Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
Town and Gown
By Ellen Milligan

For as long as there have been universities, there has been a challenge to integrate the academic, or “gown,” community with the metropolitan, or “town,” community. Historically, the relationship between the two has even been adversarial: in the medieval cities of Europe, where some of the first Western universities were founded, the wealthy, Latin-speaking students and scholars were often at odds with local residents, politically and socially. While relations between universities and their host communities are usually not so fraught in the modern-day United States, community members, faculty, students and administrators often struggle to bridge the cultural and structural gulf between the university and its host city. As a result, many American cities—from Amherst, Massachusetts to Fayetteville, Arkansas and now Columbus, Ohio—have founded official town and gown committees to solidify these relationships and facilitate collaboration.

Even without an official committee, Columbus already boasts a remarkably well-integrated town and gown community. As the nation’s 15th-largest city and home to its third-largest university, The Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus is nationally known as a major metropolis in its own right and also as an immense college town. It is home to thousands of OSU alumni, and a great number of residents are employed, in one way or another, by the institution of higher learning, medicine, sports, and arts that is Ohio State, causing the lines between “town” and “gown” to become unusually blurred. “Buckeye pride” for OSU athletics permeates not just Columbus but the entire state of Ohio. Nonetheless, the challenge to integrate parts of the at-times-insular collegiate community with the rest of Columbus remains. And what makes the town and gown collaborative efforts in Columbus truly unique is the emphasis on the arts.

Image:  Left, The Oval at the heart of OSU’s campus, courtesy of  Middle, production of Julius Caesar, courtesy of CAPA.  Right, photo by Larry Hamill.


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2013 Artistic Excellence Winner: The Harmony Project Artist Profile
ALEXIS MCCRIMMON Headshot mulitmedia artist and filmmaker

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 spoke with local multi-media artist and filmmaker, Alexis McCrimmon.  McCrimmon utilizes a range of documentary, narrative and experimental film-making techniques; from reconstruction/reenactment, archival footage, and audio as text, to cinematic staging, narrative story structures and expositional soundscapes. These set the stage for animated photo-montages, video sculptures and elaborate loops.  McCrimmon has been chosen as one of eight finalists for the 2013 Media Arts Fellowship, presented by GCAC and the Columbus Film Council.

“I think my creative process is just that, a process.  It’s a lot of tinkering and testing to see what works visually or materially and then there’s a lot of research into the content.  I’m certifiably in love with libraries and archives, so whether the content is existential or historical, you can find me in the stacks.  Oh, and a lot of writing in notebooks.  I was never one for the physical sciences, but I certainly view my studio as a laboratory.

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Sneak Peek

Feverhead's Upcoming Movement & Yoga Classes, Art Workshops

Feverhead, located in Grandview and founded by members of the dance collective, They Might Be Dancers, is a small, multidisciplinary studio space with dance at its core. Without much of a plan other than a space that serves as an incubator of creativity, Feverhead has organically morphed over the past three years into a studio space that also offers anyone at any level of experience to engage in movement classes, workshops, performances and other art events.

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Glass Axis Presents Annual Holiday Sale

Glass Axis is having their traditional annual event of holiday shopping and glass making! Central Ohio’s finest artists will be on hand with jewelry, holiday decorations, and other glass artwork of all forms and sizes. Thousands of glass pieces will be available and on display, with many at discounted prices. Workshops run all weekend long, giving you the opportunity to craft your own unique items, perfect for decorating year-round or as a personalized gift.

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The 61st Columbus International Film + Video Festival Goes Big!

The longest running film festival in the US has expanded beyond its wildest dreams. The Columbus Film Council's 61st Columbus International Film + Video Festival (CIF+VF) is now a two week celebration, taking place around the city from November 3-17, offering workshops, screenings, receptions, visiting filmmakers and an awards ceremony.

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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.