It probably goes without saying that this is a year of doing things differently. But what is worth discussing is HOW people and organizations are working differently, particularly when so many of our usual avenues of exchange—both social and economic—are restricted.
I’m proud of the work that the Arts Council has done in adapting to our changed world. We quickly pivoted our Support for Professional Artist grant program to an Emergency Relief Fund effort that as of today has awarded $318,516 to 416 artists. And because we didn’t want to leave the Columbus community with no connection to the Columbus Arts Festival, which we cancelled in April, earlier this week we announced the Columbus Arts Fest in Place— I’m delighted with the reception from the community so far.
Our sponsors have helped us secure our present and plan for the future, and the staff has banded together to find free to very low cost resources to create the Arts Fest in Place to conserve as many financial resources as possible. Starting now through June 14, we will share videos, photos, music and our Festival artists. You can shop for artwork online directly from 2020 juried Arts Fest artists on a brand new website at www.columbusartsfestivalinplace.org, explore our Big Local artists and performers, create with us in the Arts Fest Chalk Challenge or even host your own virtual Patron Party in Place, socially distant of course! We also encourage you to share your own reflections and art from Festivals past through our social media channels.
You may wonder why we are going to the trouble. We are fully aware that nothing can replace the experience of attending the festival, in real life, along our beautiful riverfront. However, in addition to wanting to support the artists juried into the show by encouraging online sales, we, the staff and board of the Arts Council, need this. We need a moment to take a golf cart trip down memory lane. We need to connect, in whatever way possible with all of the people—from volunteers and sponsors to artists and patrons—who make the Festival the highlight of our year. We may not be able to hold the Festival on the Scioto Mile this year, but we can still celebrate its rich history and bright future—for ourselves, and for you.
— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.