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1335 Dublin Rd., Suite 101C Columbus, Ohio 43215 614-572-1240 • Fax 614-572-1241 Kathleen K. Gill President/CEO Gianna Barrett Vice President, Sales Dave Prosser Chief Creative Officer Brandon Klein Senior Editor Cameron Carr Associate Editor Claire Miller, Sarah Robinson Assistant Editors Garth Bishop Contributing Editor Juliana Colant, Megan Roth, Tess Wells Editorial Assistants Emily Lutz, Brendan Martin, Bre Offenberger Contributing Writers Tracy Douds, Dan Nase Advertising Sales Jamie Armistead Accounting Circulation 614-572-1240

CityScene Media Group also publishes Dublin Life, Healthy New Albany Magazine, Pickerington Magazine, Westerville Magazine, Tri-Village Magazine and Discover Grove City Magazine The publisher welcomes contributions in the form of manuscripts, drawings, photographs or story ideas to consider for possible publication. Enclose a SASE with each submission or email Publisher does not assume responsibility for loss or damage. CityScene is published in January, March, May, July, September and November. For advertising information, call 614-572-1240. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publishers. CityScene is a registered trademark of CityScene Media Group. Printed in the U.S.A. ©2021

As a street artist, gallery artist and dollhouse-sized gallery owner, Stephanie Rond is intimately connected to the creative conversations in Columbus. She knows artists in Columbus look out for each other, helping the entire community thrive, and there’s no place she’d rather make her art. Learn more about Stephanie’s story and other Columbus artists, performances, exhibitions, concerts, public art and more at

Photo: Meghan Ralston | Design: Formation Studio

November/December 2021 |



Rock Lawbster

Columbus lawyer’s memoir documents brushes with stars, Rock Hall involvement

Alex Wightman (left) with Dion

EARLY IN ALEC Wightman’s memoir, Music in My Life: Notes from a Longtime Fan, he lays out his two guiding principles: great music and nice people. It’s perhaps a little too simple for understanding Wightman, a truly multidimensional person. A longtime executive partner at BakerHostetler, Wightman has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1995. Yet, simultaneously, he’s lived a double life promoting shows for artists such as Art Garfunkel and members of Buffalo Springfield and Jefferson Airplane. Wightman has also served on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame board for more than 15 years and completed a stint as its chair. Though he’s never been a musician, music has been much more than just a side interest for Wightman. “One of the lines I probably say and I hear people say is, ‘Music speaks to me,’” he says. “The honest to goodness truth is, at least for me, music often spoke for me.” His memoir documents catalysts for a lifelong passion, including early interests in Dion and The Animals; remarkable moments of fandom, such as seeing Neil Young perform his iconic album Tonight’s the Night at Mershon Auditorium two years before its release; and an impressive side career as a promoter for singer-songwriter acts touring through the Columbus area.

The long and winding road Wightman came to music in the late 1950s at the end of rock ‘n’ roll’s formative years. He followed the genre avidly, even taking to reading the industry in6 | November/December 2021

Photos courtesy of Alec Wightman

By Cameron Carr


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sider magazine Billboard, through the British invasion, psychedelia and, as the ’70s set in, folk music and singersongwriters such as Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Carole King. “Great songs that might be very specific to the songwriter often are great because of their universal meaning,” Wightman says. “There’s something being said that others can identify with.” Wightman stumbled into promoting shows when an email list he subscribed to for songwriter Tom Russell, whose songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash and others, noted an open tour date. After Wightman expressed interest, a call from Russell himself persuaded him to follow through. Thus, Wightman’s Zeppelin Productions was born. Wightman’s promotion practice is a distinctly personal affair. Particularly in the early years, his family would get involved by taking tickets at the door, managing merch tables or chauffeuring artists. Afterward, Wightman often took the artists out for food and drinks. Those nights, and the bonds formed during them, give life to the musicians featured in his book. Wightman jokes that he’s been able to balance his law career with promoting concerts by redirecting the time and money that most of his partners put toward golf.

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Wightman with Darlene Love

“When I started promoting concerts, people would tease me a little bit because I was doing it at the peak of my career as both a busy lawyer and a law firm manager,” he says. “Listening to music, going to concerts, there was always time for that.” While some of Wightman’s bookings, such as Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell, have brushed with mainstream success, most have lived in relative anonymity to those not in the know. But those Zeppelin

8 | November/December 2021

Productions concerts proved influential for Wightman’s future with music. “It probably was only because I was promoting the shows that I caught the attention of the folks at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame,” Wightman says. He joined the board of the Rock Hall in 2004 and commuted to Cleveland from his Columbus home as necessary. From 2013-2016, he served as chair of the board. With the Rock Hall, Wightman has worked alongside industry moguls such as Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner and Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau, occasionally making the acquaintance of artists, Springsteen included. For Wightman, who had attended the Rock Hall’s opening concert in 1995 – featuring Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Springsteen and many others – the experience of leading the board was a surreal opportunity. “Chairing the board of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame was an absolute highlight of my life,” he says. Turn the page Music in My Life aims to chronicle roughly 60 years of Wightman’s fandom, from age 10 up to the present, with asides

jumping forward in time to recount related experiences. Like his concert promotion, the book became a passion project evolving from a vast collection of notecards into something fuller. As those notes developed into a memoir, Wightman was cautious to prevent the book from becoming about him rather than the music. More than anything, he tried to capture the magic of music and the joy that it can bring to people, the same joy he witnesses at the concerts he continues to book, predominantly at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza’s locations in Grandview Heights and Worthington. “I would, and still do, regularly stand on the side of the room when there’s some wonderful artist on stage and look out in the crowd and see a couple hundred people with enraptured looks on their faces and think, ‘Holy cow, I had something to do with bringing pleasure to all these people,’” Wightman says. “That’s a wonderful feeling and not one that I’ve felt at any other point in my life. Lawyers don’t get those looks.” CS Cameron Carr is associate editor. Feedback welcome at


Persistent Pollen Ohio State expert offers tips during fall allergy season By Brandon Klein

THE FALL ALLERGY season is likely to be-

come longer in the coming years, says Dr. Kara Wada. The allergen expert at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center notes several factors that could contribute to a longer pollen season in Columbus. “In general, central Ohio is known to have a robust or significant pollen or allergy load,” Wada says. Although cities located far away from the equator have longer pollen seasons, the Dr. Kara Wada increase in global temperatures over the last decade could delay the first frost in central Ohio, she says. In addition, central Ohio has experienced tremendous growth over the last two decades – a boon for ragweed, the primary driver of the fall allergy season. Ragweed, native to the North American region, grows along highways and railroads as it consumes carbon dioxide from car exhaust, sunlight and rain to thrive. Ten to 30 percent of U.S. adults experience sinus flare-ups during the fall. It can have a huge impact when those afflicted experience cloudy headaches, congestion and swollen eyes.

the guessing game when they start to experience symptoms associated with both COVID-19 and allergies. “To be quite honest, it’s gotten harder,” Wada says. She recommends erring on the side of caution by getting a COVID-19 test if you experience such reactions. There are a few differences between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms, though. People with allergies are more likely to experience itching in the eyes and nose than with the virus. And, despite the term “hay fever,” allergies often don’t come with a fever, Wada adds.

COVID-19 or Allergy As the COVID-19 pandemic rages with the Delta variant a significant threat, many central Ohioans have likely played

Local Honey: The Magical Cure? Some people believe that consuming local honey can help strengthen their immune system to allergies.

10 | November/December 2021

“I wish it were true,” Wada says. “I love honey, I love supporting our local beekeepers.” But the honey produced by the bees requires pollen from floral plants instead of the ragweed, the primary driver of fall allergies in central Ohio. Different from floral plants, ragweed doesn’t need bees to reproduce. During the fall, ragweed produces an excess of pollen to ensure its survival as a species, as the pollen lands in places where it will grow. The honey – local or store-bought, it doesn’t matter – will not strengthen the immune system to the ragweed pollen that causes allergies, but can help alleviate allergy and cold symptoms, Wada says. It doesn’t replace allergy shots or immunotherapy to strengthen the immune system’s response to fall allergies, though.

