By Jennifer Sadler and Patricia Prater
This weekend, June 3, 4 & 5, more than 350,000 visitors are expected to converge in downtown’s Discovery District to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Columbus Arts Festival presented by Time Warner Cable. Since its humble beginnings in the early 1960s, the Festival has evolved into one of the largest and most prestigious visual arts festivals in the country. Columbus residents claim the Festival as a favorite early summer tradition and the kick-off to the outdoor festival season.
Art, music and food, family, friends and community—these elements are what make up the Columbus Arts Festival. And though the Festival has changed over the years, it still remains a cultural event that brings arts enthusiasts in the Columbus community together.
The Festival will transform the Discovery District into a fun and festive atmosphere keeping the anniversary festivities going full tilt all weekend with booths set up displaying high-quality art and craft created by juried artists from across the nation and abroad, as well as a showcase of Emerging Artists from the central Ohio area.
Columbus is a city with a great passion for music and supports a long history of world-class talent. The Festival is proud to present some of the best of the local vibrant and diverse music scene. Rock, jazz, country and funk—music lovers will find it all with a great line-up of nearly 20 acts featured throughout the weekend on the ColumbusArts.com stage. Check out the daily schedule of performers and listen to samples of music by the featured performers.
Back this year are activities and events that are always big hits with the Festival crowds like the family-friendly Hands On Art Activities area where aspiring young artists can try their hands at creating their own masterpieces, and the popular Children’s Gallery where kids can buy a piece of art from work donated by Festival artists for $5 or less. On the Ohio Magazine Word is Art stage, enjoy poetry performances, dance and presentations by local community arts groups as well as the 7th annual Columbus Arts Festival Poetry Slam, a fun and interactive performance by some of Columbus’ best slam poets where the audience members judge the competition. Visitors can also check out the Student Art Exhibition, featuring work by central Ohio students.
The Festival attracts some of the finest exhibiting artists from across the nation and abroad. But as the Festival marks this momentous occasion, it’s more important than ever to celebrate the vibrant and creative community of visual and performing artists who live and create their art in Columbus every day.
Special activities and new initiatives will offer a diverse, inclusive and creative experience for Festival-goers to enrich their experience and put a spotlight on the local creative community. The event this year incorporates more community partners including local artists, local restaurants and small businesses. Also new this year are fun and engaging activities for the artsy “big kids” who attend the Festival including an Art Carnival featuring creative games hosted by local independent arts groups.
Summer—‘tis the season for outdoor fun and festivals! Make this a summer to remember and take advantage of the many great festivals happening in Columbus. Most local favorite festivals are free, compliments of generous corporate sponsors, dedicated civic organizers and volunteers.
Some community favorite festivals coming up in June: the 21st Annual Juneteenth Festival Ohio, June 17, 18 & 19 at Franklin Park; Olde Worthington Arts Festival, June 18 & 19 on the Village Green in Worthington; ComFest, June 24, 25 & 26 at Goodale Park.
There are several great resources for finding out about local festivals happening this summer. Ann Gobel is a Columbus native and creator of the In and Around Columbus site. Gobel has created an informative event schedule listed on her blog. Check out GCAC's ColumbusArts.com and Experience Columbus' Event Calendar to search for festivals happening all season into fall. Most festivals need the generous help of volunteers, so be sure to check out the opportunities on their sites.
Evolution Theatre Company presents RAPPture: A Festival of Plays by Adam Rapp
Evolution Theatre Company will present the first U.S. RAPPture: A Festival of Plays dedicated to the works of novelist, filmmaker and OBIE Award-winning playwright and director Adam Rapp. The list of festival plays includes: Red Light Winter described as “spellbinding and haunting…” ; Nocturne “…intensely lyrical…” and Kindness, a “compelling…well-crafted mini thriller."
Ohio Art League Presents 100th Annual Spring Juried Exhibition
The Ohio Art League’s 100th Annual Spring Juried Exhibition features a variety of original works by some of Ohio’s leading artists as selected by Todd Slaughter.
Hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Library at their Main Branch, the library-wide exhibition includes 78 works by 56 Ohio artists and celebrates the institutions’ long exhibition history together. One of the League’s first member displays took place at the Library in 1911.
Opera Columbus and CAPA present The Pirates of Penzance
Co-presented by Opera Columbus and CAPA, the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players will perform The Pirates of Penzance at the Southern Theatre June 10-12. Join the band of swashbuckling buccaneers, bumbling British bobbies, frolicsome Victorian maidens, and the delightfully dotty “model of a modern Major-General” for a rollicking romp over the rocky coast of Cornwall. This exuberant musical theatre masterpiece is directed and conducted by Albert Bergeret with choreography by Bill Fabris.