We Have a Lot to Be Grateful For

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As Thanksgiving approaches I do what many do, I pause and think about what I’m grateful for.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind is my family and all that we have celebrated this year—including a beautiful new granddaughter.

I am also grateful to live in a city that embraces so many of the values that I hold dear: creativity, entrepreneurship, diversity, kindness and art.

I appreciate more than can be expressed the support the arts in Columbus receives from our elected officials and business partners—many cities cannot say the same.

Tom Katzenmeyer

Tom Katzenmeyer, president of the Greater Columbus Arts Council

I’m thankful that our arts organizations respond to this support by developing extraordinary cutting-edge programming that elevates our city’s reputation. At the Columbus Community Arts Partnership Awards we shared videos of all of our nominees—which were divided into two categories: Organizations with budgets of less than $1 million and organizations with budgets of more than $1 million. Watch them. Trust me, you will be wowed. Even those deeply involved in the arts may feel astounded when reminded of all that happened in the arts in Columbus in the past year.

I’m grateful for peers who care fervently about our city and its growth—and who understand the crucial role that the arts play in our city’s health. I’m equally thankful for colleagues who are passionately invested in the work that the Greater Columbus Arts Council does. They are a big part of the reason I love what I do, which I am also thankful for.

Did you hear the recent news out of Washington? On Nov. 19 Rep. Bonamici’s amendment to integrate the arts into STEM and promote a well-rounded education was approved unanimously. That’s a huge addition to my gratitude list.

Each year I see our arts community strengthening. This is particularly evident in the Lincoln King District and Franklinton Arts District, where passionate citizens have worked tirelessly to bring about a renaissance to these neighborhoods. From the King Arts Complex and the beautiful Lincoln Theatre to 400 Rich Street and the Independents Day celebration, the arts have played a critical role in creating community in our city. We have an exquisite new Columbus Museum of Art and the Wells Barn, a nearly 200 year old reclaimed and restored Ohio barn, as a brand new education facility at the Franklin Park Conservatory. We have  an established nationally renowned contemporary arts center in the Wexner Center of Art (one of the Columbus Makes Art Excellence Award recipients for their production the theater is a blank page by Ann Hamilton and SITI), and our own Ann Hamilton was a Medal of Arts recipient this year (that’s kind of a big deal).  The Gateway Film Center got THE nod from the Sundance Institute. And,  every week our arts calendar is filled with innovative, original productions from organizations large and small. For all of this, I am thankful.

We are fortunate, but our fortune doesn’t come from blind luck. It comes from dedication, hard work, and a community that is open minded, creative, full of energy and willing to try (and support) new experiences.

I could go on. This blog probably could be a novel. But, instead I’ll just say thank you and wish you all a very happy holiday.

— Tom Katzenmeyer, Keep up with Tom’s adventures on Twitter: @tomkatzenmeyer