Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil
By Tracy Zollinger Turner

When architect Michael Bongiorno walks between the Short North and Downtown, he admires the success of the cap that bridges 670, with the pedestrian-friendly continuity that its shops and restaurants have brought to High Street. But if he decides to head west, toward Goodale Park, he will take Russell Street or any alternative route to avoid the two large barren, concrete triangle-shaped spaces that sit along Goodale Boulevard. And he believes that instinctively, that’s probably what the rest of us do too.

Parched by unencumbered sunlight, these glaring, sidewalk-beige spaces are each lightly punctuated with a line of uninviting, shiny black benches. If you stop and take a good look, you’ll find that these areas do stand out like deserts in the middle of an urban oasis. Any nearby street has some respite of shade and natural or architectural interest. In these two spaces, the best you can do is train your eyes on a nearby tree or the lines of the Greek Orthodox Church and move through quickly.

“That should not be nothing in a city like Columbus,” says Bongiorno. “Really good cities that value the preciousness of their land should never leave spaces like that unaccounted for.”

Bongiorno’s passion for reimagining overlooked, unused, abandoned and wasted urban spaces was the subject of a Columbus TEDx talk that he gave last year called “Looking Over the Overlooked.” A principal and senior designer at DesignGroup, he has worked on innovative civic projects, including the Grange Audobon Center and the Peggy MacConnell Arts Center in Worthington, which were recently named AIA Ohio Honor Awards recipients. He also led the team that designed the addition to the Columbus Museum of Art, which broke ground in August.

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Riffe Gallery - Poetics of Pattern through October 6 Artist Profile
SAMANTHA BENNETT Headshot painter

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 artist, Samantha Bennett.  It was in a hospital room as a child where Samantha began to create art. At nine months old, Bennett survived bacterial meningitis. The physical impact of the disease is apparent as her skin is scarred; she had fingers, toes and half of her right foot amputated. She spent much of her youth enduring reconstructive surgeries. As she continued having surgeries, she also continued studying art. Although she has missing fingers, she pursue an art career by attending the Columbus College of Art & Design, where she majored in fine arts and studied painting.


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Sneak Peek

Columbus Children's Theatre Presents SHREK The Musical

The Columbus Children's Theatre proudly celebrates 50 years of serving the community with the season opener of SHREK The Musical. Families and children ages 5 and up can experience this great live theatre production under the direction of artistic director William Goldsmith along with music production by Jeff Hamm.

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CCAD Presents 5 Essential Exhibitions in 1 Gallery

The Columbus College of Art & Design's primary public exhibitions space is the Canzani Center Gallery, which hosts curated exhibitions as well as exhibitions that showcase the work of the college students and faculty. Throughout the year, it hosts small exhibitions, projects and video installations that flow new information into the CCAD exhibitions program—sometimes complementing the main gallery show, other times standing alone.

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Franklin Park Conservatory Presents Bruce Munro: Light

Bruce Munro’s imaginative light-based works create an enchanting evening experience at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Ten installations illuminate indoor and outdoor gardens, including new works inspired by the Conservatory’s plant collections. Two of Bruce Munro’s acclaimed installations, Water-Towers and Field of Light, will be re-created uniquely for the Conservatory’s outdoor courtyards. Installations never before seen in the U.S. will also be on view.

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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.