Things to See and Do in and Around Columbus in September

From the Nelsonville Music Festival to the Buckeyes’ first game to the most robust fall arts season of the pandemic era, there’s no shortage of fun to be had in Central Ohio over the next few weeks.  

Columbus Monthly
Toronto singer-songwriter Julian Taylor will kick off the new season of Six String Concerts at the King Arts Complex on Sept. 9.

Raphael—The Power of Renaissance Imagery: The Dresden Tapestries and Their Impact, Through Oct. 30 

Columbus Museum of Art 

Focusing on six pieces woven in the 17th century from painted compositions by Renaissance master Raphael, this blockbuster exhibition marks the only time these Dresden tapestries have made the trip to the U.S., and the Columbus Museum of Art is the sole American venue for the show. $9–$18; special exhibition is an additional $10. Free admission Sundays; reduced price Thursday evenings. columbusmuseum.org  

Rhythm on the River featuring BalletMet, Sept. 2 

Bicentennial Park 

The city’s Rhythm on the River series closes the season with An Evening of Dance with BalletMet. Students and professional company members of Columbus’ resident ballet troupe will perform in this free event at Bicentennial Park starting at 8 p.m. Bring a blanket or folding chair and come hungry; food trucks will be on hand. sciotomile.com  

Nelsonville Music Festival, Sept. 2–4 

Snow Fork Event Center 

One of the best music fests in Ohio, this three-day event is back but with a new Nelsonville location and a new spot on the calendar (Labor Day weekend). This year’s fest will feature a killer lineup of indie rock, Americana and more, including Japanese Breakfast, Yo La Tengo, Lucinda Williams, Angel Olsen, Neko Case, Mdou Moctar and a handful of Columbus bands. Stuart’s Opera House, a Nelsonville nonprofit that provides programming and arts education for Southeast Ohio kids and adults, produces the festival. $85–$169. nelsonvillefest.org  

Ohio State vs. Notre Dame, Sept. 3 

Ohio Stadium 

The Buckeyes will launch their season with one of the most highly anticipated games of the year, a matchup against the Fighting Irish, a fellow national title contender now coached by ex-Buckeye Marcus Freeman. The nationally televised, prime-time game should have significant College Football Playoff implications. ohiostatebuckeyes.com  

Flooded Landscape in Fours, Sept. 3–28 

Brandt-Roberts Galleries 

In March, celebrated Columbus artist Christopher Burk spent the month in Connecticut as part of a residency through the Josef & Anni Albers Foundation. In the solitude, Burk continued work on a stunning series of oil paintings depicting flooded landscapes that conjure both serenity and catastrophe. Also in September, Brandt-Roberts will host Ohio Mid-Century Modernism, an exhibition featuring several artists who worked at Ohio colleges and universities between the years of 1945 and 1965, including Roy Lichtenstein and Robert King. Free. brandtrobertsgalleries.com  

Julian Taylor, Sept. 9 

King Arts Complex 

Six String Concerts and the King Arts Complex are both celebrating their 35th anniversaries in 2022, and this fall, KAC will host Six String shows in its newly renovated Nicholson Auditorium. Celebrated Toronto singer-songwriter Julian Taylor, touring behind forthcoming album Beyond the Reservoir, kicks off the new season. Los Angeles musician Abby Posner opens the show. $28. sixstring.org  

“Tick, Tick … Boom!” Sept. 9–10 

Garden Theater 

In this semi-autobiographical rock musical by Jonathan Larson, the creator of “Rent,” a struggling New York City composer named Jon wonders if he chose the wrong career. Set in 1990 (“Rent” debuted in 1996), the musical highlights the sacrifices artists are often forced to make. Last year, Netflix debuted a film adaptation directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and starring Andrew Garfield. $100. shortnorthstage.org  

Tony Steinbach, a Columbus comedian and juggler, entertains the crowd at Oktoberfest in 2019.

Oktoberfest, Sept. 9–11 

Ohio Expo Center 

Sponsored by Schmidt’s, this festival has provided attendees with brats, cream puffs and grins for over half a century. Oktoberfest welcomes everyone to celebrate “gemütlichkeit,” meaning warm cordiality and comfortable friendliness, and to enjoy delectable cuisine, lively music, abundant amounts of beer and various games at the Ohio Expo Center/Ohio State Fairgrounds. columbusoktoberfest.com  

“Exit Laughing,” Sept. 9–25 

Eclipse Theatre 

From writer Paul Elliott, this bawdy show centers around three Southern ladies who recently lost a fellow friend—the fourth player in their weekly bridge night. An idea for one last card game leads to the craziest night of their lives, with a police raid, a stripper and a fresh perspective on life. Eclipse Theatre Co. is relatively new to the scene; founded in 2016, it moved to an intimate, 46-seat space on Schrock Road in 2019. $20; admission optional on Sundays. eclipsecolumbus.com  

Steven Wright, Sept. 10 

Davidson Theatre 

“I intend to live forever,” Steven Wright once proclaimed. “So far, so good.” The deadpan comedian, whose jokes infuse philosophically sound rhetoric with straight-faced irony, was ranked as the 15th best standup comedian by Rolling Stone in its 2017 list of the 50 greatest standup comics. Wright also received an Oscar for starring in, writing and producing the 1988 short film, “The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.” $32–$42. capa.com  

