Observing their reactions, I have wondered what art, religious icons, and natural wonders may have in common. I believe the common element may be the sense of wonder we feel when we encounter something that goes beyond the realm of logic and seems to transcend the death and suffering that we are bound to as human beings.”
That sense of wonder is something I’ll never forget. U-Ram Choe: In Focus is on display through January 2.
Image courtesy of Asia Society Museum.
There’s no other building in Columbus like 400 West Rich in Franklinton. Some refer to the giant warehouse as a multi-use industrial complex, but I think of it as a soulful urban castle with dense bursts of natural light and refreshing views of the skyline. We’re holding our next Pecha Kucha Columbus event there on Thursday, November 10. Festivities kick off at 7:00 p.m. with local band The Ginger Lees and presentations begin at 7:30. Each speaker will follow the international Pecha Kucha format of showing 20 images and speaking about each image for 20 seconds. Presenters include Eva Ball with Glass Axis; artist Juan Carrera; Kevin Eigel of Ecohouse Ohio; museum historian Wendy Fergusson; poet Jennifer Hambrick from WOSU; Ruby Harper from the Greater Columbus Arts Council; artists/musicians/educators Michelle Ishida and Tera Stockdale; Montessori Education activist Diane Meves; librarians Becky O’Neil and Rachel Rubin; and photographer Uma Sanghvi. Comedy group Columbus is Funny will perform during intermission. Abstract art collective Abx Columbus will install a one-night-only art show featuring large-scale compositions. Local food trucks will sell refreshments, as organized by The SBB. THOUGHTco will screen print T-shirts for guests throughout the evening ($5 for shirts brought from home and $10 to buy a new one). The suggested donation is $2 per person, benefiting Pecha Kucha Columbus. Free parking is available in the lot east of the building and along Lucas Street. Click here for a map. Attendees are encouraged to carpool and to bring folding chairs.
Pecha Kucha was founded in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for designers to meet and share their work in public. It has since mushroomed into a global phenomenon with events in more than 445 cities. Drawing its name from the Japanese phrase for “the sound of chitchat,” it rests on a simple and momentum-driven presentation format. Pecha Kucha Columbus was formed in 2007. This will be our 19th event.
During last night’s Gallery Hop in the Short North, it hit me for the thousandth time: Columbus is one positive, passionate force. We visited four exhibits along High Street, starting with Oxygen Art Auction by The Digital Immigrants at Voodoo Denim Lounge. It features five unique interpretations of World War II high-altitude oxygen tanks. Half of all proceeds from the auction, which ends in late November, will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Next was Spectacle by Coreroc at Image Optical, a series of portraits whose subjects wear glasses. Then we stopped by Rivet Gallery to see a group show of screen prints by Clinton Reno, Graham Erwin, and Ryan Brinkerhoff. Our last stop was the third annual Yummy Art Show, which showcases food-inspired pieces created by 40 artists. A fundraiser for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and promoter of Local Foods Week, it was held at Brothers Drake Meadery. In the past day alone, I’ve heard friends say “We’re so lucky to live here” and “How awesome is our city?” I couldn’t agree more. Click here for more photos.
Sometimes I wonder if residents of other states have as much pride as Ohioans. You know those Ohio Shaped Everythings we have at our community events? The T-shirts, stickers, posters, coasters, soaps, necklaces, and tattoos? They’ve convinced me that my own beating heart is Ohio-shaped. Independents’ Day was held yesterday in Downtown Columbus at Gay Street and Pearl Alley, and it was the most recent example in which I felt stampeded by homegrown affection. There were four stages with more than 40 bands, dozens of food trucks, dancers, street performers, crafters, artists, a kids area, and a bicycle corral. Everything was organized by and for locals, and all participating businesses were independently owned. Not only does Ohio make a cool visual icon, its inhabitants are shaping one fierce cultural phenomenon. Click here for more photos.