Creating Columbus: 2002-2011

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

From the February 2, 2012 edition


South Campus bars demolished

Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment spent several years buying land and businesses along North High Street between Chittenden and East Ninth avenues. The group finally bulldozes everything, leveling some of the city’s grungiest and most memorable watering holes to make room for the South Campus Gateway.


Def Jux releases RJD2’s “Deadringer”

Ramble John “RJ” Krohn cuts his teeth with Columbus hip-hop group MHz before signing with Definitive Jux, the influential label that releases his debut album on July 23.


Jeni Britton Bauer opens new ice-cream shop

In December, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opens in a North Market stall. Years earlier, Bauer and a friend had operated an ice-cream shop called Scream. Her new Italian-inspired creations are an instant hit.


Franklinton Floodwall completed

The $134 million system includes walls, gates and pumps designed to protect the riverfront and West Side from natural disasters. Flood risk and building restrictions once stifled development and caused many to leave, but new homes are built after the floodwall is completed.


Columbus Discount Records releases first single

The indie imprint unleashes “Sexy World” by Terribly Empty Pockets. It soon influences, records and/or distributes music by a treasure trove of local indie bands — Times New Viking, Necropolis, El Jesus de Magico, Guinea Worms and Cheater Slicks, among others.


“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott killed by fan

On Dec. 8, a deranged man with a handgun storms through Alrosa Villa and fatally shoots Abbott, a founding member of Pantera, and three people who try to intervene.


Saving Jane introduces world to “Girl Next Door”

Major-label contract in hand, the Columbus pop band watches its inescapable single rise to No. 31 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song spends 20 weeks on the charts.


Ray Hanley dies after fall from Downtown balcony

The fiery, controversial GCAC president dies April 16 after an accidental fall from a fifth-floor terrace at the Miranova condo tower.


Ohio Roller Girls draw “First Blood”

Four local teams officially resurrect roller derby with two bouts April 23 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The colorful spin on the vintage sport soon wins a rabid following.


A community blossoms at Junctionview Studios

Artists had occupied the Grandview building for many months, but new energy begins to percolate as Mike Reed and Adam Brouillette increase occupancy rates and push collaboration. The building’s new buzz culminates in October during the first Agora exhibit.


Little Brother’s closes

When venerable rock club Stache’s and Little Brother’s vacated its original spot in 1997, it relocated to 1100 N. High St. under the name Little Brother’s. The esteemed club draws intriguing rock, folk, roots, reggae and country bands until its unfortunate demise.


Residents declare Columbus to be “Indie Arts Capital of the World”

A local group of artists and creative professionals begins a campaign to brand the city as an arts incubator. The concept helps to inspire Independents’ Day, a Columbus cultural showcase that debuts the following year.


Abdi Roble publishes Somali documentary work

Photographer Abdi Roble and writer Doug Rutledge combine forces in “The Somali Diaspora,” a portrait of a family starting a new life in America. It provides an insightful look at Minneapolis and Columbus, home to the two largest Somali communities in the United States.


Times New Viking releases Matador debut

On Jan. 22, the band launches “Rip It Off” on the legendary home of Yo La Tengo, Pavement and others. It’s a significant leap for the hottest of the city’s lo-fi-loving bands.


James Turrell lights the Palm House

On Aug. 8, the renowned illumination artist unveils “Light Raiment II,” a permanent installation that colors Franklin Park Conservatory’s historic glass structure. It performs nightly from dusk until dawn.


Wexner Center debuts Andy Warhol exhibit

Debuted Sept. 13, the sprawling retrospective of the pop artist’s career includes video, paintings, drawings, prints, wallpaper, installations and other material. The only U.S. presentation of “Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms” runs until Feb. 15, 2009.


First pitch tossed at Huntington Park

The Columbus Clippers, now a Cleveland Indians farm team, play their first game in the Arena District on April 18. They lose 3-1 to the Toledo Mud Hens.


City Center demolished

On Oct. 1, crews begin to dismantle the once-bustling mall, which officially closed to the public at 7 p.m. March 5. Nearly all tenants had vacated during the past several years, and the building had become an eyesore.


Columbus hosts Gay Softball World Series

The tournament is held Aug. 16-21 and draws championship teams from 37 major U.S. and Canadian cities to Lou Berliner Park on the South Side. It’s the largest gay sporting event ever held in Ohio.


Downtown gets greener

A landscaped, nine-acre green space unfolds where City Center once stood. A ribbon of green adorns the Scioto River. Columbus Commons and the Scioto Mile work in tandem to provide more picnic and event spots in the city’s core.

This story would not exist without The Columbus Dispatch archives, “As It Were” by Ed Lentz, the “Columbus Unforgettables” series edited by Robert D. Thomas, Doug Motz, Linda Deitch, Nathan McGuirk, the Alive archives, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus Historical Society, Heather Gross, Chris DeVille, Kristen Schmidt, Michael Brown, Experience Columbus, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Metropolitan Library.