Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil


By Maggie Willis

It’s no secret that Santa has Columbus on his “good” list. Our city is home to a wealth of artistic talent and creativity that rivals even the major metropolises, and this season you can find real treasures in our local markets and stores: unique, personal, one-in-a-million gifts are everywhere in Columbus. Not only will the work of local Columbus talent delight your family members, it will benefit our city many times over. Buying gifts from Columbus gives a gift to Columbus, and ultimately, back to ourselves.

The power of buying locally has been thoroughly demonstrated. A 2013 report at shows that every $100 spent at local independent businesses feeds almost $70 back into the local economy, versus only $48 when shopping at larger chain stores. The positive effects of shopping locally are even more evident when examined per square feetlocal shops produce a net annual return of $326 per 1,000 square feet, while big box stores create a net annual deficit of $468 per 1,000 square feet. Shopping local also benefits the environment by saving on shipping costs and encourages local business owners to recycle and reuse local materials, and overall, it generates 3.5 times more wealth locally than shopping at large, multi-national retailers. And it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference: if every family spent only $10 more a month on local, independent businesses, over 9.3 billion dollars would be returned directly to our local economy, which ultimately helps to boost the national economy.  

And giving to Columbus as you give to your family and friends this holiday is so easy. Columbus has over a dozen craft fairs and locally-oriented shops popping up around the city throughout the holiday season. Our city’s local arts community also provides many opportunities to give gifts that last into the New Year when you gift an experience: tickets for local performances next year are available now. Or, you can give a gift that lasts a lifetime with local arts classes in dance, music, glass, painting and metalworking. Maybe a loved friend or family member will discover the artist in themselves, and become part of the Columbus Makers’ community next year.

Holiday Giving and Shopping Guide


Short North Holiday Hop  Celebrate the Holidays on Dec. 6 at Holiday Hop along with thousands of visitors who converge on the High Street in the Short North Arts District. Celebrate art and partake in an evening of sights, sounds, food,

Short North Arts District

Short North Arts District

shopping and cosmopolitan holiday fun.   Many shops and galleries are open earlier, but the Holiday Hop officially runs from 4 – 10 p.m.

RAW Columbus presents HOLIDAY RAWk at ShadowboxLive on Dec. 1 from 7 p.m. The Holiday RAWk showcase features 40+ artists, with lots of vendors, artists, performers and fashion in an event that is great for holiday shopping, too. $16.95 tickets are available from HOLIDAY RAWk.

Columbus Winterfair! at the Ohio Expo Center this Dec. 5 through 7 is the 38th annual juried fair of this fine art and fine crafts exhibition. It features ceramics, glass, wearable art, jewelry, sculpture, painting and photography by over 400 artists from 30 states. Admission for all three days is $7. Ages 12 and under are free.

The Holiday Hop Pop Up Shop will be hosted Dec. 6 at the beautifully renovated Garden Theater. It offers huge arrays of handmade crafts, from clothing to ceramics, from jewelry to baked goods. Don’t miss the “titillating” selection of local and imported draft beers. There’s no excuse for an empty tree after this weekend. There will also be activities for kids, a holiday beer tasting, and of course, a visit with St. Nick.

North Market Open House & Holiday Craft Extravaganza from Dec. 6to Dec. 7 is sure to get you humming holiday tunes with local musicians and choirs as you rediscover your North Market. Enjoy samples from their local our merchants to help you plan your holiday feasts, as well as the holiday themed merchants lining the covered pavilion selling their wares: from Christmas trees, a holiday wreath auction, hard to find holiday albums, one of a kind ornaments and more. Bring the whole family to North Market Holiday Winter Market this December

Before They’re Famous: The CCAD Fall Art Sale on Dec. 6 at the Loann Crane Center for Design is a not-to-miss a semiannual juried showcase of works by more than 100 Columbus College of Art & Design students, faculty and alumni. Admissions fund student scholarships and sales proceeds go directly to the artists. First-choice admission available for $50; general admission runs $5.

The Glass Axis Holiday Sale from Dec. 12 to 14 is an annual tradition of holiday shopping and glass making. Walk-in workshops with central Ohio’s finest artists run all weekend long, giving guests a chance to try their hand at craft-making a particularly personal gift like a blown glass ornament or torch-worked bead. Jewelry, holiday decorations and other glass artwork of all forms and sizes will be on display, many at discounted prices.

The Crafts Gone Wild Craft Fair at Wild Goose Creative this Dec. 13 is the 5th annual show, providing a great venue to get your holiday shopping done, “local style.” Enjoy the on-site food truck on site, a “sweet raffle,” free swag bags to early visitors and a jolly good time for all.

The last Moonlight Market of 2014 is coming up on Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. This event on Gay Street offers Downtown visitors a chance to shop “underneath the stars” at dozens of sidewalk retailer. The brick and mortar businesses are open through special late-night hours. Food, drinks, entertainment, boutique shopping and artisan vendors showcase the best of what Gay Street has to offer during the Moonlight Market!

The Clintonville Arts Guild is holding a holiday art event at Weiland’s Market during store hours on Dec. 13 this year.

