Five local artists selected to have work installed on area billboards

A series of billboards around Columbus are not advertising a particular product, but are instead sending a message about the city's arts community.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council and Lamar Advertising have partnered to bring ArtPop Street Gallery to Columbus. The public art initiative places work by local artists on unsold commercial billboards. Five local artists — David Butler, Cody F. Miller, Kate Morgan, Stephanie Rond and Carol Stewart — were selected to have their work, submitted specially for this project, installed on billboards on West Broad Street, Lane Avenue, Dublin Road, Olentangy River Road and North Fourth Street.

“We selected work that was diverse in style and that represented vibrant work so that people could understand that it was art,” said GCAC Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Events Jami Goldstein.

“I wanted to create an image that's composition would allow commuters who travel by it every day to find something new each time they see it,” Rond said. “Being a street artist, I've always found it important to get people interested in an image really quickly. I've always done collage-based work. And I use a lot of imagery that has symbolism behind it.”

“I've always wanted to see my work on a billboard, to see how big it could get and whether it looks good in that size,” Butler said, adding, “Yeah, it does, if I do say so myself.”

Goldstein said that artists were provided with an honorarium for their work.

“We're the first community of the 14 ArtPop communities to do that,” Goldstein said. “We're basically paying them to lend their work to this. That's really important. Art has value. We have a policy that artists get paid for work they do with us and for us. I always say you can't eat exposure.”

Artists provided an electronic image of their work to GCAC. The artworks were then blown up and printed on vinyl to be installed on the billboards. Rond, a street artist and muralist, said this type of project is different in focus and purpose than a project in which an artist spends “hours and hours on one piece and interacts with a community in a specific way.”

“For me, it's more important that there's art everywhere. It's more about all of us having access to art, and art outdoors is more accessible,” Rond said.

“The cool part is it leads you to artists in the city,” Butler said, adding the project provides “an opportunity to advertise your art in a way you wouldn't get otherwise.”

“If it leads to a broader dialogue about public art, that's great,” Goldstein said. “I do hope it piques curiosity about these artists and the creative community here in Columbus.”