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Reducing Exposure In addition to ragweed, there are several different molds that can cause allergies. People often come in contact with them when raking leaves, laying down mulch and performing other outdoor tasks to prepare for the winter season. Wada recommends people not only change clothes and take a shower after completing those outdoor chores, but also clean out their sinuses with a saline solution. Wearing a mask while raking the leaves can help reduce exposure. Medication Tips Many people who suffer from allergies use diphenhydramine, best known by the brand name Benadryl, to alleviate symptoms. Wada recommends other alternatives to the over-the-counter drug that last longer and don’t come with drowsy side effects. Recent studies indicate diphenhydramine can cause memory issues in older individuals, too, she adds. Nose sprays can help prevent allergy symptoms flaring up if used preemptively, Wada says, though they won’t work quickly if used when symptoms are their worst. “It works best if used on a regular daily basis,” she says. “With treating allergies, try to keep the horses in the barn if you use medications in a preventive manner instead of reactive manner.” CS

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holiday parties of all kinds, and dietary restrictions are no excuse to leave this beautiful snack centerpiece out of your spread. Three Columbus cheese and cured meat experts explain how anyone can get in on the trend. John Reese, culinary director at Black Radish Creamery, says there are many routes to take for a classic charcuterie board. He stresses that using quality ingredients and talking to experts will lead to the best results. “If you’re going to put the money down, you should buy cheese that’s handled correctly,” Reese says. “Talk to cheesemongers about what will go with the evening.” Going to a cut-to-order cheese counter such as Black Radish’s gives customers the opportunity to discuss their plans with experts and create the best pairings, Reese says. If steak is on the menu, they may recommend a bleu cheese pairing. If it is a more formal event, it’s best to avoid messier cheese or preserve spreads. In addition to quality and context, Reese says variety is a vital factor in a successful board. This includes variety in textures, tastes and colors, as people always eat with their eyes first. The layout of the board is also important. Symmetry can add visual appeal, but it’s better to go completely random if perfect symmetry can’t be achieved. Adding cheese curds to the outside of the board can preserve your creation if kids are in attendance. Reese says it’s important to have one component go either the whole way or the majority of the way across the board. This creates a visual flow that is very appealing. Flowers also add visual appeal, but nothing inedible should be included on the board. Reese details a classic charcuterie board with Spanish influence: Manchego, chorizo, Iberico ham, sheep or goat’s milk

Going Over Board 12 | November/December 2021

Pescatarian • Feta, pepper drop and olive antipasto • Havarti cheese with dill • Smoked Atlantic salmon • Sesame smoked ahi tuna • Shrimp salsa • Cracker assortment • Candied pecans • Dried apricots

Local experts weigh in on the best path to a successful charcuterie spread By Emily Lutz

Photos by Ray LaVoie, Charcuterie styling by Stacey Sanders November/December 2021 |


• Herbed tahini sauce • Boursin dairy free garlic and herbs dip • Seeds and grains crispbread • Cauliflower crisps snacks • Bell peppers • Cherry tomatoes • Raspberries • Strawberries • Clementines • Golden berries (cape gooseberries) • Organic tri-color carrots • Green and red grapes • Cornichons • Shishito peppers • Blackberries • Kiwi

cheese with Spanish origin, Marcona almonds and Valencia oranges, served with tapas as hors d’oeuvres or included on the board. He recommends about 3-4 ounces of cheese per person. If pescatarians are on the invite list, Jacob Canary, executive chef at Marcella’s Short North, can make recommendations. Marcella’s house-cured salmon is a tasty centerpiece for a Mediterranean-inspired board, Canary says. 14 | November/December 2021

Canary recommends the salmon be paired with arugula salad, heirloom tomatoes, quality olives and orange slices. He agrees with the sentiment that visual components are vital, which can be achieved with different jams and jellies. “What I like most is when you can get different colors in there,” he says. In 2021, there are plenty of opportunities to include vegans as well. There’s a whole world of plant-based meat and cheese products with no shortage of flavor. Carl Underwood, founder and owner of Vida’s Plant Based Butcher, opened the business with the goal of providing locally sourced, artisan, vegan meats and cheeses to Columbus. “Every day, we’re still growing and trying to make every product better,” Underwood says. With a wide variety of products including mozzarella; bleu cheese; pepper jack; cheddar; dill, strawberry, and mountain blackberry havarti; prosciutto; smoked turkey and ham; and pepperoni, the ultimate charcuterie board is completely possible without a single animal product. CS

Marcella’s Short North

Visit for details on the board pictured on the cover.

Emily Lutz is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at

For more inspiration, check out the creative boards in Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion by Maegan Brown

Photo courtesy of Marcella’s


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on the scene

Festive Evolution

What do oranges, aluminum and Jell-O have in common? By Tess Wells


go hand-in-hand with gifted Apple products and photos taken on everything but film, tradition and history can still hold a place in the festivities. Since the 19th century, when Christmas trees began to gain popularity, Christmas in particular has grown more and more commercialized, with many familiar and unfamiliar holiday happenings beginning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One practice, which has been largely phased out in place of other stocking stuffers, was the gifting of oranges in stockings. During the Great Depression, many families still felt compelled to give gifts, even if more expensive items weren’t feasible. So they would instead give oranges, which were hard to come by in the winter, especially in colder climates. These sweet treats are also linked to the legend of Saint Nicholas, who, it is said, gave three bags of gold to a man who did not have enough money to pay his daughters’ dowries. These balls of gold were tossed down the chimney and landed in the daughters’ stockings, later represented in the 19th century by oranges. A holiday tradition that has come and gone more recently also happens to be fruity, but with a little more jiggle. Enter here the Jell-O salad. The sweet, packaged Jell-O people know and love today rose to popularity at the beginning of the 20th century, but really began to find its place in the American home after World War II. Women who had previously been helping in war efforts returned to their kitchens, and JellO was seen as a way to pour the creativity and energy they had brought to the workforce into the home.

16 | November/December 2021

Often served alongside an elaborate Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, Jell-O salads served a multitude of purposes, from a vessel for leftovers to an expression of culinary creativity. Although dishes such as the famous ‘perfection salad’ – a recipe that morphed slightly from its conception in 1905, eventually consisting of limeflavored gelatin and shredded vegetables – and other treats that involved dumping pre-packaged and canned foods into a mold were popular for decades, the tradition has largely faded since the turn of the century.

Traditions regarding other, inedible holiday cornerstones have been everchanging as well. Aluminum trees being were all the rage for several years until being killed by A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965. Because an aluminum tree wasn’t enough, decorations such as tinsel and fake snow were made popular around the same time. CS Tess Wells is an editorial assistant. Feedback welcome at

financing the dream

Planning Ahead

Get an early start on preparing for retirement and future care needs By Cameron Carr

WHEN IT COMES to planning out your financial future, one adage rings eternal: It’s never too early. While it can seem daunting to think of retirement for yourself or even a child far in advance, most financial experts recommend beginning planning at a first job and continuing regularly as the time approaches. “With retirement planning, we think it’s important to have a plan as early as possible,” says Leif Mahler, senior vice president of investments for Mahler Wealth Management. “We occasionally get referrals who are people approaching retirement in their early 60s with unrealistic expectations of a particular retirement lifestyle given how much they’ve saved.” By considering retirement years and future financial needs early, a person is better able to plan their portfolio for those needs. The idea is to work with a financial adviser to set goals related to timeline and lifestyle, then form a strategy to reach those goals. “First and foremost, our job is to understand the client’s goals,” Mahler says. “Often, people see their financial adviser as exclusively an investment manager. While we do manage investments, we need to understand what we’re trying to accomplish before investing a client’s assets.” A common pitfall Mahler sees is planning based entirely on portfolio withdrawals and Social Security income that either incorrectly accounts for the future taxes and inflation or, worse, gives those factors no consideration. An adviser can help plan to prepare for those factors, compound wealth and safeguard against the unexpected.

18 | November/December 2021

Forming a strategy early makes it easier to strengthen a portfolio by diversifying investments over time. Ideally, a portfolio will include assets that are tax-deferred, such as a 401(k) or traditional individual retirement account; taxable, including bank accounts and personal investments; and tax-free, like a Roth IRA. To do this, Mahler again stresses the importance of starting early. “It’s hard to save at first,” Mahler says, “but the faster we can encourage young investors to contribute to their retirement plan at work, the better off they’ll be in the long run. Compounding wealth is a key component of investing and even small contributions at first can make a big difference in a long-term retirement plan.” Mahler says future planning is often a multi-generational task. Working with families, he often encourages getting children involved with an adviser as they transition from school into the work force. Long-term care Just as important as retirement in preparing for the future is the potential for long-term care needs. While a commonly noted figure states that 70 percent of people will eventually need long-term care, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) cautions that the figure can be misleading.

