In a few days the Greater Columbus Arts Council opens the 56th annual Columbus Arts Festival, and I couldn’t be more excited, proud and grateful.
In a few short days the roads will be closed at the Festival site, the tents will start to go up, and hundreds of volunteers will descend on the riverfront to build what is essentially a small temporary city within a city. So many of these volunteers have been working hard for the past year to make the Festival happen; and, as the weekend finally comes, the energy is palpable.
I am a huge fan of public art and in its own way that is what the Festival is. The public can come to the riverfront and enjoy art for free. Yes, we want people to shop the more than 250 artists that bring their work to sell at the Festival, but there is no admission fee and with six stages, street performers, hands-on activities, art demonstrations, and, this year, a temporary art installation, it is in essence free public art. I am so proud that the Arts Council, along with all of our friends, produces this annual event for the city.
And, it is worth noting that it takes MANY friends to produce this event. With a small staff and no public funding for the festival, there is no way we could build a three-day event that draws more than 400,000 people to downtown Columbus without an enormous amount of support. In addition to thousands of volunteer hours, we rely on sponsors such as American Electric Power and ABC6/Fox 28 to power the Columbus Arts Festival.
I urge you to pick up a guidebook as you come down to enjoy the Festival and take a moment to check out our sponsor page. If you want businesses and nonprofit organizations like Dispatch Media Group, WOSU, LBrands Foundation, Huntington Bank, Safelite, Toyota, The Ohio State University, CoverMyMeds and White Castle to continue to support the arts, let them know that you appreciate what they do to help make events like the Columbus Arts Festival possible in Columbus.
When you take your kids to do free arts projects at the Columbus Makes Art Activities village, enjoy free music, dance, theater and poetry and peruse all of the wonderful visual art, please know that all of this was made possible thanks to generous sponsors, donors and volunteers. I am so grateful to our community for their support.
I cannot wait for this weekend. There is nothing quite like watching thousands of people enjoy an arts event that you helped to create—an arts event that comes about each year because so many people in our city are willing to come together and collaborate to make it happen.
I’ll see you on the riverfront, June 9-11!
— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.