Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
Jennifer Sadler

“I wanted our staff to do something outside of the arts to celebrate the holiday season; to give something back to the community in a different way,” said Tom Katzenmeyer, president of the Greater Columbus Arts Council of the staff’s recent volunteer experience at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank (MOF).  Instead of an annual holiday party, the Arts Council staff chose to spend a morning donating their time and a little elbow grease to help sort and package food to be delivered to those in need.  It was a unique and inspiring experience, and an opportunity to step outside of a daily immersion in the local arts to see what social service organizations are doing for the central Ohio area.  And little did we know, we’d find that MOF has been utilizing the power of the arts to further their mission to raise awareness about hunger.

Many people don’t realize the staggering impact food insecurity has in our area.  Thousands of people in central and eastern Ohio are facing hunger every day. Many are faced with difficult situations, having to choose between paying for housing, utilities or medical expenses and putting food on the table.

Knowing the facts—and the faces—behind hunger is crucial and understanding it better will help in finding solutions.  More than 248,000 individuals, including 86,975 children and 17,395 seniors receive emergency food each year through MOF within a 20-county service area.  These numbers represent a 28 percent increase since the findings reported in Hunger in America 2006.  In any given week, more than 40,000 people receive emergency food assistance from a food pantry, soup kitchen, or emergency shelter served by MOF.

MOF provides food to hundreds of thousands of our hungry neighbors each year by partnering with more than 550 emergency feeding sites across central and eastern Ohio. Since 1980, MOF has joined food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, and after-school programs to make food accessible to those in our communities who are hungry. In 2013, MOF distributed 48.6 million pounds of food enabling its partner charities to provide more than 107,000 meals every day.  This incredible growth in distribution—compared to 18.7 million pounds in 1999—indicates the dire need to raise awareness and find even more resources for acquiring, storing and distributing food.  In 2009, the MOF moved to a new facility—one big enough to hold nearly four football fields—to accommodate the demand.


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The Ukulele Cowboy Society blends old jazz standards with the unique sound of the ukulele. Artist Profile
Vernell Bristow Headshot Performance Poet
Vernell Bristow

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. 

For this issue, we interviewed an amazingly talented and revered local performance poet, Vernell Bristow.  A native of Covington, Kentucky (right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati), she began writing poetry while a student at Denison University.  She moved to Columbus in 1994 to attend graduate school at The Ohio State University.  Bristow is the co-founder of Writer’s Block Poetry and for several years has participated in regional, national and international slam poetry competitions, as well as the annual Columbus Arts Festival poetry competition.  If you haven’t seen her perform – you must.  Her work ranges from poignant to hilarious, reflecting her keen, sensitive observations of everyday life.

“Performing poetry has definitely been an evolution.  I have always thought that poetry is meant to be heard.  Even before I wrote my first poem in 1992, I was compelled to read poems aloud while reading them.  My involvement in slams made me more conscious of how I can impact the way audience members experience my poetry through the performance.”

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Sneak Peek

Sunday at Central Presents Igor Lovchinsky

Rising star pianist Igor Lovchinsky has a soft spot for Columbus. An internationally recognized pianist on the brink of classical music stardom, Igor Lovchinskyhe was born in Russia and raised in Central Ohio. After graduating from Gahanna Lincoln High School, he earned degrees from Juilliard and the New England Conservatory. On January 26, he’ll return to Columbus for a free performance at Columbus Museum of Art presented by Sunday at Central. This will be his first concert here since 2010.

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Columbus Museum of Art Presents Toulouse-Lautrec

The Eiffel Tower just debuted, there’s can-can at the Moulin Rouge, and iconic Toulouse-Lautrec posters gild the city. Visit this golden age of Paris at the turn of the last century at Columbus Museum of Art’s Toulouse-Lautrec and La Vie Moderne: Paris 1880 – 1910, opening February 7, 2014. The exhibition includes more than 180 objects, ranging from paintings, watercolors, drawings and posters, to rare cabaret shadow puppets and illustrated theater programs.

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CityMusic Columbus presents Jazz/Gospel Brunch with Christian Howes and Bobby Floyd

Columbus Jazz Icons - violinist Christian Howes and pianist Bobby Floyd - come together again for a special performance at Via Vecchia Winery on Sunday, January 12 as part of the CityMusic Columbus concert series. Nominated recently for jazz “violinist of the year” by the Jazz Journalists Association, Christian Howes was voted first place in the 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll (rising stars/jazz violin).

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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.