We are almost six weeks into the new year and 2023 has gotten off to a pretty incredible start here at GCAC. We kicked off two new programs, welcomed two new people to our team and are embarking on new public art initiatives.
In January we officially welcomed 18 artists to our new GCAC Navigator program. The goal of the program is to increase outreach to artists that have not engaged with GCAC, particularly those from historically underrepresented communities. To meet this goal, each year we will hire 14-18 artists that are uniquely situated to reach out to underrepresented communities.
The 2023 Navigators came to the GCAC offices in mid January for an intensive orientation session. I got to meet them, and WOW. The positive energy in the room was palpable. The group is diverse in so many ways. They represent a wide range of ages, cultures, ethnicities and disciplines. They have come into the arts via different paths and can each empathize with the many different kinds of challenges that artists face. Their enthusiasm for this work—for connecting their peers with the resources that GCAC has to offer—left me feeling exhilarated.
The 2023 GCAC Navigators are: Mohamed Ali (he/him/his), Sayuri M. Ayers (she/her/hers), Nicholas D’Andrea (he/him/his), Kenneth Eaddy (KDNL.) (he/they), Kelly Hurlburt (she/her/hers), Krate Digga (he/him/his), Dexter Komakaru (he/him/his), Lawrence Tawneven Lemon (he/him/his), Tripp Fontane (he/him/his), Ana Lowe (she/her/hers), Cody F. Miller (he/him/his), Sydnee Roberts-Crews (she/her/hers), Mary Skrenta (she/her/hers), Z. F. Taylor (he/him/his), Fariha Tayyab (she/her/hers), Mitch E. Vicieux (they/them), Lorii A. Wallace (she/her/hers) and Julie Whitney-Scott (she/her/hers).
Find bios and contact information online at gcac.org/2023-gcac-navigators and keep an eye out for them on social media and out in the world.
The grant is meant to supplement exterior, public mural projects that are in the works—that means there is a plan, a contract and some funding pledged. The grant ensures that artists can work with a larger range of organizations (even those with small budgets) and that nonprofits are able to engage in public art that adds to the vibrancy of their community.
This is just the start of GCAC getting involved in the development of public art in Columbus. We are currently in the process of working with the city and county to develop a public art plan. Stay tuned for more on that this year.
In other public art news, we launched Art Spot, a series of 13 window installations on view through June 30, 2023 and available to view 24/7. Visit the website to learn more about how each artist approached the theme of climate change, find a map (for when the weather is nice for walking) and a virtual tour (for when the weather is not so nice).
How we serve the community is critical as we grow and with this in mind we added a new staff member to the grants team to ensure that as we grow we also support our new efforts. Kimberly Cole recently joined the grants team in a new position at GCAC as the manager of Grants and Community Engagement. We are delighted to have recruited such a talented person to join us and help us meet that goal. Also in January, we filled the recently vacated Columbus Arts Festival director position. Alexis Perrone joins the team bringing a long history of service and leadership in Columbus, and I am looking forward to her energy and creativity as we continue to produce the best arts festival in the land.
After the last few years, I tend to be a little cautious about getting too optimistic, but with all the good work I’ve highlighted here, I feel like we could not have gotten off to a better start to the year.