Columbus Fall Arts Guide

Jim Fischer
Black Violin. Photo: Colin Brennan

The arts community in Columbus doesn't really ever get a break. In most corners, it doesn't want one. But there's no denying things get taken to a whole new level when fall rolls around. What follows isn't a best-of-fall, nor a comprehensive look at the fall arts calendar. Instead consider this a representative heads-up on cool things you should pay attention to, as well as a reminder that there's surely more to come.

“I Can't See You Without Me”

This significant body of work by Mickalene Thomas opens in September at the Wexner Center for the Arts. It casts four women — Thomas' mother, former partner, current partner and the artist herself — as muses to be considered in her art-making. It's portraiture of a sort, and the large-scale paintings have plenty to say about Thomas, identity and power.

Wexner Center for the Arts

Sept. 13 through Dec. 30

1871 N. High St., Campus


A young woman's second home is her neighborhood bar. That she's comfortable there belies the discomfort she feels in making nearly every decision in her life, from dating to eating to … well, pretty much everything. How does information overload lead to paralysis by analysis? And how does a regular person deal with the consequences of their decisions in the face of all of it? Available Light Theatre will take a look at these and other questions in Kate Benson's “[Porto].”

Studio One Theatre, Riffe Center

Sept. 14-29

77 S. High St., Downtown


Columbus natives Aaron Diehl and Wil Haygood will be visiting in the coming days, sharing their talents with hometown audiences. Jazz pianist Diehl will be in concert at the Lincoln Theatre on Sept. 16. The Harlem resident is a young star on the jazz scene in New York and beyond. Writer Wil Haygood is in town to celebrate the release of his new book,Tigerland, the story of basketball and baseball teams from Columbus' East High School that both won state titles in 1969. The book launches with an event at the Lincoln Theatre on Sept. 19.

Lincoln Theatre

Sunday, Sept. 16 and Wednesday, Sept. 19

769 E. Long St., King-Lincoln

“4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince”

Curated by Questlove, this evening of Prince music performed by a full orchestra and band comes to Columbus later in September. While it's not the only such program going, this one is the only symphonic program approved by Prince's estate.

Ohio Theatre

Sept. 25

39 E. State St., Downtown

“Untamed Space”

The latest in Andre M. Zachery's “AFROFUTURISM” series, “Untamed Space” will come to the Wexner Center for the Arts this fall. The choreographer, along with his Renegade Performance Group, looks to the future through the lens of the past, specifically, for “Untamed Space,” the story of the Maroons, self-liberated Africans of the 17th and 18th centuries who established colonies in the Caribbean and North America.

Wexner Center for the Arts

Sept. 27-30

1871 N. High St., Campus

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus

CXC is a staple of the Columbus arts scene and an important national event for the world of comics. The four-day festival celebrates animation, comics, publishing and all things 'toon. Featured artists this year include Lynn Johnston, Sally Cruikshank, Georgia Webber and Columbus Museum of Art Columbus Comics Residency recipient Richie Pope. Talks and panels, screenings, exhibitions and networking are the order of the week.

Multiple locations

Sept. 27-30

Creative Control Fest

This seventh annual event draws on and celebrates the work being done by the city's diverse creative community, specifically to provide awareness and opportunities to creatives of color. Creatives both local and national will speak and present at the event, which will be held Sept. 28-29 at multiple venues, with a hub at the Lincoln Theatre.

Lincoln Theatre

Sept. 28-29

769 E. Long St., King-Lincoln

“Hypotheses: Art Inspired by the Many Worlds of Science”

Columbus artist Amandda Lee Tirey created works inspired by biology and astronomy. This fall, Tirey curates an exhibition at the Cultural Arts Center that asks artists to contemplate the relationship between art and science. Jurors include Ohio State University and COSI scientist Paul Sutter and artist Amy M. Youngs.