Herbert J. Block Memorial Tournament, Sept. 12 

Muirfield Village Golf Club 

The annual Muirfield Village Golf Club event will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year, having raised more than $6.3 million for the Ohio State cancer program since the family of the late Sun Television and Appliances founder Herbert Block established the tournament in 1982. cancer.osu.edu/for-donors-and-volunteers  

Clint Black, Sept. 15 

Knox Memorial Theater 

In the last several years, small cities within an hour’s drive of Columbus have begun renovating historic theaters in their quaint downtowns and booking touring acts that attract music fans from all over Central Ohio. Not content to let Nelsonville and Newark have all the fun, Mount Vernon is getting in on the action with the Mount Vernon Arts Consortium’s inaugural season, which is bringing country star Clint Black to its flagship venue. $58–$125. mvac.org  

Carlos Motta: Your Monsters, Our Idols, Sept. 16–Dec. 30 

Wexner Center for the Arts 

The culmination of a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award project, this multichannel sound installation from Colombia-born artist Carlos Motta explores queer histories and the legacy of colonialism by engaging local residents around the implications of changing the name of Columbus, Ohio. Bonus: The Wex recently made its galleries free for all audiences. wexarts.org  

Pusha T, Sept. 18 

Kemba Live 

Columbus will host two competing hip-hop shows on Sept. 18: The same night Pusha T takes the stage at Kemba Live, Post Malone will perform at Nationwide Arena. While singer/rapper Malone has three multiplatinum records to justify the larger venue, Pusha, who cut his teeth with his brother in hip-hop duo Clipse and is president of Kanye West’s Good Music imprint, is the better rapper. $40. promowestlive.com  

Trombone Shorty, Sept. 20 

Newport Music Hall 

A native of New Orleans, Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, has been performing since the age of 4, and since 2009 the brass musician has been touring with his band, Orleans Avenue. After playing in countless horn sections, he released his Verve Forecast debut Backatown in 2010, and earlier this year Blue Note issued new album Lifted, which features guitarist Gary Clark Jr. and singer Lauren Daigle. $38. promowestlive.com  

A Room of One’s Own, Sept. 20–Oct. 27 

Dublin Arts Council 

Columbus artist Stacy Leeman explores women’s need for physical and psychological space in this solo exhibition of paintings. Featuring framed works on paper, canvas, wood panel and collage, Leeman, a painter influenced by abstract expressionism, drew inspiration from her studio and from the Virginia Woolf essay that serves as the title for this show. Free. dublinarts.org  

Old 97’s, Sept. 21 

The Bluestone 

This pioneering alt-country act from Texas has been going strong for 30 years, led by frontman Rhett Miller, who also has a successful solo career. Beginning as a Dallas bar band and eventually becoming flag-bearers for twangy rock ’n’ roll, Old 97’s released their 12th album in 2020 and named it, fittingly, Twelfth. $21. liveatthebluestone.com  

Breakfast with the Bishop, Sept. 23 

Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel 

Participants will meet the Rev. Earl Fernandes, the new leader of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus, at this Catholic Social Services fundraiser at the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel. colscss.org/upcoming-events  

Death Cab for Cutie, Sept. 26 

Kemba Live 

Follow front man Ben Gibbard, ahem, into the dark when Death Cab plays Kemba Live just days after the release of its 10th studio album, Asphalt Meadows, on Sept. 16. You’re bound to hear the album’s lead single, “Roman Candles” (about “crippling, existential dread”), as well as hits like “Soul Meets Body.” promowestlive.com  

All American Quarter Horse Congress, Sept. 27–Oct. 23 

Ohio Expo Center 

The world’s largest single-breed horse show, this monthlong annual event brings more than 650,000 people to Columbus to see 200-plus exhibitors and 25,000 show entries. Bull riding and freestyle reining are fan favorites. In the horse world, it’s a big deal. quarterhorsecongress.com  

“32 Sounds, ” Sept. 29 

Wexner Center for the Arts 

Ten years ago, filmmaker Sam Green came to the Wexner Center to screen his new documentary, “The Love Song of R. Buckminster Fuller.” But with Green, it’s never a traditional screening. In what has become his signature style, which he describes as a “live cinematic collaboration,” Green narrated the documentary presentation while indie-rock act Yo La Tengo performed the soundtrack live. Now, Green is back with a new project, “32 Sounds,” a meditation on the phenomenon of sound with accompaniment by electronic musician JD Samson (formerly of Le Tigre). $18. wexarts.org  

“Carmina Burana,” Sept. 30–Oct. 1 

Ohio Theatre 

One of Carl Orff’s most famous and controversial compositions, “Carmina Burana” will be brought to life by a formidable trifecta: the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Chorus and the Columbus Children’s Choir. Rossen Milanov will conduct the performance of this majestic 1930s cantata based on 24 medieval poems. $10–$90. columbussymphony.com  

Become a Tutor, Ongoing 

Various Columbus Metropolitan Library branches 

The start of the new school year means the Columbus Metropolitan Library system is looking for volunteers to assist students at its school help centers. columbuslibrary.org/volunteer  

This story is a combination of our Fall Arts Guide and the Datebook feature from the September 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.