- Columbus’s Topiary Garden re-creates Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” in sculpted evergreens. Photo Credit: Experience Columbus
The problem with Columbus’s image, the joke goes, is that it doesn’t have one. There’s no Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge or other unmistakable monument marking the skyline. But the central Ohio city’s ever-expanding arts community could help Columbus not only distinguish itself from other cities in the state, but create a strong national presence as well.
Columbus’s artistic roots took hold more than a century ago, when the American Arts & Crafts movement began. Thanks in part to Ohio’s significant clay deposits and natural gas stores, the state soon led the art pottery revolution that was sweeping the country. Although Cincinnati was the birthplace of the renowned Rookwood Pottery, Columbus eventually became home base for three of Ohio’s best-known artists: Elijah Pierce, considered America’s foremost 20th-century folk art woodcarver; painter George Bellows; and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, who today is gaining a national following for her cloth paintings and quilts documenting the history of her family and community.
Start your visit to Columbus in the Short North Arts District, a roughly 10-block-long corridor along High Street, which links downtown Columbus with The Ohio State University. Once a seedy section of town, the Short North began a slow but steady path to revitalization in the 1970s, fueled by the arts. Today, more than 60 funky and chic galleries and boutiques are clustered in the hip ‘hood, including Galerie Mac Worthington, which showcases the artist’s metal artwork; Sherrie Gallerie, which carries art jewelry and ceramic art by such famed national artists as Curtis Benzle and Thomas Hoadley; and Lindsay Gallery, exhibiting American folk and outsider art. (While at Lindsay Gallery, don’t miss Bill Miller’s inspired scenes, created from discarded vinyl and linoleum flooring.)
For more of “Arts Tour:Columbus,” pick up an October 2006 issue of AmericanStyle today!