“This number, based on a government study conducted years ago, may be accurate,” per the AALTCI website, “but the definition for ‘long-term care’ is quite encompassing and not relevant to a discussion regarding long-term care insurance utilization.” The AALTCI points out that a 10-day stay in a skilled nursing facility, which would not qualify for long-term care insurance benefits, would be counted toward that 70 percent figure. The AALTCI stresses that spending can’t be averaged out. While it’s tempting to look for an expected expense, the fact that some people will never need longterm care eliminates the relevancy of a mean number. Planning as a family can be just as important for long-term care. Again, it’s wise to consider realistic expectations for future health needs as well as goals and lifestyle expectations. A better gauge of cost might be the type of care that a person would want to receive, though that also varies with health needs. “This is what makes planning so difficult and usually forces tradeoffs in a family’s retirement plan,” Mahler says. “If you spend five years in a nursing home, it is a dramatically different situation than paying for a year of home care services.” Mahler says that a private room in a nursing homes costs about $105,000 a year

on average, while home aides or services will likely cost closer to $55,000 for a year. Bringing the family into these discussions can be beneficial. It’s not uncommon, Mahler says, for parents to anticipate children acting as their primary care providers, while children might actually prefer to include a hired caretaker, even at the expense of a future inheritance. Likewise, individual aims for a future estate will vary. A person who hopes to keep their estate well-preserved for descendants will take a different approach than, say, a couple with no children. An adviser can help to clarify the best options for long-term care insurance based on those expectations, Mahler says. Investing in traditional life insurance can help to preserve an estate by offloading some of the financial risk onto another entity. Alternatively, self-insuring, or using a personal portfolio to cover any potential costs, might make sense for those with less concern about a future estate – or for those who expect fewer future care needs and prefer to keep the money in hand. Hybrid life and annuity policies with long-term care riders can provide a middle ground, Mahler says. Planning for long-term care generally starts much later than it does for retirement. Mahler recommends starting the discussion in one’s late 50s or early 60s. Checking in regularly with financial advisers, however, can help to keep retirement planning and investments on track in advance of those needs. CS

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on the scene

Connected Community

Verena at Hilliard’s special connection with Hilliard branch library By Brandon Klein

dents of the Verena at Hilliard community – and without the rain, snow or hot summer sun. The 159-apartment older adult community directly adjoins to the Hilliard branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, providing direct interior access to its residents. “We are building an exceptional campus that will position Verena at Hilliard to be one of the most attractive and inviting independent senior living communities in the Columbus market,” says Jim Pusateri, CEO of True Connection Communities, the senior living operator of Verena. Verena was originally conceived as a traditional retirement community, but the project came to a halt in 2008 because of the recession. The library purchased the area originally intended to become the clubhouse for the original retirement community and opened its new Hilliard branch in 2018. Investment firm Green Courte Partners bought the Verena property earlier this year with plans to convert some of the two-bedroom apartments into more affordable onebedroom apartments and existing space into dedicated programming space with a theater, fitness center, craft/activities room, home health care office and salon. Pusateri says he is excited about the physical connector with the library. It will allow grandparents to take their grandchildren to the library for storytimes and access the library’s vast content of books, DVDs and other resources. “It’s a fabulous amenity for our residents,” he says. To the best of his knowledge, Pusateri says, Verena is the only such community connected to a public library.

20 | November/December 2021

In addition to the library, residents will have interior access to a 9,000-square-foot clubhouse that will serve as a central dining room and bistro for residents. Other amenities include a catch-and-release fishing pond and access to trails and green space. Pusateri wants residents to stay connected with the community before moving into Verena. Community staff will help those residents organize group events to museums, sporting events and other activities. “When parents move to a community, the right thing is to make sure the community is inclusive,” he says.

Residents’ family members will be able to take advantage of the community’s amenities such as making reservations at the bistro and working out at the fitness center. If residents are part of groups, they can host meetings in the community and take advantage of Verena’s catering services. “I think it’s different from what the industry normally does,” Pusateri says. Verena at Hilliard is expected to be fully open by the end of 2022. CS Brandon Klein is senior editor. Feedback welcome at

Renderings courtesy of True Connection Communities

THE LIBRARY IS only a stroll away for resi-

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cheers to the holiday 1 Go local with High Bank Distillery’s Whiskey War Barrel

Proof Whiskey. In the distillery’s own words, this “blended rye-heavy mash bill starts sweet on the front of your palate and ends with a hint of pepper.” Price: $66.99. www.high

2 Tanteo Tequila, the only tequila owned by its co-op of agave farmers, has released a limited-edition, seasonal expression, Tanteo Navidad. This ultra-premium Añejo tequila rested for 18 months in American oak barrels, then was hand-infused with pequin chilis, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, ginger and cocoa beans. Navidad mixes with a variety of holiday cocktails, including from eggnog, mulled wines and mules. Ten percent of all profits go towards Un Salto Con Destino, a charity providing essential medical services to underprivileged members of Tanteo’s Mexican community. Price: $59.99. www.tanteo


The Royce Eat. Drink. Vibe.

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The Royce is the place where great cooking and fantastic vibes meet. Our food and drinks are delicious and we welcome diners young and old. Try it yourself—book your table or stop by today!


GIFT cards for the holidays Stocking stuffers for all • Barra Tacos and Cocktails • Cameron Mitchell Restaurants • Easton Town Center • Figlio Wood Fired Pizza • Lindey’s Restaurant & Bar • Massey’s Pizza • Moretti’s Restaurant on Sawmill • Nocterra Brewing Co. • North Market • Roosters • The Royce Gastropub

8791 Lyra Dr Columbus, OH 43240 614-468-1313 November/December 2021 |


memberships of experience 1 An ultimate family membership to COSI includes not only year-long admission to

COSI, but also free or discounted reciprocal admission to more than 360 science centers, discounts to more than 200 childrens centers, and additional add-on guests. Price: $361.25.

2 A family membership to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium includes discounts at Safari Golf Club and Zoombezi Bay single-day tickets and season passes. Price: $189. www.

3 The benefactor level membership to Franklin Park Conservatory also includes free admission to special engagements for the member and its guest, free daytime admission for six guests and recognition in the annual report. Price: $500.

4 The benefactor level membership to Columbus Museum of Art includes two Choose Your Favorite Icon

named adults, an invitation to the annual Art Celebration gala and four guests per visit. Price: $950.

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north market tote bag Shopping at North Market can be green and stylish at the same time with this hand-screen printed tote bag. Made with heavy cotton canvas, these totes come in three designs: onesided print of Downtown Columbus or Bridge Park, and two-sided print with Downtown on one side and Bridge Park on the other. Price: $20. Don’t forget to check out some of the newest additions to the North Market family of merchants:

The Pastry Factory Downtown location

Saddleberk Bridge Park location

for the book lover The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, Dan Buettner H Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson H Music in My Life: Notes From a Longtime Fan, Alec Wightman H Forgotten Landmarks of Columbus, Tom Betti & Doreen Uhas Sauer, For Columbus Landmarks Foundation H The Little Devil in America, Hanif Abdurraqib The Vanishing Half, Brit Bennett H Visit to enter a contest to win a free copy.

Drink Jackie O’s, Wear Jackie O’s Homage has a shirt for every occasion, including when a brewery opens up shop in Columbus. Recognize Athens original Jackie O’s new downtown Columbus location with this apparel. Raise a glass of Bourbon Barrel Black Maple or Bonneville Barleywine to one of the great brewpubs in the Midwest. Price: $32.

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Older Adult Benefits Programs/benefits around Columbus for 55+ community members

By Megan Roth

Did you know older adults in Columbus can receive gym access and fitness classes at zero cost? Or, in Grove City, older adults can get discounted rides on-demand? These programs are just a slice of the many benefits available to older adults throughout central Ohio. Medicare support groups, health and nutrition seminars, on-demand transportation services – we’ve got you covered. Westerville Westerville offers an online Choice Market through the Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM). WARM’s food pantry offers older adults in need extensive food options. Orders can be placed on WARM’s website, www.warmwesterville. org, or by calling 614-568-8700. WARM also offers a Hope program, where staff meets with seniors one to two times per month for conversation and to provide resources. Meetings can be conducted inperson or by phone. Westerville is also home to a health service provider that provides free services for qualifying patients. Vineyard Free Health Clinic, located within the Vineyard Community Center, provides free medical, chiropractic, dental and vision care. Appointments are required for most services and can be made by calling 614-259-5428. New Albany Healthy New Albany’s Senior Connections provides older adults with a variety of programs to support them mentally, physi32 | November/December 2021

cally and socially. Each month, Healthy New Albany hosts confidence in health and nutrition seminars, fitness classes, nature walks, and social events. For questions or to join the Senior Connections group, email programs@healthy or call 614-685-6344. Dublin The Seniority Benefit Group helps older adults understand Medicare benefits. The group offers free guidance on navigating the health care system, that includes in-person “Medicare and Muffins” events, health care in retirement seminars, one-on-one advising and a wide range of digital resources you can access at home. For more information, call 614-799-1403 or email Grove City Grove City offers an on-demand transportation service through a partnership with COTA. The program, COTA//Plus, covers more than 22 miles of Grove City and Jackson Township. Download the COTA//Plus app on your phone or call 614-308-4400 to schedule a ride. Rides arrive within 15 minutes of the request and can hold up to six passengers. The COTA//Plus programs offer older adults discounts, with $2 fare each way using the promo code COTASEN.

