Faculty exhibition kicks off 40th anniversary celebration at Cultural Arts Center

In its own way, the Cultural Arts Center stands alongside institutions such as CCAD and Ohio State University as a training program for artists that enrich the art scene in Columbus.

Of course, by its very nature, the kind of training that the CAC offers is very different, and, thus, the nature of that training's contribution to the arts. But to a city that prides itself on its reputation in the arts, the egalitarian nature of what happens at the Cultural Arts Center shouldn't go unnoticed.

Indeed, it should be celebrated, and what better time than an anniversary? The CAC marks its 40th year in 2018, and the celebration involves, as it should, art, including two distinct exhibitions, an open house and a variety of performing arts programming. “Centered 2018 Pt. 1,” an exhibition of recent works by CAC faculty and staff, opens on Friday, May 25.

“There isn't data from throughout our history, but we estimate we've served about 120,000 students in our art classes over the 40 years,” CAC Arts Administrator Geoffrey Martin said. “When you consider that, plus you think about some of the artists who've worked here and throughout the [Columbus] Recreation and Parks Department, it's a pretty significant factor in the cultural makeup of this town.”

Martin suggested that when the city dedicated space and resources to the arts via the CAC, it also contributed to the community's understanding of the importance of the arts.

“In our classes, everyone is an artist,” he said.

“One of the great things about our center is that it's open to everyone. When you have people from all walks of life, you can't measure what that brings to a class situation,” said Denise Romecki, who has taught ceramics and stone-cutting classes at the CAC for 30 years.

Romecki said her work as an instructor has enhanced her experiences in the arts and kept her “connected with my medium.” She also said that she has taken classes in other mediums, and has had professional artists take her classes “to refresh their creativity.”

Removing barriers to participation in the arts, Martin said, has been and will continue to be an important mission of the CAC. “We're thinking even beyond these walls to bring the arts to places where people might not have felt an invitation to the art party, so to speak,” Martin said. “We want to use art to provide vibrancy throughout all of our neighborhoods.”