Creating Columbus: 1986-1993

200 Arts and Cultural Moments that Shaped the City’s History

By
From the February 2, 2012 edition

1986

Kent Rigsby brings Cuisine Volatile to the Short North

On Feb. 20, the chef launches a classy, innovative restaurant in a neighborhood at the beginning stages of redevelopment. His reputation and hard work draw visitors to a part of town many are scared to drive through.

1986

William Hawkins shows in Columbus

Though painting for decades, the folk artist born in 1895 is “discovered” by artist and manager Lee Garrett in 1981. With Garrett’s support, Hawkins begins to show work across the country, including at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York City. His first solo exhibition in Columbus is held at Keny & Johnson Gallery in German Village.

1988

Columbus mayor tries to give away Lichtenstein sculpture

Mayor Dana Rinehart announces on May 16 that he is giving “Brushstrokes in Flight” — a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein installed at Port Columbus — to Genoa, Italy. The mayor reconsiders after receiving considerable heat, and the sculpture remains at the airport.

1989

Arnold pumps up Columbus

The “Father of Bodybuilding” hosts the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic at Veterans Memorial, where Rich Gaspari wins first prize and $55,000. The spectacle soon expands into the country’s largest multi-sport festival.

1989

Topiary garden grows in Deaf School Park

In May, plants, shrubs and a pond begin to take shape as a living sculpture conceived by James and Elaine Mason. The scene along East Town Street depicts Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

1989

R.L. Stine publishes first “Fear Street” novel

The Columbus author tingles teenage spines with “The New Girl,” about a young lady who might not actually exist. Scores of other titles follow in these eerie footsteps, making Stine a household name.

1989

NKOTB incite minor riot at Ohio State Fair

About 20 teens are injured Aug. 4 as a frenzied crowd storms a grandstand at the Ohio State Fair before a New Kids on the Block concert. Victims are treated for broken bones, heat exhaustion and minor cuts.

1989

Columbus gets first microbrewery

Under the direction of brewmaster Scott Francis, Columbus Brewing Company begins making five beers: Gibby’s Gold, Columbus Gold, Good Ale, Pale Ale and Cream Stout. It inspires other local operations and helps the Brewery District regain steam.

1989

Gallery debuts art by Billy Milligan

On Oct. 27, the Brenda Kroos Gallery makes a controversial decision to show sculptures and paintings by Billy Milligan. The man gained national notoriety in 1978 when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity on nine counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Doctors argued that Milligan suffered from multiple-personality disorder — that Milligan’s crimes actually were committed by one of 10 personalities using his body.

1989

Wexner Center opens

Limited Brands executive Les Wexner gives $25 million to Ohio State for an arts research laboratory. The complex, unveiled Nov. 17, is named for Harry Wexner, the donor’s father.

1990

James “Buster” Douglas knocks out Mike Tyson

Douglas was such an underdog that many bookies stopped taking bets in the weeks prior to this Feb. 11 world heavyweight title fight in Tokyo, Japan. The Columbus boxer delivers the final punch in the 10th round.

1990

Columbus Museum of Art hosts Aminah Robinson show

The life of this beloved Columbus artisan is studded with milestones, but Robinson’s solo show at the CMA recognizes her contributions to local black culture and art in Central Ohio. “Pages in History” runs from May 6 to July 1 and occupies half of the Ross Wing.

1990

Baryshnikov gives a birthday dance

The Wexner Center celebrates its first birthday on Nov. 17 with a performance by Latvian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov that features choreography by Mark Morris.

1991

Body Release forms

In autumn, Titonton Duvante, Todd Sines, Charles Noel and Mike Szewczyk unite into a techno collective that makes waves nationwide and launches the impressive solo careers of Duvante and Sines.

1991

“Santa Maria” arrives on Scioto River

A private group raises money for a replica of Christopher Columbus’ famous ship. Built in Albany, New York, it’s assembled in Columbus and lowered into the river on Oct. 1.

1991

Nirvana plays Stache’s

On Oct. 9, about two weeks after the release of “Nevermind,” the grunge pioneers take the stage at the infamous concert club. Twenty years later, a photo from the show appears on a collector’s edition vinyl release of the album.

1991

Museum exhibits the Sirak Collection

For years, the collection was destined for the Columbus Museum of Art, which unveils the pieces for the first time this year. Considered one of the world’s finest private collections, it includes 78 works by Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne and other European artists.

1992

AmeriFlora opens at Franklin Park

Blossoming from April 20 to Oct. 12, this monumental, $95 million undertaking at Franklin Park is part of the American Quincentennial Celebration. The event features daily parades, international horticulture competitions and other festivities.

1993

Greater Columbus Convention Center opens

The building’s piecemeal architecture attracts national attention, and its exhibition halls bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city — cheerleaders, bodybuilders and sci-fi fans, among others.

1993

Hip-hop scene coalesces around new record store

When Groove Shack opens May 26 at 1122 N. High St. in the Short North, it begins to foster a thriving hip-hop scene. Employees often set up turntables and allow customers or neighborhood kids to freestyle over the beats.

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