Pickerington The Pickerington Senior Center offers a wide range of activities and programs for older adults. Each week, the center offers multiple exercise classes, including strength training and square dancing. Educational seminars are also held, with emphases on pertinent topics including health care, financial planning and legal issues. Other social activities and local day trips throughout Columbus are also offered. For more information, visit Tri-Village The Upper Arlington Commission on Aging (UACOA) offers an extensive resource directory for older adults including

educational presentations, friendly phone line programs, snow removal services, volunteer opportunities and more. UACOA offers “A Matter of Balance,” workshops featuring practical suggestions to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels. For information on class sessions, contact UACOA at 614-5835326. Additionally, the Upper Arlington Fire Department offers Knox Boxes for purchase. The miniature steel vaults save emergency responders time by allowing quick access to a homeowners key inside the box. The only way to open a Knox Box is with a key held by the fire department. To purchase a box or get more information, call 614-583-5100. Columbus The City of Columbus has a variety of benefits available for older adults as well. The Ohio State University, Columbus State Community College and Otterbein University all provide older adults the opportunity to enroll in classes in any department. Additionally, the SilverSneakers program gives older adults the opportunity to participate in online classes or attend select gyms at zero cost. Finally, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department offers a free membership with access to activity and relaxation programs at community centers throughout Columbus. A monthly newsletter with events and offerings can be mailed to your home. Find more info at CS Megan Roth is an editorial assistant. Feedback welcome at November/December 2021 |




Celebrating Safely Senior care makes updates for holidays in a pandemic

Wengerd, owner and presi- gathering had to be scrapped. The living dent of Home Care Assis- community has gotten creative, though. tance. “Knowing that we’re In 2020, Wallick organized a drive-by pathere and their families are rade of families and friends for the Fourth there to care for them has of July to give a visual connection to resibeen a huge blessing for dents unable to have visitors at the time. our company to see on a “We always knew family was impordaily basis.” tant,” says Stephanie Hess, vice president Wengerd says that of senior living operations at Wallick. “I many COVID-19 precau- think we were reminded over and over tions were already part of again how important they are to our resithe routine for senior care dents. So our goal is to try to connect the organizations. Updates to families of residents in any way we possibly protocol often revolved can while meeting the safety and health around increasing the requirements, but also understanding how frequency of practices important it is for them to be together.” such as hand-washing and As the spread of COVID-19 has varied mask-wearing. and health guidance has changed accordThe larger change for ingly, Wallick has adjusted its practices as home care has been in the well. In part due to the availability of vacpersonalized aspect inher- cinations, more internal community events ent to those individualized and interactions have become possible. Home Care Assistance staff – from left to right: Fatmata services. Home Care AsHess says that, while visitation and Kanu, Victoria Smith-Baker, Lori Wengerd and Kellie sistance discusses expecta- celebrations likely won’t be at their preReynolds – celebrated caregivers as heroes for their tions for holidays, as well pandemic norms this year, the community work with older adults throughout the pandemic. as how those can be carried expects more opportunities for interacout safely, with families, tions with loved ones. In place of more All is merry and bright during the even if families may not be as physically open holiday celebrations, Wallick hopes together as in years past. to use its private dining room for residents holiday season. But for some se- close In senior living communities, there to share meals with visiting loved ones. niors, the holidays can be an emo- are different obstacles to making those Spreading love from home tionally isolating time, especially connections. At Wallick Communities, an annual During the holiday season, it’s easy to with COVID-19 precautions. Christmas party that included Santa get caught up in the never-ending list of Senior care facilities have adapted their Claus, a tree, food and a large community things to do. Don’t forget to add checkholiday traditions to accommodate the safety of their clients and residents with“Knowing that we’re there and their families are out sacrificing enjoyment and connection. there to care for them has been a huge blessing.” “Older adults greatly look forward to Lori Wengerd, owner and president of Home Care Assistance interacting with other people,” says Lori 34 | November/December 2021

Photos courtesy of Home Care Assistance and Wallick Communities

By Juliana Colant

A Wallick Communities resident enjoys a seasonal art project.

ing in on those in the community, especially seniors, to the list. For them, time with others is ultimately the gift that keeps on giving. “The best thing people can do is look for neighbors, and family members and friends who are in need,” Wengerd says. “Do small things for them like shoveling their snow so they can get to their mailbox or helping them get decorations out of closets. If it is safe in your situation to do so, make an effort to see the older adult in your life, not just by phone and Zoom. To physically see your loved ones, no matter how short of a time it is, that will be a gift. That is probably the No. 1 thing people want right now because they’re feeling isolated.” Hess, too, stresses that little actions can go a long way in making an impact on a senior, whether it’s a favor for a neighbor or a call to a relative. “No gesture’s too small,” Hess says. “I think that it gives me hope for our future, just knowing that we have so many folks out there who care about the people that live in our communities.” CS Juliana Colant is an editorial assistant. Feedback welcome at

SENIOR RESOURCES Home Care Assistance 2098 Tremont Center, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Friendship Village of Dublin 6000 Riverside Dr, Dublin, OH 43017

Otterbein Gahanna SeniorLife Neighborhood 402 Liberty Way, Gahanna, OH 43230

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November/December 2021 |




Senior Survey

Should the age considered “senior citizen” be higher?

By Sarah Grace Smith

It’s no secret: Life expectancy has soared in recent decades. When the government began the Social Security program in the 1930s, life expectancy sat around 61 years old. Now, it’s almost 80. Should the age at which someone is designated a “senior citizen” be higher? Should the age for senior citizen benefits be raised? Dr. Robert Murden, a geriatrics physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, weighs in on the topic. “People are healthier. People at age 65 are certainly healthier than they were 30 years ago at age 65,” he says. “People are healthier into their late 60s and early 70s, on average.” Cleaner air and water, better nutrition and living environments, a decrease in smoking, and an increase in exercise all contribute to greater life expectancy, Murden says. Surprisingly, technological advances haven’t had as great of an impact, though routine medical interventions such as treating high blood pressure and high cholesterol have significantly helped as well. However, the heart and lung systems are physiologically deteriorating at the same rate. So while people are living longer, they still face the negative effects of aging. The average age at which patients need to see a geriatrician has also increased by a few years, but Murden warns against making generalizations around age. 36 | November/December 2021

“There are people at 65 who have dementia; they should certainly see a geriatrician,” he says. “(There are also) people in their 70s who have almost no problems (and are) on no medicines who don’t need to see a geriatrician. So there isn’t a clear cutoff.” Each geriatric practice has different policies on the age requirement of patients, ranging anywhere from 65 to 85. Murden points out that the differences in older adults are much more varied than those in younger people. As an example, most 25-year-olds should be able to do the same physical activities, with a few outliers. Among 65-yearolds, however, some can run marathons while some can’t get out of bed. “(Older adults are) a much more heterogeneous population,” he says. “That’s one of the reasons it’s harder to make definite cutoffs and hard to make decisions about things like Social Security and Medicare.” As more people are living past 65, more are using programs such as Medicare and Social Security. When the programs were built, they only had to provide 5-10 years of service per person. Now, they provide about 20. Thus, Social Security and Medicare will likely not have enough funds for later generations. “Some people are very sick at 65,” Murden says. “So if you moved up Medicare to a later age, they wouldn’t get that advantage.” Right now, Medicare begins for citizens at age 65, and Social Security be-

gins at 62 but doesn’t grant full benefits until you reach a certain age depending on when you were born. Different organizations have different viewpoints as to what the term “senior citizen” means. Most food chains such as McDonald’s consider seniors to be 50-55, while local restaurants generally consider seniors as 60-65. Both groups of restaurants are still using lower numbers. AARP also uses age 50 as a marking point for older adults. Taking all this into consideration, it seems that, despite an increase in longevity and health, society and medicine still deem senior citizens to be around the same age. CS Sarah Grace Smith is an editorial assistant. Feedback welcome at


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Luxury Living

Bedroom Begone Replacement of a bedroom with a new sitting room highlights top-to-bottom UA remodel


n extraneous bedroom converted to a sitting area transformed an Upper Arlington condominium from an ordinary residence to a destination for visitors – with plenty of conversation pieces. J.S. Brown & Co. undertook a complete remodel of the condo’s interior. The project took most of 2019, though most of it was done by mid-year. “We touched every single room in some fashion or another,” says J.S. Brown Vice President of Sales Monica Lewis, who designed the remodel project along with Interior Designer Meredith Young. The homeowners are empty-nesters. They were looking to downsize, but loved the location so much that they decided to adjust it to meet their needs, Lewis says – which means everything needed to be brought up to date and made suitable for company as well as daily living. “It was basically taking this condo and turning it into their retirement home that they could live in,” Lewis says. Taking into account the many, many, many singular changes – including new flooring and higher ceilings in some areas – the biggest overall change, Lewis says, is a total shift in flow. And that shift starts with the bedroom-to-sitting-room conversion. “It just feels much bigger and more open,” she says. “Because they are empty-nesters, they don’t need two extra bedrooms.”

