Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
Give the Gift of “Home” this Holiday Season
By Maggie Willis

It’s no secret that Santa has Columbus on his “good” list. Our city is home to a wealth of artistic talent and creativity that rivals even the major metropolises, and this season you can find real treasures in our local markets and stores: unique, personal, one-in-a-million gifts are everywhere in Columbus. Not only will the work of local Columbus talent delight your family members, it will benefit our city many times over. Buying gifts from Columbus gives a gift to Columbus, and ultimately, back to ourselves.

The power of buying locally has been thoroughly demonstrated. A 2013 report at shows that every $100 spent at local independent businesses feeds almost $70 back into the local economy, versus only $48 when shopping at larger chain stores. The positive effects of shopping locally are even more evident when examined per square feetlocal shops produce a net annual return of $326 per 1,000 square feet, while big box stores create a net annual deficit of $468 per 1,000 square feet. Shopping local also benefits the environment by saving on shipping costs and encourages local business owners to recycle and reuse local materials, and overall, it generates 3.5 times more wealth locally than shopping at large, multi-national retailers. And it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference: if every family spent only $10 more a month on local, independent businesses, over 9.3 billion dollars would be returned directly to our local economy, which ultimately helps to boost the national economy.  

And giving to Columbus as you give to your family and friends this holiday is so easy. Columbus has over a dozen craft fairs and locally-oriented shops popping up around the city throughout the holiday season. Our city’s local arts community also provides many opportunities to give gifts that last into the New Year when you gift an experience: tickets for local performances next year are available now. Or, you can give a gift that lasts a lifetime with local arts classes in dance, music, glass, painting and metalworking. Maybe a loved friend or family member will discover the artist in themselves, and become part of the Columbus Makers’ community next year.

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A Conversation with Donna Collins, Executive Director at the Ohio Arts Council Artist Profile
Mary Ann Crago Headshot mixed media artist, librarian
Mary Ann Crago

By Jennifer Sadler

As the most comprehensive online events guide and resource for arts and culture in central Ohio, offers a virtual guide through the Columbus art world with a searchable database of events, concerts, performances and more. is an engaging place for artists and arts organizations to share what they do, with thousands of users per month. The Artist Directory allows visual, performing and literary artists to create a profile and portfolio to showcase their work—for free—and enables art enthusiasts to easily search for and connect with them. Our monthly artist profile series features interviews with some of the many talented
individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community.

This month’s profile features Mary Ann Crago, whose work reflects her strong intuition and courage in pushing herself out of her comfort zone as an artist.  In doing so, her work has evolved from primarily two-dimensional, abstract landscape paintings, to exquisite mixed-media assemblages that have a dreamy quality and represent her love of nature and collecting strange and beautiful things that strike her fancy.  As Crago explains on her profile, these newer works “explore the beauty of objects whose histories are muddled, hidden and lost. Things that are old, dusty and weathered, handwritten words in forgotten volumes and stoic faces peering out from frozen snapshots.”  

” I collect things and I make art and at some point the two came together. My art happens when I combine found objects, paint, text and hand sculpted elements. Birds, wings and words are reoccurring themes in most of my work. I also have a small compulsion to collect every antique photo I can find. I’m inspired by nature, good art, old stuff and friends.”

Continue to full interview →

Sneak Peek

Ohio Designer Craftsmen: Winterfair

Winterfair features ceramics, glass, wearable art, jewelry, sculpture, painting and photography by more than 400 artists.

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Pizzuti Collection Holiday Family Day

The day will feature a guided children’s tour, an art inspired scavenger hunt and each child will be given a sketchbook.

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Both funny and touching, it’s a story that appeals to children and adults alike.

Continue Reading → © 2016 Greater Columbus Arts Council. All Rights Reserved.
GCAC appreciates and acknowledges support from: City of Columbus, Franklin County and the Ohio Arts Council.

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Front Row Center provides an in-depth look into the creative individuals and organizations that make the Central Ohio arts and cultural community unique. Front Row Center features articles about local and national arts issues, profiles of creative professionals, previews of upcoming events and the inside scoop on what’s happening in the arts in Columbus. For complete submission guidelines please visit our Publications Page.