Cultural Arts Center

Sept. 28 through Nov. 10

139 W. Main St., Downtown

“Madama Butterfly”

Opera Columbus continues to be at the forefront of modern, mid-market opera companies, and this new production of the Puccini classic is additional evidence. An all-woman creative team, including director Crystal Manich, has crafted a contemporary, politically conscious interpretation of the work.

Southern Theatre

Sept. 28 and 30

21 E. Main St., Downtown

“Buer's Kiss”

Pittsburgh-based comics artist Carl Antonowicz presents this live adaptation of a recent graphic novel, featuring live actors, projections, sound effects and more. It's not officially part of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus but happens during the event and offers another comics-related experience.

OSU Urban Arts Space

Sept. 29

50 W. Town St., Downtown

“arms ache avid aeon”

New York-based collective fierce pussy has made vanguard socio-political work for almost 30 years. CCAD celebrates the individual art practices of its four members with “arms ache avid aeon,” which includes painting, photography, sculpture, installations, talks, performances and more, starting Oct.2 in the Beeler Gallery.

CCAD Beeler Gallery

Oct. 2 through March 17, 2019

60 Cleveland Ave., Downtown

Think Like an Artist Thursdays

Scott Woods' Streetlight Guild has a couple Think Like an Artist Thursdays planned before year's end. Staged at the Columbus Museum of Art, these events allow Streetlight Guild to partner with local creatives and engage the community in examining what is art and what is culture. The Oct. 4 event is titled “Pandora's Boxes” and the December event involves art sommeliers.

Columbus Museum of Art

6:30 p.m. Oct. 4 and Dec. 6

480 E. Broad St., Downtown

“What the Living Know”

Painter/muralist/graffiti artist (and a member of the 2016Alive People to Watch class) Mandi Caskey will present this work of mixed-media paintings inspired by poet Ruth Awad's “Set to Music a Wild Fire” at 934 Gallery. The idea for the show came from Caskey fan-girling Awad at an event in town and proposing the idea pretty much out of nowhere. Thank goodness she did.

934 Gallery

Oct. 5-19

934 Cleveland Ave., Milo-Grogan

“Something in the Woods”

As we consider the spooky in advance of Halloween, thoughts often drift to the darkness and sense of pressing-in that mark the woods and forests. This group exhibition, curated by Logan Schmitt at Blockfort, asks artists to explore the forests and things — real and imagined, tangible and spectral — that live there.


Oct. 1-31

162 N. Sixth St., Downtown

Roger Williams

Rumor has it this longtime, celebrated local artist/muralist (his style is unique — chances are you've seen his work painted on walls around town) has never had a solo exhibition of his work in Columbus. The Ohio Art League will remedy that in October when it opens an exhibition of all-new work by Williams.

Ohio Art League X Space

Oct. 6-27

400 W. Rich St., Franklinton

Black Violin

Wil Baptiste and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester make up this string duo that puts on an energetic and stylish stage show, performing hip-hop, classical, rock, R&B and bluegrass music. Their backing band includes turntablist DJ SPS.

Ohio Theatre

Oct. 8

39 E. State St., Downtown

“A Map of Myself”

One ofAlive's 2018 People to Watch, writer/activist Sara Abou Rashed premieres her one-person, first-person play. “I'm interested in the relationship between people and places. There are many interesting and complex issues of nationality, of immigration, of displacement that inspired the show,” Rashed said. October shows at the Lincoln Theatre will be followed by two presentations at the Columbus Museum of Art in November. If you haven't seen her speak, take in this chance to catch this show so you can one day say “I remember her when… .”

Lincoln Theatre

Oct. 19-20

769 E. Long St., King-Lincoln

“I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100”

This Wil Haygood-curated exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art is the centerpiece of the yearlong, citywide observation of the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. Local events not only draw attention to the art and artists who made the Renaissance happen, but also how they came to Columbus and how other artists in the city were inspired by them.

