Columbus Arts Fest preview: What's fresh at the fest?

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

There’s some fresh meat at the Columbus Arts Fest this year, ranging from Italian-based fare like street painting to American-made canned goodies competing for the culinary — err, creative — crown. Snack on the classics, sure, but save room for these goodies. They’re sure to satiate your artistic appetite (no artists were eaten in the making of this fest, FYI).

Film Tent

The 50-seat blackout tent will feature local and national film buffs — the film line-up will feature works from talent featured in the Columbus International Film and Video Festival, the longest-running indie film fest in the nation — to drive home film’s place at the fest and in the city. “Film is really becoming a growing industry in Columbus, a lot of local tent,” noted Jami Goldstein, vice president of marketing, communications & events for the Greater Columbus Arts Council. “It’s a really viable industry for the future of Columbus. And any way the fest can help with all the arts, we want to do that.” Snag a seat at the tent, located at end of the Rich Street Bridge near COSI.

Canstruction Competition

Two local design teams will compete to create the most innovative, tall and structurally sound constructions in this nationally known competition, but there’s a catch: They can only use tape, cardboard and any number of the 50,000 Kroger-donated non-perishable cans of food. Pass by while walking the east side of the river to catch them in their building phase, or stop by Saturday, when the works will be finished and judged. Afterward, the cans are donated to the Mid-Ohio FoodBank.

Italian Street Painting

Don’t just look forward to see good art. Look down. This year, 16 artists will stream their creativity on another traditional canvas: the sidewalk. Come to the end of Rich Street Bridge near COSI, watch the art in action and vote on which local artist’s chalk-based work you like the most. But be discerning: More than $1,500 in prize money will be doled out to first-, second- and third-placers, as well as honorable mentions.

Author’s Showcase

This showcase sheds additional spotlight on written creativity, and an appreciation for local talent. Seven writers from around the city will read some of their works throughout the fest’s duration on the Word is Art stage, starting at 11 a.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. It’s like reading time for adults, but you definitely won’t be wishing for a nap mat.

Dance Stage

Celtic and African dance to modern hip-hop and ballet, Columbus troupes run the gamut of dance flavors, and this year, the art form’s grip on the city will be showcased on the Dance Stage, on the corner of Second and Cherry streets. It’s a welcome addition to the Arts Fest, one that was facilitated by local sponsors and the (gentle) push of the Greater Columbus Arts Council. “We understand how important this (inclusion) is for the community,” Goldstein said. “When we say it’s the Fest of the Arts, we want that to mean everything: visual, film, design, dance.”