The 400 West Rich Street Indoor Farmer’s Market won’t let dropping temperatures hold back our great local farmers’ markets. The last indoor market of 2014 will be Dec. 13 from

11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Enjoy the Explorers Club Food Truck and dozens of local vendors in this quaint indoor farmer’s market in Franklinton.

2014 Columbus Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show at St. Agatha’s Parish Hall on Dec. 20 starts at 10 a.m. It’s a unique opportunity to get that last minute holiday shopping done only 5 days before Christmas. This large show features nearly 100 artists and crafters selling their original handmade items! Admission is $3 to the public, children under 12 are free. A portion of proceeds will benefit the non-profit Pets Without Parents.

Oakland Nursery Pop Up Holiday Arts Show at Columbus Oakland Nursery is hosting a holiday show for local artists on Dec. 20 during store hours.

Local Holiday Vendors

ROY G BIV Gallery will feature their annual Members’ Small Works Exhibition from Dec. 6-27.  All works are smaller than 1 ft.x 1 ft. x 1 ft.  The opening will take place during the Short North Holiday Hop on Dec. 6.

Gifts of the Craftsmen at the Ohio Craft Museum from Nov. 9  to Dec. 23 is the 15th annual holiday exhibition that features handcrafted jewelry, pottery, art glass, baskets, clothing and more, all made in America by 100 fine craft artists. Find objects d’art in any price range for a unique, personal gift.

The MAC Pop-Up Holiday Store at The Shops at Worthington Place is open from Nov. 21 to Jan. 11. The MAC Pop Up Store, presented by the McConnell Arts Center, features local artists’ original, handmade, one of a kind pieces on a consignment basis during the weekends starting mid-November through the holidays until mid-January.

“Small & Wonderful” at the Hammond Harkins Galleries from Nov. 21 through Jan. 11 is an exhibition of pieces that are specially sized for gift-giving. It showcases 24 artists who explore a variety of media: from paper, kitchen spices, buttons, flocking and spent white-out tape to more traditional media such as painting, bronze sculptures and photography. The gallery courtyard will be ablaze with a nightly bonfire and hot beverages will be available for $1.

Kit & Kaboodle Thrift Boutique near the Colony Cats (& dogs) Adoption Center has all kinds of items from donated work by local artisans to vintage and gently used items. 100% of the proceeds go to help homeless cats and dogs.

The Cultural Arts Center gift store is a “treasure trove” of one-of-a-kind items, including jewelry, decorative objects, hand-dyed scarves, collectible paintings and drawings,and much more, all year ‘round.

Celebrate Local at Easton Town Center showcases the best of Ohio-produced handmade and artisan goods, from local Ohio wines and spirits to handicrafts.

Glean, located in the Short North, is the first shop in Columbus selling goods handcrafted and locally made out of repurposed materials.

Wholly Craft, which just moved to a new location on High Street in Clintonville, features handmade goods from more than 200 crafters and artists.  It’s a one-stop shop for for jewelry, clothing, paper goods and more.

Why not buy directly from an artist? At you can peruse the portfolios of dozens of local artists to find that perfect-fit commission.

For Next Year’s Calendar

And you may have missed these holiday events in November, but consider marking your calendars for next year’s Clintonville Arts Guild Holiday Show and Sale, the Craftin’ Outlaws Craft Show, the Holiday Shop Around and JCC Holiday Bazaar.

Gift an Experience

Columbus provides so many opportunities for the gift of a lifetime. Surprise and delight with tickets to a local performance: The Marriage of Figaro at the opera, subscription to the Columbus Jazz Orchestra or Columbus Symphony or even The Great Gatsby at BalletMet. Give the gift of curiosity with a family membership at COSI or the Columbus Zoo.

For the burgeoning makers in your circle, there’s no better place to explore than at the world’s largest makers space at the Columbus Idea Foundry. Anyone can learn almost any art for in our rich arts culture in Columbus through creative resources like Glass Axis and the Cultural Arts Center. Still having a hard time finding that just right class for your friends? Search art classes by zip code and medium at ARTS CLASSifieds.

Finally, give for a great arts cause with power2give gift cards. This Columbus oriented “” style website for the arts will allow your friends and family decide what they want to see more of in their city. They can apply their gift card dollars—from as little as $1—in a meaningful, empowering way at, which lists dozens of projects by Central Ohio cultural organizations seeking crowdfunding.

Is your friend or family member already a local artist? Be sure to give them the gift of support and encouragement by letting them know about the Arts Council artists grants. Check out our website to find out if you are eligible.  Supply grants up to $500 are awarded monthly and Professional Development grants of up to $1,000 can offset the costs of professional development opportunities for artists, from master technique classes, seminars enhancing business skills, or professional conferences where development opportunities exist. Further educational opportunities are available through the Arts Council’s OPPArt workshop series, designed to empower artists to achieve their business goals.

Santa is giving everyone opportunities for enrichment and joy this holiday season in Columbus, so please join us!


A Conversation with Donna Collins, Executive Director at the Ohio Arts Council