Hammond Harkins Gallery employee talks up Olde Towne East, pho and more

Chet Domitz works at Hammond Harkins Galleries in the Short North, helping with the gallery's day-to-day operations and long-term planning. He wrote the text for the Greater Columbus Convention Center Art Collection, a catalog featuring works of more than 125 artists who are part of the GCCC Art Collection funded by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority. Chet has also worked for the Columbus Arts Festival as a member of the Coordinating Committee for the Artists' Market. He was also co-juror of the Ohio Art League's 2017 Fall Juried Exhibition, currently on view through Nov. 12 at the Carnegie Gallery in the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Here are a few of his favorite things.

The Columbus arts community

World-class exhibition spaces, approachable art leaders, artists collectives, arts districts, ranked art schools (including an arts high school), the Columbus Arts Festival, generous art commissions, a locally produced TV program about the arts, more artists than you can shake a stick at … I could go on and on. Forget the creative class, Columbus is a creative city whose pulse is the arts. If I didn't live here, I'd definitely be making that weekend trip.

Olde Towne East

The last time I knew as many people as I do in my neighborhood, I was a kid in a small suburb outside Youngstown. Though I'm sure all of Columbus' historic neighborhoods each have their own sense of community, I'm partial to mine. Some of the city's most interesting architecture is here, built strong, and with amazing variety on a single block. There's an embracing of diversity, too. It's got character, interest, and great people, past and present, who have called Olde Towne home.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Community Garden

This is the best-kept secret not only of the Near East Side, but all of Columbus. Tucked into the southeast corner of Franklin Park is this incredibly designed four-acre garden. Here learning is sensory and back to basics. In addition to some intriguing perennials, food is grown here that many of us might never have seen in plant form, including figs, artichokes and okra. There's even an apiary. Best of all — and most inspiring — the fresh fruit and vegetables are donated to area food banks.

Beef Pho at Lan Viet

Rich stock, aromatic, and with Sriracha sauce. This isn't ordinary soup. Even on 90 degree days, I'll be somewhere in the North Market inhaling Pho.

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” by Patrick Suskind

Though the title may seem grisly, the story is sublime. Especially the ending. It also tops my list of books that end on great words.