Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
Artists Add Heart to High Tech Art
By Kent Grosswiler

For this issue, we wanted a fresh set of eyes to take a look at what’s happening in Columbus with those who are blending the world of art with technology. Though the author of this feature, Kent Grosswiler, has been immersed in the arts in Columbus for decades–he’s a talented drummer who has played for several bands over the years and is currently enjoying an exciting and creative venture into painting–he wasn’t familiar with this community of artists and arts organizations and the work they’re doing.  Grosswiler happily dove in to learn more and to share his perspective.

Foundry and factory are words that evoke images of the industrial revolution. They’re also the second half of the monikers of two of Columbus’ finest innovative and creative organizations that blend art and technology. When it comes to the arts, a handful of mediums immediately come to mind whose creative processes are relatively easy to grasp; music, writing, painting and sculpting. Stirring serious technological elements into the creative pot often can make the recipe too daunting for many. After spending some time with the fabulous folks at both the Columbus Idea Foundry and The Fuse Factory, I’m here to testify—there’s nothing in this mix of art and technology for anyone to feel leery about.

Whether you’re a casual hobbyist who wants to build a birdhouse or an inventor who wants to build the latest state of the art, high tech robot, the Columbus Idea Foundry can accommodate you. If you have an idea for a cutting-edge, robotic birdhouse that you want to build, patent and market, they can accommodate you as well. As I found out, the Columbus Idea Foundry can accommodate just about any creative endeavor—and they do so with enthusiasm and a large smile.

The Columbus Idea Foundry is the largest makerspace in the world. That’s right, the…entire…world.  What is a makerspace you ask? Simply put, makerspaces are community centers with tools. According to, these centers combine manufacturing equipment, community and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone.

On June 1, I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Idea Foundry’s new location at 421 W. State Street in Franklinton.   The event included some special touches: ice cream made with liquid nitrogen, homemade draft sarsaparilla dispensed from a custom-made, aftermarket, pickup truck tailgate that had been fitted with taps, and Mayor Coleman cut through a diamond plate aluminum ribbon with a plasma torch. It was exciting but a little overwhelming.

To learn more about their facility and mission, I made a second trip to the Idea Foundry to meet with Alex Bandar, founder and CEO—also a recipient of the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s 2011 Emerging Arts Leader Award.  Joining us was Casey McCarty, chief operations officer.  Both Bandar and McCarty proved more than willing to break this whole art and technology thing down into easily digestible pieces.

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DangerDust, Anonymous Chalk Duo Artist Profile
Alison Colman Headshot artist, educator, DIY enthusiast, experimental music evangelist
Alison Colman

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 Dr. Alison Colman, founder and executive director of The Fuse Factory.  Dr. Colman is an artist, educator, DIY enthusiast and experimental music evangelist.  Before founding The Fuse Factory in 2006, she was a professor of new media and art education, and earned a BFA from Carnegie Mellon and an MA and PhD from The Ohio State University. 

“I started out as a painting major, and then I took a computer animation course my sophomore year. I expected to hate working with computers, but I actually enjoyed it immensely. Computer animation allowed me to explore narrative and humor in ways that painting couldn’t, and that was very exciting to me.”

Continue to full interview →

Sneak Peek

Third Annual MadLab Young Writers Short Play Festival

MadLab presents The Young Writers Short Play Festival, a collection of ten short plays written by eleven Columbus area high school students. MadLab Theater is a non-profit organization that provides an artistic haven for the creation and experience of original works.

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Jazz Arts Group Presents PBJ & Jazz at the Topiary Park

The PBJ & Jazz summer series is pleased to return to the Topiary Park downtown for its sixth season of free outdoor concerts. PBJ & Jazz at the Topiary Park: Jazz for Kids and Families is a collaborative effort between the Jazz Arts Group, Friends of the Topiary Park, Friends of the Library, and the Columbus Museum of Art.

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History In The Remaking: The Long Street Cultural Wall

What many are calling the “capstone” of the one of the biggest highway reconstruction projects in Columbus history is within weeks of being finished. The new span carrying Long Street across busy I-71 is far more than just another overpass built as part of the first phase of the Columbus Crossroads corridor through downtown.

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.