Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the unveiling of a new piece of public art on the 40th floor, observation deck in the Rhode Office Tower.
Created by Columbus artist Mandi Caskey, the 28’ x 6’ mural is replete with representations of Ohio’s native flora and fauna, from the cardinal to the trilobite. The mural is a nature scene, integrating Ohio’s four distinct seasons, while also transitioning from evening to morning.
It was wonderful to see such a large crowd show up to celebrate the unveiling, but even more satisfying for me was that a new, beautiful piece of artwork is now in a public space in a government building—and that artwork was created by a local artist. I applaud the efforts of Bob Blair, director of the Department of Administrative Services (who got the proverbial ball rolling), the State of Ohio and the DAS team for making this happen.
I write and talk about the importance of public art quite a bit, which is why I am so excited about some of the opportunities that the Greater Columbus Arts Council is partnering on.
Thanks to the generosity of American Electric Power, the Columbus Arts Festival is commissioning a temporary light-based work of outdoor public art for the Arts Festival. This installation will be a prominent feature at the festival, which attracts well over 400,000 people each year. We are currently (until Feb. 17) accepting proposals for this project and we are hosting an info session on Jan. 26, for artists interested in applying.
The Arts Council, through the Art Makes Columbus/Columbus Makes Art campaign, is also partnering with Lamar Outdoor and the nationwide ArtPop Street Gallery project to get local art on local billboards. Five artists will be chosen for ArtPop Cbus. Selected artwork will be displayed on billboards owned and managed by Lamar throughout the Franklin County area for up to one year, and we are currently accepting submissions (deadline is Feb. 17).
We are also continuing our partnership with Promowest to once again present the Columbus Makes Art exhibition, which features local artwork on the south side of the A&R building. Deadline for artists to submit work for the Columbus Makes Art exhibition is Feb. 27.
Other public art projects are nearing completion—in particular the installation of artwork by Franklin County artists in the renovated convention center. I am incredibly proud of the efforts made by the Franklin County Convention and Facilities Authority to ensure that art has a prominent place in the new convention facilities—both inside and outside.
This is not the first time I’ve written about art in public spaces, and I fervently hope I have occasion to showcase public art many, many times in the future.
— Tom Katzenmeyer, connect with Tom on LinkedIn.