38 | November/December 2021

J.S. Brown – which had completed three renovations for the homeowners at their previous residence – opened up an entire section of wall to facilitate the new sitting room. Visitors can migrate there from the kitchen, dining area or living area to the new room, which would have been far more isolated had it remained a bedroom. Said living room, which was highlighted by a brick fireplace area, was previously the only gathering space of any significance in the house. Now, though, visitors can travel through a double doorway with bookcases on either side to the sitting room. The room already had a pleasant view of the patio and beyond. J.S. Brown added modified molding on the ceiling for a more comfortable look, as well as an adjacent powder room. The previously existing living room is highlighted by decorative ceiling beams. The most noticeable change, though, might be to the fireplace. The homeowners are big fans of the limestone theme throughout Upper Arlington, so J.S. Brown found some cultured stone to cover the fireplace, then added

a mantle and a gas log insert to make it more convenient. “The fireplace was brick originally, and it matches the brick on the outside of the house,” says Lewis. “They like it on the outside of the house, but inside, they felt it was too dark.” The space connecting the living and sitting rooms – previously a closet for the former bedroom – has been outfitted with new bookcases. The kitchen has been completely rearranged as well. J.S. Brown removed a doorway that was immediately to the left of the house’s entrance – the homeowners didn’t like the idea of people walking in and instantly having a view of dirty dishes in the sink – and reoriented the space, turning an L-shaped kitchen with an extra wall to a galley kitchen. The cabinets got taller to take advantage of new ceiling height,

Photos courtesy of J.S. Brown & Co.

By Garth Bishop

November/December 2021 |


and went from oak to white to brighten up the room, with new appliances, pendant chandeliers and a quartz countertop along for the ride. The removal of the original doorway to the kitchen meant big changes for the foyer as well. The homeowners wanted more space to display artwork, family photos and other decorative items, and there’s now more wall space without the doorway there. In the first-floor master suite, the bathroom was expanded to add a more comfortable shower and brightened up considerably. The sinks and vanity have more space, storage was added below the vanity and in wall cabinets, and a toilet nook offers additional storage. J.S. Brown used porcelain and quartz exclusively for the shower, giving it an impressive look but keeping maintenance needs low. The bedroom saw some changes as well, including new paint, a new door to the bathroom space, more built-ins and extra closet storage thanks to some previously unused space under the stairs. The most noticeable work was done on the first floor, but the second floor saw some significant changes of its own, included an overhauled bathroom, new railings for the loft – overlooking the living room on one side and separating the space from the foyer and stairs on the other – and more convenient attic access via a bookcase that swings open. The second-floor bathroom as converted from a tub/shower combo to shower only, with all new fixtures, materials and cabinets. And every part of the house saw improvements to the trim. The homeowners 40 | November/December 2021

weren’t impressed by the existing 2 ¼ inch Colonial casings, so J.S. Brown added a backband to build the casings up, rather than go through the arduous process of recasing everything. “It was a less expensive (set of) molding details, but it gave them the same results in the end to add that extra layer all the way around,” says Lewis. In 2020, the house won a Contractor of the Year award from the local chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for Entire House $250,000$500,000. CS Garth Bishop is a contributing editor. Feedback welcome at

Luxury Living

Peak Parade Performance Award winners from the 2021 BIA Parade of Homes By Garth Bishop

Overall, for its model home in Jerome Village’s Eversole Run neighborhood. 3 Pillar Director of Operations Emily Chapin points to the interior design, huge kitchen and covered back porch with built-in grill as some of its most popular features. Also looking good in the high-value category is Cua Builders, which tied with Trinity for Best Overall runner-up and also scored Best Outdoor Living. The awardwinning house, located in Evans Farm in southern Delaware County, is highlighted by 16-foot cathedral ceilings on the second floor, as well as an enormous amount of outdoor space. “(Visitors) love the amount of indoor and outdoor entertaining space,” says company President Tom Cua. CS 3 Pillar Homes, winner of Best Overall, Best Floorplan and Best Owners Retreat

Garth Bishop is a contributing editor. Feedback welcome at

in the Single-Family Homes $700,000 and Up category.

Photos courtesy of 3 Pillar Homes and Ray LaVoie


ith some 60 houses on the tour this year, the BIA Parade of Homes had more award winners to recognize than ever before. A huge diversity of different home types led to honors for a much larger variety of builders. Awards were broken into five categories: condominiums $499,000 and under and condominiums $500,000 and up, as well as single-family homes $499,000 and under, $500,000-$699,000, and $700,000 and up. Winners were named at the BIA Parade Excellence Party in late September. The biggest winner was Epcon Communities, which took home seven first-place awards for five properties, primarily in the highvalue condo category. Visitors to Epcon’s Parade homes have taken note of large kitchens, low-mainte-

nance living, size and quality for value, and private courtyards, says Nanette Overly, vice president of sales for the company. “We have one home that actually has two courtyards,” Overly says. “It really brings that outdoor living in.” Trinity Homes scored six awards for a condo in Grove City and single-family homes in Dublin and Delaware. Highlights include a gorgeous great room that opens up to a kitchen at the Delaware house, located in Howard Farms, and the deceptively large size of the Grove City condo in Woodside at Holton Run. “They’re great for anybody that’s trying to downsize,” says Natalie Smith, marketing manager for Trinity. The big winner in single-family homes over $700,000 was 3 Pillar Homes, which won three awards there, including Best November/December 2021 |


Award Winners Condominiums $499,000 and Under • Trinity Homes, 3368 Joberry Loop, Grove City: Best Overall, Best Curb Appeal, Best Floorplan, Best Living Area • Donley Homes, 7535 Harden Circle, Etna: Best Owners Retreat • Edwards Communities, 5738 Adalyn Ln., Dublin: Best Kitchen • Epcon Communities, 156 Daymark Dr., Delaware: Best Outdoor Living Condominiums $500,000 and Up • Epcon Communities, 3221 Courtyard Landing, Dublin: Best Overall, Best Curb Appeal, Best Floorplan • Epcon Communities, 10305 Tipperary Dr., Dublin: Best Kitchen • Epcon Communities, 437 Garden Gate Ln., Lewis Center: Best Outdoor Living • Epcon Communities, 6589 Morse Rd., New Albany: Best Owners Retreat • Bob Webb Homes, 6089 Victory Gate, Westerville: Best Living Area

Single-Family Homes $499,000 and Under • D.R. Horton, 110 Cedarhurst Ct., Pickerington: Best Overall, Best Floorplan, Best Owners Retreat • Pulte Homes, 5620 Godetia St., Westerville: Best Living Area, Best Outdoor Living • Pulte Homes, 3665 Glacial Ln., Grove City: Best Kitchen • M/I Homes, 2775 Chatwood Loop, Blacklick: Best Curb Appeal Single-Family Homes $500,000$749,000 • Donley Homes, 7523 Haverington St., Pickerington: Best Overall (tie), Best Owners Retreat • Fischer Homes, 6153 Honey Farm Way, Grove City: Best Overall (tie), Best Living Area • Bob Webb Homes, 8774 Eliot Dr., Plain City: Best Curb Appeal, Best Kitchen • M/I Homes, 5623 Jessica Ln. W., Powell: Best Outdoor Living • Trinity Homes, 2962 Howard Farms Dr., Delaware: Best Floorplan

Single-Family Homes $700,000 and Up • 3 Pillar Homes, 11451 Winterberry Dr., Plain City: Best Overall, Best Floorplan, Best Owners Retreat • Arlington Homes, 56 Barrington Pl., Powell: Best Curb Appeal • Cua Builders, 5761 Evans Farm Dr., Lewis Center: Best Outdoor Living • Price Custom Homes, 6059 Country view Dr. NW, Carroll: Best Kitchen • Trinity Homes, 6336 Avondale Woods, Dublin: Best Living Area

The Building Industry of Central Ohio Parade of Homes Excellence Awards was hosted at Evans Farm, the premiered featured community in the 2021 Parade of Homes.


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Luxury Living

Entertainment Essentials The best home products to make a night of hosting go seamless By Bre Offenberger


hen you have the right items, hosting friends for a night of festivity is easy. Here are the best products to make hosting this year’s holiday happening easier and more stylish: Bar Carts Kul Bar Cart 37.6 inches tall, 35.4 inches wide, 15.7 inches deep $139.99

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Caitbrook Counter Height Bar Stools (set of 2) 24.38 inches tall, 21.25 inches wide, 16.13 inches deep $200 Wine Rack Oenophilia Scaffovino 18-Bottle Floor Wine Rack in Black 38 inches tall, 9.5 inches wide, 9.25 inches deep $83.99 44 | November/December 2021

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on the scene

Three Acts, Four Decades

Opera Columbus kicks off its 40-year celebration with Puccini’s Tosca By Sarah Grace Smith

toric 40th season in December, it will do it with a grand-scale production of its firstever performance. “It’s a very sweet valentine to our origins,” says Julia Noulin-Mérat, general director and CEO of Opera Columbus. Taking the stage Dec. 18 and 19, Tosca will mark the company’s first time back in the Southern Theatre since the beginning of the pandemic. “It’s a return to grand opera,” says Noulin-Mérat. “We haven’t done an opera on this large of a scale in many, many years.” In grand opera style, Tosca will feature a larger chorus than usual, as well as the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra posted 10 feet above the stage on platforms. The three-act opera will be directed by Eve Summer, following up on her direction of Don Giovanni for Opera Columbus. The performance will also mark conductor Tiffany Chang’s debut. “This is a 300-year-old opera,” says NoulinMérat, “but it was very important for us … to empower women. It’s a women’s story, so … we wanted to have two ladies at the helm.”

