COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Greater Columbus Arts Council is delighted to report a record year for the Columbus Arts Festival, presented by American Electric Power. The Festival, which receives no public money, generates significant income for local artists, nonprofits and vendors. The mild temperatures and good weather combined with diverse exhibiting artists and outstanding media attention in 2019 helped the Festival reach new records, including corporate sponsorship contributions, which grew 12 percent over 2018; total Festival revenue, which grew 19 percent and attendance, which was estimated at just under 500,000 for the three days.
“We are delighted at the success of this year’s festival and the engagement by the Columbus community and our visitors,” said Sean Kessler, festival director. “We had an overwhelming positive response to the expansion westward to Franklinton and all the wonderful activities we presented. Our team cannot wait to build on our work in 2019 for an even better 2020.”
The Big Local Arts Village generated more than $45,000 in sales for the 30 Columbus-based artists exhibiting and demonstrating at the Festival. This is a record sales amount since the program started in 2011.
The Arts Festival’s Emerging Artist program, started in 2011, hosted 14 artists this year and 15 alumni who were all juried into their discipline against a competitive field of nearly 900 artists from across the country.
Kate Morgan, Emerging Artist Program alum from 2011, has been exhibiting in shows across the country since her debut at the Arts Festival. She had this to say about her 2019 Arts Festival experience: “This was my best show ever. Columbus loves art and supports artists. This is a community that really is hungry to experience the arts and wants to engage with artists.”
The Festival could not be a success without the spirit of volunteerism that exists in Columbus. Nearly 100 coordinating committee members work year-round on all the aspects of the Festival, and during the event an additional 500 volunteers provide a friendly face to visitors. But the Festival also gives back to the community through its volunteer programs.
All beer and wine sales booths are staffed by volunteers with nonprofit groups who receive a percentage of total sales at their location to benefit their nonprofit. In 2019, the Festival paid these nonprofit groups $30,200, a 43 percent increase over 2018. The Singing Buckeyes, one of the supporting nonprofit groups, thanked the Festival and their committed volunteer committee chairs for helping to generate funds that benefit their organization year-round.
“Your volunteerism, along with your fellow committee staff, embolden those of us who volunteer for our groups. Thanks for what you do, and for including The Singing Buckeyes,” said James Andres, member of the Singing Buckeyes.
Community partnerships that create activities and performances at the Festival are a key aspect of the Arts Council’s and Arts Festival’s commitment to the community. Partnerships this year included BalletMet, Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus, COSI, MORPC, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, Columbus Recreation & Parks, Columbus Cultural Arts Center, Pelotonia, Smart Columbus and Stonewall Columbus.
Central Ohio businesses who provide both sponsorship and paid service support functions are an important part of making the Festival a success, including Class Acts, G&J Pepsi, Middle West Spirits, Superior Beverage, Cameron Mitchell Catering, Lasting Impressions, Muth Audio, O’Neil Tents, Porta Kleen and ZenGenius.
The 2019 Columbus Arts Festival was presented by American Electric Power. Additional sponsors and partners included Bank of America, Battelle, Best Buy, Blue Moon, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, COTA, CoverMyMeds, Duke’s Mayonnaise, Easton, G&J Pepsi Cola, Graeter’s, Grange, Hotel LeVeque, Huntington, IGS Energy, Jose Cuervo, L Brands Foundation, LAZ Parking, Legoland, MORPC, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University, OSA Technology Partners, PNC, Reed Arts, Schoedinger, Smart Columbus, Three Olives Vodka, Toyota, Vintage Wine Distributors, Westin Columbus, White Castle, Whole World Lemonade and Worthington Industries. Media sponsors include ABC6/Fox28, CD102.5, Dispatch Media Group, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Mix 107.9, Ohio Magazine, Orange Barrel Media, RBX Media, RSVP, WCBE 90.5 and WOSU Public Media.
Mission of the Greater Columbus Arts Council: To support and advance the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. www.gcac.org
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CONTACT: Jami Goldstein