As 2014 rounds to a close, it dawned on me just how many exciting things happened over the last year from the Columbus arts community. So I asked a few artists who had a big year about what impacted them the most. Here's a sample of some of their responses, with the entirety of the interview available at columbusalive.com.
As 2014 rounds to a close, it dawned on me just how many exciting things happened over the last year from the Columbus arts community. So I asked a few artists who had a big year about what impacted them the most. Here's a sample of some of their responses.
Included herein: Stephanie Rond, co-founder of Creative Arts of Women (CAW), founder of Women Street Artists; Walter Herrmann, tenant at 400 West Rich and administrator of the Art and the Artists Of …; Adam Brouillette, founding member of Tacocat Cooperative.
How would you describe the arts in Columbus in 2014? What were the significant changes or developments?
Rond: As thriving and respectful. Columbus is a very rare gem when it comes to the arts community. It's hard to explain to those who have not experienced it. On any given day you can see DIY artists working right alongside the arts organizations to bring the community the very best art experiences. I believe the partnerships between artists and organizations have strengthened in 2014.
Brouillette: Transforming. I think the art scene has been going through a bit of a change in Columbus. Artists are making and finding new neighborhoods, venues and opportunities. That adjustment is continuing. I think the same thing about the artists themselves. Art in Columbus is changing. For a while it was getting bigger, with more artists entering the fold all the time. But now I'm seeing a focus from some of the veterans of the art community on getting better, raising the bar and encouraging a higher quality from the rest of the community.
Herrmann: I would describe the art scene as "EXPLOSIVE." So much has happened in the last year; it is hard to comprehend. The Franklinton area alone seems to be morphing on a daily basis.
What was your biggest personal accomplishment this year?
Rond: Finishing the short film "Tiny Out Loud" with Andrew Ina and Dan Gerdeman. I learned so much about the art of filmmaking from them; the collaboration reminded me of being in a band. Thanks to the Greater Columbus Arts Council and all our Kickstarter backers, we were able to have the "grand finale" we had hoped for. We are currently applying to film festivals. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
Brouillette: Getting married to an awesome person. Having all of our friends and artists we respect create such a great exhibition [the Cultural Arts Center's "Happy Together"] at which to be married.
Herrmann: My biggest accomplishment was staying alive during my first year without a supplemental income as an artist. It's a difficult journey, but a sound plan and hard work ethic pay off.
What was your favorite exhibit in Columbus this year?
Brouillette: I think the Diana Al-Hadid, Inka Essenhigh, Erick Swenson, and Tom Burckhardt show at CCAD Canzani Center may be the best show I have seen in 10 years in Columbus.
Herrmann: There were so many strong exhibitions this year; it is hard to narrow it down to one. So I chose a group exhibition and a solo exhibit. I thought that the Brouillette wedding exhibition at the Columbus Cultural Art Center was an extraordinary collection of art that epitomizes a generation of Columbus artists. My favorite solo exhibit was hands down Stephanie Rond's "Dangerous Impermanence" at the Shot Tower Gallery. The show was extremely well rounded in medium, thought and interactive participation.
What are you excited about for 2015?
Brouillette: I think more people are going to start creating spaces. I think galleries will return. I think the quality of the work people are producing will take a step up.
Herrmann: I am excited to build my installation at the Columbus Cultural Art Center in February, to see Franklinton Fridays grow, and to see The Art And Artists Of network expand beyond Ohio.
What are some things you'd like to see from the arts scene in the future?
Rond: I would like to see more national coverage for what our art community is doing in Columbus. Thanks to articles like what appeared recently in The Atlantic, people in other places are starting to pay attention, which is good. I just want to see more. What is happening in Columbus is special. Artists and art are very important components of our society. I'd like to see all my colleagues who work 50-plus hours a week, not just on their own careers but helping to build our art community, be able to make a viable living from their work.
Brouillette: I think we need the return of the leaders. I think some of us that have been here for a while need to take ownership of raising the bar. Some of us that have gotten used to being part of the art conversation need to take our work to the next level. I'd love to see individuals creating exhibitions and artwork that is so great that it inspires people to … be better artists. I'm willing to challenge myself personally over the next year or so to make the best work I have made yet. I want to be held to that same standard. If you want a great art scene, you have to make better art. Always better art.
Herrmann: Some things that I would like to see are more local, state and federal funding to the Columbus arts, and a guarantee from our public school system that art education will be a standard for our children, no matter what the budget is. I'd like to see a continuous rise in public works from both local and non-local artists. I feel that these three key issues could help solidify Columbus as being the art destination of the United States.
file photos by Meghan Ralston