Columbus DIY Summer Guide: Arts & Education
Explore Public Art
The Columbus Arts Festival is canceled this year, but all is not lost for art-loving Central Ohioans. By charting a course to the city’s numerous public works, you can create your own self-guided festival. Why not start in one of the fest’s main sites, Genoa Park outside COSI? There you can find one of the most famous works by sculptor Alfred Tibor, a Holocaust survivor who made Columbus his home from 1972 until his death in 2017. Tibor’s Celebration of Life shows a female figure hoisting an infant high in the sky.
Then explore the numerous works of street art found in Franklinton. Kaufman Development’s mixed-use Gravity project (500 W. Broad St.) features multiple murals, among them Eduardo Kobra’s vibrant “Self-Portrait,” showing the artist’s likeness amid colorful geometric shapes. Giovanni Santiago and Eric Hernandez’s “Cycle of Life,” painted on the side of Franklinton Cycleworks (897 W. Broad St.), depicts cyclers of all sorts, many silhouetted in vivid colors, fanning out across the city.
Heading west to the Hilltop, you’ll find several permanent works created as part of previous editions of the annual Summer Jam West Festival. On the Camp Chase Trail, discover Roger J. Williams’ “Movin’ and Groovin’,” an inspiring tribute to art-making of all kinds, while in front of the Hollywood Casino, Andrew Lundberg’s Hilltop Rising sculpture represents a hopeful vision for the neighborhood’s future. Though this year’s Summer Jam is canceled, a new festival-sponsored mural called “Color Your World Green” was expected to go up in May at 3045 Sullivant Ave.
Looking for More Ideas? Check out the rest of our Columbus DIY Summer Guide.
Enjoy Virtual Tours
In the spring, with museum tours and exhibition openings on hold, countless Columbus institutions went online to satisfy patrons. The Columbus Museum of Art’s “Stay Connected” webpage serves as a portal to various stay-at-home art experiences: Visitors can peruse more than 3,500 pieces drawn from the museum’s collection. Others can dive deep with a series of videos illuminating recent exhibitions on the Harlem Renaissance and artist Robert Buck, among others. Want to impress fellow colleagues working remotely? The museum has also made available selected paintings to serve as Zoom backdrops.
It has been a busy few months on YouTube for the Ohio History Connection, which uploaded numerous videos on cultural and historical subjects during its shutdown. One offers an illustrated history of women’s rights pioneer Victoria Woodhull; another provides an up-close look at the center’s vast collection of glass bottles.
With renderings of funny-page favorites Calvin, Hobbes, Charlie Brown and, of course, Snoopy hanging on its walls, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is a popular summer destination, but its riches are available in virtual form thanks to an extensive series of digital exhibits. Visitors to the museum’s website can learn about the work of editorial cartoonist Anne Mergen, famed caricature artist Thomas Nast and The Columbus Dispatch cartoonist for whom the institution is named, Billy Ireland himself.
Though the year’s biggest event season has been upended, some have been rescheduled. Those include the Memorial Tournament (Muirfield, July 13–19), Cinema Columbus (multiple venues, July 23–26), Honda Indy 200 (Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Aug. 7–9), Ohioana Book Festival (Main Library, Aug. 29) and Columbus Pride (Oct. 3).
Other organizations are hoping to hold events as planned, including the Goodguys PPG Nationals (Ohio Expo Center, July 10–12), Westerville Music & Arts Festival (Heritage Park, July 11–12), Dublin Irish Festival (Coffman Park, July 31–Aug. 2), All Ohio Balloon Fest (Union County Airport, Aug. 13–15) Columbus Food Truck Festival (Scioto riverfront, Aug. 14–15), Columbus Summer Wine Festival (Columbus Commons, Aug. 22), Columbus Fiery Foods Festival (Columbus Commons, Aug. 29–30) and Wonderbus Music & Arts Festival (CAS lawn, Aug. 29–30). Leaders for some events, such as the Ohio State Fair, the India Festival and the Greek Festival, plan to make final decisions at a later date, so check websites for updated info.