Front Row Center Newsletter from the Greater Columbus Arts Counsil Artist: KATE MORGAN


Kate Morgan at the 2012 Columbus Arts Festival. Photo by Greg Bartram.

Kate Morgan at the 2012 Columbus Arts Festival. Photo by Greg Bartram.

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. This months profile features local artist Kate Morgan. She describes her work as “portraiture” and her mediums include printmaking, painting, and mixed media. Last year she was chosen as one of the emerging artists for the Columbus Arts Festival and is back again this year. Kate offers her knowledge and insight about what the experience is like for the artists featured in the festival.  Be sure to visit Kate at the Festival and check out her work at booth #M249.

By Alyse McBride

GCAC: Tell us about yourself! Where are you from? At what age did you have an interest in art and when did you begin creating it yourself?

 Kate Morgan: I was born in Syracuse, NY, but my parents moved to Columbus when I was 2, so I grew up here. I can’t remember not being interested in art and neither can my parents. I have drawn ever since I could hold a crayon. As an only child, I think it was my favorite way to occupy my time. I had no idea what I wanted or could create, but I just knew I wanted and needed to create something.

GCAC: Can you explain to us about your creative process? Where do you feel most comfortable to work and what inspires you?

 KM: Anyone who knows me knows how scatter brained I can be. My likes and inspiration are equally all over the place. In no particular order: William Blake, Egon Schiele, Lillian Bassman, Herb Ritts, Egyptian Art, German Expressionist art, Victorian hair wreaths, Titian, Classical Greek sculpture, Bernini, Folk art, outsider art, shadows on walls, Classical literature, conversations, dreams, Vanity Fair magazine, every Rolling Stone photographer from 1980-2000 (thanks dad), religious Santos carvings and illuminated manuscripts. I could go on for hours really.

I can usually draw anywhere. When I’ve got an idea that needs to come out, I draw wherever am. I’ve used napkins at bars and drawn over promotional materials at banks–whatever it takes to get it down! I do prefer to work in my studio at the Columbus Idea Foundry though. Having a place to specifically make art that doesn’t involve a kitchen or a dark basement has been incredible in my ability to focus. Being around other creative people inspires my creative process as well as learning. It encourages experimentation and exploration. It may not always be comfortable to try new things sometimes, but seeing others do it makes me wonder what else is possible within my own oeuvre.

GCAC: So how have things changed for you since being chosen as one of the Emerging Artists for the Columbus Arts Festival in 2012 and then being back again this year?

 KM: I was so grateful to have been included as an emerging artist last year and I’m absolutely thrilled to be back this year! I am much better prepared for this year and I have more variety. I have been trying new materials and larger scale pieces, essentially pushing my own boundaries. I have had a lot more people recognize my work, which feels awesome!

GCAC: As an artist, what is like being an exhibitor in one of the largest outdoor arts festivals in the country?   How do you prepare for a festival of this magnitude?  Do you plan on exhibiting at more festivals in the future?

KM: It’s absolutely intimidating to be in a crowd of that size with so many really amazing artists. This is the first year I am expanding into multiple states to show my work at larger shows like the Columbus Arts Festival . I had done several smaller shows previously. The emerging artist program was vital in my preparation for this.  Seeing the caliber of work from other artists coming from all over the nation as well as talking to the other artists about their process was incredibly inspiring. I’m not sure exactly how you’re supposed to prepare for it. I made as much as I could, brought it all and crossed my fingers! I’m learning from other artists that have done this for over 20 years who say “sometimes that’s all you can do!”

GCAC: Do you have any advice for newly emerging artists who are interested in getting into exhibiting in the local or national arts festival circuit?

KM: What I was most unprepared for was “the cost of doing business.” I thought, “I have the artwork…I’m ready!” Wrong! There was the forgotten cost of display packaging (sturdy backing for prints, clear bags to protect the work, price tags, business cards, and bags for items purchased–NOT TRASH BAGS). Not to mention the wall structure to display framed pieces. I started with 2×4 planks and a rented tent. As I slowly made money, I put my artwork on to better walls and purchased a tent. I didn’t expect a miracle from my first few years of shows. I was prepared mentally to “earn my keep.” And I still am. I recommend looking at other artists’ displays to see what you like and whether it will be best for your work. I have never seen two artists with the same set-up. Ask questions (some may give you too much information; some will give you no information). Expect to experiment with it.

Along the realm of selling, art is so subjective. There is no guarantee that anyone will like what you like. Some of my favorite pieces I have made never sold, so I kept them. I have spoken to many patrons. Some love my work, while others dislike it. I value every conversation I have with them and every opinion they have of my work. The ability to have a discussion about art is priceless. Part of the process of learning is to see how others see your artwork and being able to accept constructive criticism. I have met so many wonderful people and have had discussions sparked by one of my pieces, but the conversations ended up on an entirely different subject. It’s not about someone buying a piece of art for me. It’s about seeding a creative passion that extends beyond the piece itself.

To learn more about Kate Morgan and her work, visit her profile or her website at  Are you an artist (of any genre) in the Columbus area?  Go to and sign up for your free artist profile today!  You can share images, videos, upcoming events and more.

Meet Ashton Bushby, an 11-year-old photographer and Emerging Artist at the 2013 Festival!