By Jennifer Sadler
Established in 1949 with $7,200 in seed money donated by an all-women’s charity group, the Arts Council of Winston-Salem in North Carolina became the first arts council in the United States and has served as a model for the more than 4,000 arts councils that exist across the country today. The arts council movement was sparked by the need for a representative organization that could serve as a leader for the collective arts interests of a community. From raising awareness of the value of the arts and preserving local culture and artistic traditions to establishing funding and other types of resources that enable area artists and organizations to thrive, an arts council becomes the collective “voice” for the arts in their surrounding neighborhoods.
No two arts councils or communities are alike, nor should they be—and the relationship between area arts councils and the creative community becomes synergistic. A successful arts council strives to respond to the creative needs that are unique to their community, and in turn, the artists and arts organizations are able to flourish with their support. What is common to all is a desire to spark cultural growth by promoting and coordinating the arts at a grassroots level—and most important, making arts experiences accessible to everyone in the community.
Central Ohio, just like any region, needs large institutions to set standards and serve as cultural anchors. But people also want arts experiences that are close to home and part of their daily lives. There are more than a dozen suburbs that surround the city of Columbus and the arts are an important part of the vitality of these neighborhoods. As Central Ohio continues to grow, more suburban communities are taking steps to build and put a spotlight on their unique identities and offerings—which can only make our entire region stronger.
GCAC recently spoke with several representatives of surrounding suburban arts councils and arts centers about their own special ways of approaching their mission—from fun social events and live concerts, to partnering with local schools and exhibitions powerful enough to change a person’s perspective. We asked them to share some stories that reflect the artful impact they are making on their communities.
By Jennifer Sadler
As the most comprehensive online events guide and resource for arts and culture in central Ohio, ColumbusArts.com offers a virtual guide through the Columbus art world with a searchable database of events, concerts, performances and more. ColumbusArts.com is an engaging place for artists and arts organizations to share what they do, with an average of 30,000 users per month. The ColumbusArts.com 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 ColumbusArts.com artist profile series features interviews with a few of the many talented individuals who make up central Ohio’s thriving creative community. Local artist, Amandda Tirey Graham, came to Columbus to attend The Ohio State University on a music scholarship. But after meeting and taking some classes under local legendary artists Queen Brooks and Pheoris West, Tirey Graham ended up finding her true passion--painting.
"I’ve always been fascinated by everything biological and astrological! From bugs and plants, to stars, human diseases, to black holes and coronas. I'm amazed by the diversity and ambiguity in all things macro vs. micro and inner space vs. outer space. I love the idea that we don't know everything, and that we may never know it all. So, I'm just gonna make a bunch up; create my own cultures, tissue samples, diseases and nebulas.... all more beautiful when we are able to see them magnified in a Petri dish or even closer and more intimate than our telescopes can show us. I like to fantasize that my work is the real thing; just beyond what the human eye is supposed to ever see and it's all a big secret I've been let in on! So, when coupled with a large range of vibrant colors, the possibilities are infinite. I'm having fun with paint—but have a lot of work to do!"
OSU Urban Arts Space Presents Summer 2012 Exhibitions
OSU Urban Arts Space is a part of the revitalization of downtown Columbus, located in the "heart," between the Columbus Commons park and the Scioto Mile. A 10,000 square foot exhibition and non-traditional performance space, the Space welcomes over 35,000 patrons a year and promotes local artists while engaging visitors with new ideas of how the community relates to art and design. The Summer 2012 Exhibitions present art as not only a form of expression, but also as a public good.
The Lancaster Festival
Inaugurated in 1985, the Lancaster Festival is a multifaceted, 10-day event that transforms the historic city of Lancaster, Ohio, with musical performances and family activities while getting local businesses, museums and residents involved. With the help of nearly 800 volunteers and the support of corporate and individual donors, service contributors and program advertisers, the annual Festival supports the local economy as well as the local arts. The streets and venues of Lancaster come alive with social interaction among residents and guests of varied economic and cultural backgrounds.
Franklin Park Conservatory Presents Preview to Sacrifice + Bliss: Aurora Robson
Artist Aurora Robson finds opportunity in what most people cast off. An advocate for plastic pollution awareness, Robson interrupts the waste stream by using discarded materials, primarily plastic bottles and caps, to create intricate, ethereal art with a message. Get a sneak peek exhibition Sacrifice + Bliss: Aurora Robson at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens with Robson’s Landmines sculptures on display now.