The artist loves Columbus’ sense of community and (of course) Jeni’s

Artist Sonya Lucas moved to Columbus 13 years ago to pursue a master’s degree at Ohio State and never left. Now, Lucas creates paintings that conjure visions of queerness, home, anxiety, spirituality and a connection to nature. As a genre, the pieces probably fall somewhere in the realm of Appalachian gothic, and, as a West Virginia expat, the painter often incorporates coal into the canvasses. To get a better feel for this style, visit Lucas’ official site by clicking here.

This weekend, the artist’s new collection, “Falling Dreams,” will open at Stone Village Church in the Short North. The opening takes place 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Here are a few things that Lucas loves.

Columbus’ LQBTQ embrace

I have nothing but deep gratitude for Columbus’ uniquely celebratory embrace of LGBTQ folks. My church home for example — Stone Village — not only intentionally celebrates local art and artists but truly maintains a loving space for anyone and everyone. My wife and I were married at the Kelton House Downtown well before it was “legal,” and in our experience this city has been truly inclusive ages before it was the progressive agenda of other municipalities.

The local arts community

Columbus celebrates art and artists like no other place on Earth. I’ve known scads of grad school colleagues and friends who have moved back here from New York and Los Angeles because, unlike some other cities, it is possible to live and maintain an art practice here. Columbus’s small town vibe and affordability, combined with big city convenience, make it a bit of a unicorn.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Of course.