The Plot of Tosca Set in Rome during a time of war and chaos, Tosca follows two lovers and their fight to be together. “It’s this incredible, grand love story,” says Noulin-Mérat, “but it’s kind of a forbidden love.” Opera singer Floria Tosca must give the performance of a lifetime to save her lover from the murderous hands of Scarpia. 46 | November/December 2021

In line with its mission, Opera Columbus hopes to make Tosca an experience that all levels of opera lovers can enjoy. “Even though it’s a grand opera, we really want everyone to feel invited and excited to come and join us,” says Noulin-Mérat. The period costumes are inspired by the styles of popular Netflix drama Bridgerton in an effort to create a more visually appealing and welcoming show for the modern viewer. The audio clips of the bells in the opera were actually recorded in Rome, where Tosca takes place, and Opera Columbus uses them to create an immersive audio experience. “We’re taking everyone to the heart of Rome,” says Noulin-Mérat. Tosca will also feature an original set construction, as well as talent from all over the country. Michelle Johnson and husband Brian Major will perform as enemies Tosca and Scarpia in their role debuts, and Metropolitan Opera favorite Adam Diegel will be performing for the first time with Opera Columbus as Tosca’s lover, Cavaradossi. The opera will be sung in Italian with English surtitles. It is not recommended for those under 13. In further celebration of its anniversary, Opera Columbus will also host 40 days of opera from May 4 to June 12. The company will perform throughout the entire city at venues including museums, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and even a

La bohéme

tailgate party. The performances will range from short clips to full-length operas. One such opera will be Vanqui in the Lincoln Theatre. Opera Columbus presented the world premiere of Vanqui in 1999. Opera Columbus will also perform the world premiere of The Puppy Episode in partnership with Oberlin Conservatory. Another featured opera will be La Traviata, which will be produced as a walkthrough. “I call it ‘opera on your feet’ because it’s really an immersive walkthrough experience at a downtown Columbus hotel,” says Noulin-Mérat. The company hopes to make opera more accessible to the Columbus community through its 40-day celebration. “That’s what the 40th is really about,” says Noulin-Mérat. “It’s saying thank you to the city, thank you to our patrons, but it’s also to open our doors. … You can experience opera throughout the city and in different ways.” CS Sarah Grace Smith is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at

Photo courtesy of Terry Gilliam

WHEN OPERA COLUMBUS kicks off its his-

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on the scene

Gene Smith Passes It On OSU athletic director makes an impact on and off the field By Cameron Carr

FOR GENE SMITH, vice president and director

48 | November/December 2021

Gene Smith at a Buckeyes Care event

letes are placed into internships to build their resumes and gain hands-on experience in their career field. “It’s been great to create programs in the athletic department where you can help athletes find careers,” he says. “We always try to find a space where we can help young people develop and chase those dreams.” Other initiatives have included Buckeyes Care, a program highlighting community work by student-athletes and coaches with a focus on fitness, wellness, education and public service; and Smith’s participation in OSU LiFEsports events, which use sports to prepare youth for life and leadership. The Sheila and Gene Smith Fund has a broader reach and allows the couple to turn their philanthropic efforts toward some of their most valued causes, such as OSU, the King Arts Complex and the Columbus Museum of Art. “We try and be helpful to those things in the community where we have a deep passion,” Smith says. “I think it’s important for people who have the opportunity.” In spring 2020, the Smiths, seeing an immediate need for help in the community as the impacts of COVID-19 set in, partnered with OSU football head coach Ryan Day

and his wife, Nina, as well as OSU basketball head coach Chris Holtmann and his wife, Lori, to provide rapid support. “We were having a conversation about the pandemic and how we might be able to help,” Smith says. “At that point in time, food was a big issue. It’s still a big issue.” The group committed to donating $35,000 a month from April through August to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund. Those donations, which totaled $175,000, were expected to allow the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to purchase $1.5 million worth of groceries, as the organization can obtain $9 worth of groceries for every $1 donated. That action exemplifies Smith’s commitment to using the great opportunities he’s been given to positively impact the communities around him. Whether providing direct support or teaching youth to do the same, Smith hopes his efforts can provide inspiration to others. “You try your best to keep (philanthropic efforts) in front of people,” he says. “To keep talking about it is important.” CS Cameron Carr is associate editor. Feedback welcome at

Photo courtesy of The Ohio State University Athletic Department

of athletics for The Ohio State University, giving back has long been a major priority. “You hear it all the time: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected,’” Smith says. “As a student athlete, I knew I was fortunate. I was blessed.” Smith has done philanthropic work all throughout his life, whether as an athlete, coach or athletic director (he’s won national championships in football in each of those three roles, for what it’s worth). That work continues today through his involvements with OSU and in collaboration with his wife, Sheila, through the Sheila and Gene Smith Fund. But Smith’s commitment to paying it forward dates back much further, to the examples set by his family. “My parents were always people who tried to give back and help people,” he says. “It was really something that I witnessed with them.” During Smith’s time at the University of Notre Dame, where he played defensive end from 1973 to 1977, those values continued, as he and his team were encouraged to find opportunities to contribute to the broader community. Through his role with OSU, where he’s held the athletic director position since 2005, Smith has been able to advocate for specific initiatives, often working to prepare student-athletes for futures beyond the playing field. Much of that falls under the Eugene D. Smith Leadership Institute, which works to prepare athletes for life after graduation with leadership, character and career development opportunities. There, Smith has implemented programs such as Bucks Go Pro, where ath-


‘Tis the Season

(For Real This Time)

The arts are back for the holidays By Cameron Carr

Columbus Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops ‘TWAS THE YEAR before this when all Columbus arts organizations had to reimagine their holiday offerings. For 2021, holiday arts are back in force. In 2020, most annual events were canceled, moved to digital streams or held in significantly limited or altered variations. Many of Columbus’ holiday traditions plan to return to the stage this year – and this time, audiences are invited. A bellwether of the dampened 2020 holiday season was BalletMet’s performances of The Nutcracker, which weren’t live for the first time since 1974. Instead, BalletMet provided free online access to video excerpts from the show, behindthe-scenes content and more. The iconic

50 | November/December 2021

screened virtually last year, remixes the story for a New York City setting and features an opening set by hip-hop pioneer MC Kurtis Blow. In another high-profile holiday shake-up last year, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra broadcast its annual Holiday Pops program on local TV stations. This year, the multi-organization collaboration will welcome live audiences back with the Columbus Symphony Chorus, Columbus Children’s Choir, BalletMet Academy dancers and The Ohio State University Department of Dance joining. Holiday Pops will show Dec. 3-5 at the Ohio Theatre. Holiday Hoopla, the annual Shadowbox Live holiday show, went virtual last year but will invite audiences back this holiday season starting Nov. 26 and running Fridays and Saturdays through the end of December. Shadowbox’s longest-running show, Holiday Hoopla has presented a high-energy blend of music, comedy and sketches for more than 25 years. New this year, Shadowbox will present an original,

Tchaikovsky-scored production will return to the Ohio Theatre Dec. 10-26. “While we are so grateful for our community supporting us digitally last year when The Nutcracker was canceled for the first time in over 40 years, there is nothing like live performance,” says Sue Porter, BalletMet executive director. “Everyone is looking forward to ushering the holidays back with this incredible central Ohio tradition.” Those looking for a more modern take on the classic Christmas tale may enjoy The Hip Hop Nutcracker Dec. 4 at the Palace Jazz Arts Group Home for the Holidays Theatre. The performance, which

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rock-tinged musical, Not So Silent Night, Thursdays and Sundays Nov. 28 through the end of December. The Jazz Arts Group makes another return from to in-person with its Home for the Holidays Dec. 1-5 at the Southern Theatre featuring Nashville singer Vanessa Campagna. A livestream option is available as well. The arts industry will also return to its holiday travel routine. Columbus will see a number of notable touring acts spreading joy and merriment as 2021 nears its end. Lucy Darling’s A Magical Cirque Christmas will bring magic, acrobatics and more to the Palace Theatre on Dec. 10. Several musical artists are scheduled to come caroling through as well, including jazz saxophonist David Koz Dec. 9 at the Palace Theatre, new age pianist Jim Brickman Dec. 22 at the Southern Theatre, symphonic rock group Trans-Siberian Orchestra at Nationwide Arena on Dec. 26 and folk-pop trio Over the Rhine Dec. 4 at the Davidson Theatre. CS Cameron Carr is associate editor. Feedback welcome at

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The South Side Stories The Greater Columbus Arts Council awards grant to a public art project that explores the South Side By Brendan Martin