Columbus Museum of Art

Oct. 19 through Jan. 20, 2019

480 E. Broad St., Downtown

“From the Ground Up”

It's perhaps an unintentional play on words, but “Ground Up” will give audiences a chance to see how the sausage is made, from a choreographic perspective. Hixon Dance will present this interactive dance program that provides a glimpse of how choreography happens and even offers the audience a chance to play choreographer.

McConnell Arts Center

Oct. 20-21

777 Evening St., Worthington

“Breaking the Code”

CATCO will collaborate with Evolution Theatre Company to present Hugh Whitemore's “Breaking the Code,” a play about Alan Turing. A pioneer in the field of computer science, Turing was a math whiz who worked as a code breaker during World War II. A true hero who saved countless lives, his own life nonetheless spiraled out of control, leaving him in ruin, when it was revealed he was in a relationship with another man, a crime in Britain at the time.

Columbus Performing Arts Center

Oct. 24 through Nov. 11

549 Franklin Ave., Downtown

“Lineage: A Collection of Short Ballets”

BalletMet Columbus opens its 2018-2019 season with “Lineage: A Collection of Short Ballets.” The program features three shorter works, each by master choreographers — George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Justin Peck — and each rooted in classic ballet with a twist. Not too modern or traditional, “Lineage” is a great way to check out what BalletMet is up to, buffet-style.

Davidson Theatre

Oct. 26 through Nov. 3

77 S. High St., Downtown

“Concert Pieces”

Oyo Dance Company's fourth season opens with this repertory show, with a pair of special guest performers from New York: Abdiel Cedric Jacobsen and Ari Mayzick. The company continues to grow and make interesting choreographic work, and this program offers a good opportunity for audiences to check in on them.

Ohio Dominican University

Oct. 27-28

1216 Sunbury Rd., Northeast Side

“La Cage Aux Folles”

Here's one of Broadway's biggest and brassiest hits of all time, brought to you by the good folks at Short North Stage. A surprise visit by a son, his fiancee and her conservative parents to a St. Tropez nightclub run by the son's father and his partner turns the club and its corps of drag artists upside-down. This production is based on the 2010 revival.

Garden Theater

Nov. 1-25

1187 N. High St., Short North

David Denniston

This Columbus painter's recent work has focused on creating fictional stories using models placed in a real-life Franklinton space. Another real-life Franklinton space, the Vanderelli Room, will host an exhibition of the work in November.

Vanderelli Room

Reception Nov. 9

218 McDowell St., Franklinton

Mozart & Montero

ProMusica Chamber Orchestra welcomes Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Montero as part of its ongoing Composer/Performer project. In addition to programming two Beethoven symphonies (Symphony No. 10 as completed by Barry Cooper is one), the orchestra will present the world premiere of Montero'sBabel. She will also join the orchestra for a Mozart piano concerto.

Southern Theatre

Nov. 10 and 11

21 E. Main St., Downtown

“Swingin' in Harlem”

Based on the music of the Harlem Renaissance, this new Mark Lomax composition receives its premiere courtesy the Johnstone Fund for New Music. Lomax, the vanguard local drummer/composer, will be joined by saxophonist Eddie Bayard, pianist William Menefield and bassist Dean Hulett for this performance.

Garden Theater

Nov. 28

1187 N. High St., Short North

“Back of the Bus”

The Columbus Museum of Art presents “Back of the Bus: Illustrations by Floyd Cooper” starting in December. The works are from a children's book written by Aaron Reynolds depicting a fictional account of Rosa Park's refusal to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. The powerful paintings feature a process Cooper calls “subtractive,” and provide a new imagination of that significant event in the history of Civil Rights in the United States.

Columbus Museum of Art

Dec. 8 through March 8, 2019

480 E. Broad St., Downtown


Fall takes us right up to the holidays, and Columbus Dance Theatre's annual production helps kick off the season in the city. The ballet provides a less-traditional take on seasonal performing arts, while having become a tradition itself. A full orchestra and choir accompany the performances.

Cowan Hall, Otterbein University

Dec. 14-15

30 S. Grove St., Westerville