By Jennifer Sadler and Jami Goldstein

Columbus is quickly gaining a reputation on the global stage as a sophisticated, smart and open city. The Intelligent Communities Forum announced in January its annual list of the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of the Year, and Columbus is the only U.S. city on the list, selected from among the Smart21 of 2013. Much of this year’s nomination focused on workforce development efforts in the region to build a knowledgeable workforce capable of competing in a 21st century economy.

Columbus has done a great job weathering the economic strife of the past several years. In fact, when it comes to rebounding from the recession, the On Numbers Economic Index shows that Columbus currently ranks no. 4 among 102 cities for its economic vitality.

So what’s art got to do with it?

The arts and culture sector of Columbus constitutes a major industry in its own right. Creative organizations and businesses employ workers. They pay bills and utilities. They support their local communities. And they bring more people downtown than other types of organizations. Like other businesses, the arts sector has become wiser and savvier as they’ve had to adjust to doing more with less. They’ve willingly embraced the power of partnerships and collaborations, have become better organized, more fiscally responsible and more conscientious about communicating their value and attracting a broader audience. The arts sector has learned to consider new approaches to programs and initiatives that have existed for many years but have not been well-funded or given the priority they deserve.

Columbus’ arts and cultural assets are important components of our economic development and are a good investment—not only because they serve as a catalyst for economic vitality, but becaue they contribute significantly to the quality of life which has become one of the distinguishing strengths of our city. It’s no surprise that Columbus rated among the strongest cities in Creative Cities International’s 2011 "Vitality Index.” Creative Cities International, a New York-based consulting organization that values local culture in urban planning, looked at a balanced mix (for geography and size) of 35 U.S. cities including New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston.

More recently, Columbus ranked at #13 in AmericanStyle magazine’s June 2012 issue list of the Top 25 Big Cities for Art. Columbus is in a great place.  Clearly the time has arrived for the arts in Columbus.  By creatively promoting the assets that draw crowds and attract successful businesses, the arts and cultural sector sharpen our city’s competitive edge.

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Dots Artist Profile: DONCEE COULTER

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 an average of 30,000 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 a few of the many talented individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community. This month's profile features Columbus native, DonCee Coulter, a multi-media artist influenced by family, hip-hop culture and a man dedicated to using art to help the youth in his community.

"I come from a family of artists and musicians. My father, uncle and grandfather directly influenced me. In addition to my family, I would say the culture of hip-hop really did a lot in terms of sparking my creativity. From graffiti art and poetic rhymes to converting a turntable into a musical instrument, I was captivated."

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Columbus Gay Men's Chorus Presents What I Did For Love

Celebrate with the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus’ (CGMC) select ensemble, Vox, on this special Valentine’s Day weekend as they explore the many journeys where love takes us during their performance of What I Did for Love. The performance will be fully choreographed and full of fun and entertaining music.

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Columbus Museum of Art presents Mark Rothko

The Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) celebrates one of the most influential and best-known artists of the 20th century with the exhibition Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade, 1940 – 1950. Featuring some 37 works, this exhibition includes paintings, watercolors and works on paper drawn largely from the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

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Ohio Falun Dafa Association Presents Shen Yun

Shen Yun Performing Arts, a nonprofit organization based in New York, is the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company with the mission of reviving 5,000 years of divinely inspired Chinese civilization; an exhilarating show you will never forget.

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