IN HER ONLINE artist statement, Jessica Naples Grilli describes her interest in the relationship between physical things and the mediums use to record them. “We are afraid to forget and to be forgotten: we collect, catalog and archive so that we may know what came before and that we might be remembered,” she says. “Our lives are built on this premise; whether for show or for sentiment, much can be said about the things we keep.” Naples Grilli continues to explore that relationship here in central Ohio. Born in Fremont, California, Naples Grill grew up in Youngstown. She at-

Jessica Naples Grilli

52 | November/December 2021

tended Kent State University and received her Bachelor of Science in photo illustration in 2009. Her work often combines poetry and photography and how the two can combine to tell a story. One of her recent works, What We Miss the Most, demonstrates this style. The piece is a book, dePhotograph of Naples Grilli’s house taken by its signed and edited by Naples Grilli, original owner, circa 1904. that responds directly to the panPhoto courtesy of Jessica Naples Grilli demic. A number of contributors offer photographs and brief, poetic notes on things people have missed since spring 2020. “I think of myself sometimes as a non-artist, but I have all this experience working with artists and making art,” she says, “But I think I’m so interested in images and language and that relationship that for me, art is kind of the only way I can put them together.” Naples Grilli moved to Columbus in 2011 as she studied for her master’s in studio art at The Ohio State University. There, she met her fellow classmate and current colleague Amanda Le Kline. Detail of map of the South Side of Columbus, Recently, the duo received a Ohio, circa 1910 grant to support their South Side Photo courtesy of Ohio History Connection Stories project through the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Neighborhood Le Kline and Naples Grilli’s project will Arts Connection Fellowship. The fellow- collect together stories from residents. ship focuses on a specific Columbus neigh“We decided to propose to create this borhood each year and provides grants for free publication that people (in southern resident artists to create art projects that Columbus) can participate in,” Naples engage the community. Grilli says. “We can also find our material

Photos and artwork courtesy of Jessica Naples Grilli

What We Miss Most

Hold Up to the Light

November/December 2021 |


South Columbus residents can participate in South Side Stories by going to www. There, they can submit their own unique stories about making friends, discovering new history, work experiences or anything else. Each story can be submitted along with some kind of digital artifact associated with it. Submissions for the newspaper are due Nov. 15. Stories and artifacts can still be submitted afterward but will only be available online. “I love talking to people about the South Side and talking to them about stories and history,” Naples Grilli says. “Knowing what was here before we lived here and collecting stories from people who have lived here two years or 40 years or in between and seeing (the changes in) the neighborhood and businesses that have been around forever.”

54 | November/December 2021

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and information to share to people who have just moved here or for people who like us that have lived here a really long time.” The two transplant artists were the only ones in their graduate class who chose to live on the city’s South Side. “We really connected in that way of our neighborhood,” Naples Grilli says. “(We) always knew the South Side was very special.” Since moving to the area, the artists have collected their own stories of the South Side. Naples Grilli received an unexpected bundle of history after purchasing a house in the area. “It’s a really special house because we’re only the third owners of it,” she says. “It was built in 1904 and we know the entire history of the home because the first owner never had any children or anything and gave all of their family photographs of the home and their correspondence with their family in Germany to a neighbor who then left it in a brown bag on my porch.” The final project will be published as a newspaper, planned for distribution in December. The grant money will be used in the cost of publishing, so all newspapers will be free. Naples Grilli expects the newspapers to be distributed at the local library branch, neighborhoods, community centers and even some local businesses. “I think I want people to be able to relate or to have a sense of pride of where they live or as part of this neighborhood,” Naples Grilli says. “The South Side is so diverse, and it has a rich history of industry that Columbus kind of doesn’t have. Like understanding the history of the steel mill, the bluegrass culture and other things that people might not even know about because it’s not so apparent anymore.” CS

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Dates and shows are subject to change. Visit the websites for more information.

Gallery Exhibits 3060 Gallery: Marie Cottrell and Amy Deal. Cotrell specializes in drawing, painting and visual arts. Deal specializes in paintings. Nov. 6. Blockfort Gallery: Zodiac. Each year, Blockfort hosts a studio tenant exhibition, featuring present and past tenants of the building. A different theme is selected for artists to create around. This year’s theme, Zodiac, is open to interpretations by the artists. More than 30 artists will be on display, from painters, sculptors, designers, fashion designers, jewelers and leatherworkers. Nov. 13-Dec. 12. www.blockfort Brandt-Roberts Galleries: There’s No Place Like Home. This exhibition features works by Ohio-born and -based artists reminiscing and celebrating the state they call or have called home. Featured artists: Christopher Burk, Caitlin Cartwright, Mark Gingerich, Janet Grissom, Cody Heichel, Richard Lillash, Marianne Miller, Jason Morgan, Bernard Palchick, Jolene Powell, David Reed

Brandt-Roberts Galleries

56 | November/December 2021

David Myers Art Studio & Gallery

and Kendric Tonn. Nov. 14-Dec.23. www. Columbus Museum of Art: Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources. Explore the paintings, drawings and prints by the artists most beloved by Vincent van Gogh, firmly connecting his art to its late 19th-century context. The exhibition will demonstrate Van Gogh’s early and abiding interest in a wide variety of art. To visually narrate the impact of Van Gogh’s sources, more than fifteen signature paintings and drawings by the artist himself will be juxtaposed with more than 100 works of art that fed his voracious imagination. Nov. 12Feb. 6. www.columbusmuseum

Cultural Arts Center: Art and Jazz. Visual artist Karin Dahl and composers Chris Berg, Brian Cashwell and Michael Cox explore how art and music combine to enhance meaning, showing that music plus art is more than either medium alone. This exhibition will include abstract paintings accompanied by original musical compositions. Through Nov. 13. And Out of Tunes. Artist Brian Riegel takes reclaimed musical instruments and morphs them into fantastical mixed-media sculptures. Most of these instrument sculptures are Steampunk/Dieselpunk-inspired, and are bound to make you wonder what you might create from that old clarinet or trumpet that’s been hiding in the back of your closet. Nov. 19-Dec. 31. David Myers Art Studio & Gallery: The Studio Artists Exhibit. Each artist embraces their uniqueness and expresses themselves

using their intuition as a vehicle. This exhibit is abstract, impressionistic and expressive art features the works of over 30 Artists ages 6 to 96. Each artist is mentored by David Myers. Many works are available for purchase. Nov. 1-Dec. 30. Decorative Arts Center of Ohio: Distinctly Paramount: Fashion & Costume from the Paramount Pictures Archive. Randall Thropp brings a new exhibit to the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio celebrating studio-created costumes as well as purchased fashions used on camera. It promises to be a colorful exhibition with many costumes seen on exhibit for the first time. Through Jan. 2. Dublin Arts Council: Van Kerkhove and Kowalski: Accomplices. Van Kerkhove and Kowalski explore contrasts and symmetry in this duo exhibition. Van Kerkhove is a traditional printmaker who uses unconventional methods, while Kowalski provides floral elements and color in ceramic sculpture. Highlighting the complementary styles and different techniques of the two Ohio artists, the exhibition encourages the viewer to become an accomplice

in the artwork, exploring depth, perception and connections between nature and personal experiences. Nov. 19-Dec. 12. Fresh A.I.R. Gallery’s SEEN Studios: Art by Rebecca Gonzalez-Bartoli. Sept. 22-Nov. 12. And Art of Recovery. Annual Art of Recovery benefits Fresh A.I.R. Gallery and will be held Nov. 5 at the Columbus Museum of Art in person from 6-10 p.m. www.artof Gallery 22: Holiday Art Fair. Come enjoy this unique destination for your Holiday Shopping. Support local artists this holiday season with beautiful one-of-a-kind creations for every taste and price range. Nov. Hammond Harkins Galleries: Small and Wonderful. A selection of neon works inspired by collage and architectural space. November.

Marcia Evans Gallery

Hayley Gallery: Shawn Augustson. Reynoldsburg Artist Shawn Augustson is having his first solo show at Hayley Gallery from 4-8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13. Augustson is an Army veteran who discovered art as a form of therapy after serving in Iraq. He refers to his work as Post Traumatic Expression. Nov. 13-Dec.7. And Robin Roberts. Plein air artist Roberts will be having a solo show from 4-8 p.m. Dec. 11 and on view through Jan. 11. Highline Coffee Art Space: 100 Days. Central Ohio artist Rebecca Burdock re-

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“Celebrate”, 36 × 60”, oil on canvas Landscapes by Joe Lombardo November 5 through January 13 Artist Reception Friday November 12, 5–7 Wednesday through Friday 11–4 Saturday 11–3 Other times by appointment 614-338-8325 or or instagram artaccess1, facebook November/December 2021 |


turns to Highline Coffee Art Space in Worthington with a new exhibit. Nov. 2–Dec. 31. coffeeartspace

Marcia Evans Gallery: Kirsten Bowen. Nov. 4-28. And Robie Benve & Becky Arthur. Oct. 2-31.

nearly 1,800 applications, the exhibition features contemporary works of art including installation, sculpture, drawing, painting, fiber works, paper works, photography and video by 53 artists living and working in Ohio. Artworks were selected by jurors April Sunami, award-winning visual artist; Jessimi Jones, executive director of the Springfield Museum of Art; and Kevin Lyles, artist and professor at the University of Rio Grande, Ohio. Through Jan. 7.

