02 May Guide to Epic Trip In Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio is a progressive city and full of creative business ideas and concepts. There’s an energetic vibe here and you feel it as soon as you set foot in art and fashion focused neighborhoods like The Short North and Franklinton. In both places, you will find unique experiences like trapeze classes and galleries displaying work from emerging and self taught artists. And in the greater Columbus area, the creative impulses keep on with a line up of fashion designers (one who creates biodegradable dresses) and art collections that showcase both international and locals artists that confront challenging topics. Here are 9 reasons to visit:
Take A Trapeze Class
Mikey Thomas teaches students the basics of aerial acrobatics on a trapeze out of a warehouse at 400 West Rich Street in Franklinton- an emerging arts neighborhood with a gritty and grass roots feel. Thomas, a former professional dancer, is the activities Director at Movement. “My goal is to make the classes fun, accessible and affordable,” says Thomas.
During class, students will learn movements centered around their comfort level. Basics include a swing stand- a movement to sit on the bar and eventually stand up and also a tuck through to pike- a position with your legs in a pike position under the bar. A more advanced move is an up and over beat- a move where you flip yourself over the bar with a running start to get plenty of momentum. Drop ins for group classes (5-12 people) start at $18. For a one on one approach consider booking a private lesson. Off the trapeze, an instructor may also run through rope climbing variations and hand stands to build needed strength.
Learn to Play the Ukulele
Scott Dewitt teaches people how to play ukulele at 400 West Rich Street in the same space where Trapeze classes happen. The mixed-use warehouse is a space for artists and creative types. The group, Strings Attached, is coming into it’s fourth year and attracts both adults who want to get back in touch with playing music and also newcomers wanting to strum in a social atmosphere. “You don’t need to be experienced to come. Music is intimidating and we want to make it a friendly social atmosphere. If you make a mistake, there are several other people to mask it so it’s no big deal,” says Dewitt. Classes focus on a different theme each night and usually have 25-30 people. Guests are asked to make a $5 donation. The classes happen once a month, for the schedule, check out the FB group here.
Have A Dress Custom Made
At Capital Goods, owner Elizabeth Bourgeois, makes custom dresses with either fabric from her collection or with some customers bring. She operates out of her storefront in Downtown Columbus. Inside you will also find vintage style clothing from other designers, children’s accessories, jewelry and furniture. “It’s not just fashion for your body but also for your family or home,” says Bourgeois who comes from a background of theatre costume design in New York. Dresses designed by Bourgeois off rack range in cost from $65- $85 while a custom piece runs $105 $150.
The Pizzuti Collection features works from the private collection of Ron & Anne Pizzuti. “They have brought together one of the most significant collections of contemporary art in the world,” says Greer Pagano, the Assistant Curator at the Pizzuti Collection. “We focus mostly on the 21st century, so we’ve got the latest and the hottest artwork, things that are happening right now and responding to our world right now.
The exhibits change throughout the year and feature everything from paintings, sculpture, film, photography, drawings and prints.
Admission is $12 for adults. Make sure to check online for the current schedule for programs, lectures, artist talks and special events.
Discover Work From Self Taught Artists
Duff Lindsay, owner of Lindsay Gallery, focuses on selling art from self taught artists and works that are non-mainstream. “This kind of art has an inspired purity. Self taught artists make art from the heart and not by following a trend or style. It makes for art that is challenging and tells a story,” says owner Duff Lindsay. Some of the art that catches my eye first is from a Columbus teen, Henry Hess, who is autistic and makes art based on movies and musicals he loves. Here, you will find art that spans a lot of price ranges for both beginner collectors (starting at $175) and art for the refined collector with a larger budget.
Make a Scarf with Local Sheep’s Wool
Celeste Malvar-Stewart, a couture fashion designer, makes biodegrade clothes in the form of dresses, scarves, hand warmers and leg warmers. Sign up for a class at her studio, Hangar 391, and she will teach you to make a scarf from wool that comes from a sheep farm 20 minutes down the road. Sheared wool from different Lincoln Longwools are placed in a bag for customers to choose from before she guides class. “I love watching people create these scarves because each one comes out different and really reflects the personality of the creator,” says Malvar-Stewart. Classes start at $100.
She works as a full time clothier, creating exhibition pieces for shows around the U.S, using 90 percent local products. While wool is the main material, she also uses local flowers, leaves and even walnuts to dye pieces. Her progressive ideas have caught the eye of companies like Aveda who commission her work for fashion shows.
Visit Shops in Robust Creative Neighborhood
The Short North is one of Columbus’s most visited neighborhoods and is full of art galleries, restaurants, boutiques, craft coffee shops and consignment shops full of gems. The area started as an urban renewal arts project 30 years ago attracting artists with affordable rent and a like-minded community. And though the area has been revitalized over the years, artists credited for flipping the area, have not been pushed out with increasing rent. A few favorite boutiques are Rowe, a spot selling contemporary clothing and accessories, and Happy Go Lucky Her, a store with a more whimsy approach and accessories and clothing from designers across the world you won’t find many other places.
Columbus Art Museum
Recent renovations at the Columbus Art Museum include a welcoming high-beamed atrium built around the original 1930’s façade of the building. One of the goals of the renovation, which wrapped up in October, was to make the building more open and a place that illicit conversation. The outside of the building is made colorful with pre-patine-ed copper and Indian limestone. Additions also include a sculpture garden, Schokko Art Café (a Cameron Mitchell concept), gift store and gallery spaces like the Margaret M. Water Wing to houses the museums permanent collection.
“We have great new things to see, including 35 works that have never been seen before or haven’t been seen in decades, says Nanette Maciejunes, the Executive Director of Columbus Museum of Art.
Some of the stars of the show:
Mel Chin Spirit – a rope made from tall grass that is carrying an enormous cask.
Nocturne Navigator by Alison Saar- stands 15 feet tall and features a woman in a big blue skirt made of copper standing with open arms. There are holes punctured into it and with lights shining underneath them. The Underground Railroad inspired it with the skirt representing the night sky and the holes the stars used as a guide for runaway slaves.
Circus People by Karen Appel. This is the first piece of artwork purchased by Ron Pizzuti’s (who displays several of his private works at the Pizzuti Collection in the Short North).
Stay in An Art Focused Hotel
Hilton Columbus Downtown is in the Short North neighborhood making for an easy walk to the eclectic neighborhood. The walls, including rooms, are covered with more than 150 pieces art from Ohio Central artists.
The hotel restaurant, Galerie Bistro and Bar, feels like dining in an art gallery with a stunning and high beamed atrium. You don’t want to miss the Ohio Burger made with house-made bacon, Gruyere cheese, and blackberry ketchup on a housemaid bacon brioche bun. For dessert, the Sweet Corn, which was featured at a James Beard House Dinner, is choice and made with sweet corn soufflé cake, mascarpone honey sabayon, roasted grapes and brandy snap.