Ohio Art Council’s Riffe Gallery: 2021 Biennial Juried Exhibition. Selected from

Ohio Craft Museum: Crossover: Trends in Paper. Works in paper created by art-

Mac Worthington Studio & Sculpture Park: Annual Fall Sculpture Park and Studio Tour. Nov. 1-Dec. 31. www.mac

ists using a variety of techniques. Works range in size from small, delicate pieces to monumental installations. Through Oct. 3. Gifts of the Craftsmen Holiday Sale. Shoppers will discover fine jewelry, functional pottery, wooden serving bowls and cutting boards, art glass, knit scarves and hats, handcrafted ornaments, greeting cards, and more. Through Dec. 23. www. Ohio Dominican University’s Wehrle Gallery: 20th Annual Wehrle Holiday Art Market. Now in its 20th year, the Wehrle Holiday Art Market is a place where ODU students, faculty, and staff sell their handmade goods to the Columbus community at budget-friendly prices to support the buy-local movement. Dec. 1. www.ohio Open Door Art Studio & Gallery: Pulp. Open Door artists are taking creating to the next level with Pulp, a works-on-paper exhibition comprised strictly of in-house, homemade paper. Nov. 13-Dec. 3. www.

Vincent van Gogh, Houses at Auvers, 1890. Oil on canvas. Toledo Museum of Art, Purchased with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey



58 | November/December 2021

ROY G BIV Gallery for Emerging Artists: On View at ROY. The 11th exhibition of the year at ROY G BIV Gallery presents artists Jon Duff and Jovanni Luna. Duff works primarily with acrylics to create colorful landscapes decorated with a myriad of abstracted forms. Luna uses latex paint to construct structural forms full of vibrant gradations of color encapsulated in spiraled shapes. This event is unique in the fact that each artist will have the shared space of the gallery to celebrate their works through the presentation of talks and the opportunity to bring friends, family and the students alike to experience the show. Nov. 12-Dec. 4. www.royg The Schumacher Gallery at Capital University: A Requiem: Tribute to the Spiritual Space at Auschwitz. This haunting exhibition by Susan May Tell hosts 17 photographic images without words, titles, or even frames. These images stand as witnesses to the horrific scene that was Auschwitz. Through Dec. 11.

WILDLIGHTS at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Nov. 19-Jan. 2, various times Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W. Powell Rd. A family-favorite to-do, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium presents its annual lights show powered by AEP Ohio. WILDLIGHTS will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

A Magical Cirque Christmas

Picks&Previews What to watch, what to watch for and what not to miss! Events are subject to change. Visit websites for more information.

George Bellows and the Art of Sport Nov. 4, 6-7 p.m. Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. A close look at the acclaimed 20th century artist’s fascination with sports led by Mark Cole, William P. and Amanda C. Madar Curator of American Painting and Sculpture at the Cleveland Museum of Art. International Gem and Jewelry Show Nov. 5-7, various times Celeste Center, Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave. The longest-running jewelry show in the United States will be in Columbus, allowing shoppers to avoid jewelry markups and instead buy directly from retailers and manufacturers. Nikki Glaser Nov. 12, 7 p.m. Southern Theatre, 21 E. Main St. The much-loved female comedian – who has hosted multiple podcasts in addition to shows for MTV and Comedy Central – makes her way to Columbus after the cancellation of a 2020 tour. www. 60 | November/December 2021

Columbus Symphony Orchestra presents Variations on Romanticism Nov. 12-13, 7:30 p.m. Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. Conductor Rossen Milanov and pianist Claire Huangci present both original and classic music during this piano concerto.

2021 Columbus ChristmasFair Nov. 20-21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Lausche Building, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave. This is an event for those who struggle to come up with Christmas gift ideas. With 150 artists and crafters in attendance, Columbus ChristmasFair has something for even the pickiest gift-giver. Wine for Wildlife Nov. 20, 5-10 p.m. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, 4850 W. Powell Rd. Details regarding this annual fundraising event – including whether it will be held in person, online a combination of both – are still being determined. Through Vincent’s Eyes: A Conversation Nov. 20, 2-3 p.m. Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. Ann Dumas, adjunct curator of European art at CMA and curator at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, will join David Stark, chief curator emeritus, in a conversation about the art of Van Gogh and the artists who influenced his bold and expressive style.

Aizuri Quartet Nov. 13, 7 p.m. Columbus Hungry Turkey 5K/10K Southern Theatre, 21 E. Main St Nov. 27, 9-11 a.m. Known for both bold new commissions Genoa Park, 25 Marconi Blvd. and expertly performed classics, the Aizuri Running may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Quartet brings its much-acclaimed abili- but Buckeye Donuts more than makes up for ties to the Southern Theatre, presented by Chamber Music Grand Illumination, Easton Town Center Columbus. www.chambermusic Grand Illumination Nov. 19, 6-9 p.m. Easton Town Center, 160 Easton Town Ctr. This outdoor shopping center is wholly lit up to celebrate the season with shoppers. www.

that. This event is a fundraiser for the Humane Society of Delaware County and has 5K and 10K options. Dino Stroll Nov. 27-28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Greater Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High St. Details such as moving tails, blinking eyes and realistic sounds bring this lifesized collection of dinosaurs to life. This event allows patrons to walk around the collection, experiencing firsthand what it would have been like to be a Flintstone.


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Holiday Open House Nov. 28, 6-8 p.m. Columbus Metropolitan Library, 96 S. Grant Ave. Complete with caroling, dancing and hot cocoa for all, this open house will allow visitors to enjoy the Topiary Park while it is illuminated and full of live reindeer.

Sun, Dec 5, 3PM

David Sedaris Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m. Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. The bestselling, satirical author will read following the release of his two most recent books: The Best of Me and A Carnival of Snackery. Columbus Winterfair Dec. 3-5, various times Bricker Building, Ohio Expo Center and State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave. Missed the ChristmasFair in November? Columbus Winterfair is your second chance, boasting goodies from jewelry to paintings to chocolate creations.


Byron Stripling and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra host our annual holiday musical treat, this year featuring Oscar-winning, Nashvillebased singer-songwriter Vanessa Campagna.

CATCO presents Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins Nov. 27-Dec. 12, Thursdays-Sundays, various times Riffe Center, 77 S. High St. Based on a children’s story rife with mystery and frightening goblins, this performance will be accompanied by puppetry and music appropriate for any audience.

Jazz Arts Group presents Home for the Holidays Dec. 1-5, various times Southern Theatre, 21 E. Main St. Featuring Nashville-based singer-songwriter Vanessa Campagna, this annual event promises a musical delight. www. Cirque photo courtesy of A Matt Bishop; Easton photo courtesy of Steve Brady

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Holiday Hop 2021 Dec. 4, 4-10 p.m. Short North Arts District Art junkies and casual appreciators alike can partake in this holiday gallery hop. Participants can shop at their favorite Short North shops and galleries while enjoying holiday performances. www. Harry Potter Party Columbus Dec. 5, 7 p.m. Skully’s Music-Diner, 1151 N. High St. It’s time to hop onto the Hogwarts Express and start making magic. Skully’s Music-Diner hosts a Harry Potter party, complete with a costume contest, a Triwizard Tournament and butterbeer. www. Pandora presents Disney Princess The Concert Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. Secret Disney fanatics, this one’s for you. Music from the movies that have shaped young lives for decades are performed live by Broadway and animated film stars, along with commentary from the perform-

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ers about their time spent portraying their characters. CAPA presents A Magical Cirque Christmas Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. Hostess Lucy Darling guides viewers through an evening filled with cirque performers and artists paired with holiday music. BalletMet presents The Nutcracker Dec. 10-26, various times Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. This story is a holiday classic for a reason. Experience the same magic Clara does on her journey with her Nutcracker Prince to the Sugar Plum Fairy. Broadway in Columbus presents Fiddler on the Roof Dec. 14-19, various times Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St. In a new production of a Tony-winning classic, actors and musicians breathe new life into a tale about family and faith.

Opera Columbus presents Tosca Dec. 18-19, various times Southern Theatre, 21 E. Main St. A tale that follows three fiery individuals, Tosca is chock full of love, villainy and drama. The show kicks off Opera Columbus’ 40th anniversary season. www.opera New Albany Symphony Orchestra presents Holiday Spectacular Dec. 19, 3 p.m. Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 E. Dublin-Granville Rd., New Albany This performance consists of holiday classics performed by New Albany Symphony Orchestra musicians and the Symphony Chorus, as well as a gift basket fundraiser. AEP Foundation presents First Night Columbus Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m.-midnight COSI, 333 W. Broad St. Originally brought to Columbus in 1995, First Night Columbus hosts a multitude of the best examples of creative and performing arts from over 100 international cities.

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