ISSUE 001 FREE
ARTS AND CHARACTER PLAN 1
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD OUR SPIRIT How did we approach this process? Learn more about the public engagement process and how and why this plan came to be.
OUR EVOLVING STORY
How do we make sure all of our projects connect with and enhance our neighborhood? Check out our Community Character Framework.
WHAT WE WANT
What did the neighborhood define as important to its future? See how community members what the arts enhanced in the University District.
16 CHARACTER FRAMEWORK 25 PRIORITY LOCATIONS How do we make sure all of our projects connect with and enhance our neighborhood? Check out our Community Character Framework.
27 ART TYPES
We have a large and geographically diverse What art makes sense in the University neighborhood. Learn what locations the District? See all the community selected art neighborhood prioritizes to be impacted by types. art.
6 WHAT WE ASKED
8 WHAT WE HEARD
12 OUR ASSETS
Learn how we engaged with the community throughout the planning process.
See what our neighborhood residents want to see to enhance our community character.
Check out the assets that help make our community a great place to live, work and create.
Our neighborhood is full of ingenuity. Learn about some of the awesome (and crazy?) projects we dreamed up.
WHO CAN HELP US
It takes a village to make arts in the University District come alive. See who can help make that happen.
PRIORITY ACTION PLAN
A plan is one thing. The implementation is how it plays out. Learn how we intend to make this plan a reality.
WELCOME The University District has always been a place for creative expression. Itâ€™s a place where a steady current of creativity is intertwined within the fabric of our community. This plan does not reinvent or change that fact, but instead seeks to harnesses
and amplify our creativity so that more can experience the rich cultural character of the University District. While there may be other places in Columbus with more galleries or expansive artists studios, the University District will
continue to be a place where art is accessible through grassroots artist led efforts or in collaboration with our institutional partners.
- Ellen Moore Griffin Board President University District Organization
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD OUR SPIRIT
The spirit of the University District has been influenced from its earliest days by the diversity of people that have called it home. Whether seeking a better life, taking a journey of education and self-discovery, or searching for a place that allows for creative selfexpression, our residents have helped shape the neighborhood into the vibrant, diverse, and irreverent place it is today. 4
The goal of this plan is to help translate the spirit of the University District and its many neighborhoods into creative projects in our built environment that tell our story to the world.
WHY AN ARTS & CHARACTER PLAN?
n the University District, we believe that itâ€™s not just our buildings that should communicate our culture and our creativity. In a neighborhood that embraces creativity and the free expression of ideas, we believe our built environment should reflect our unique spirit. By utilizing art and creativity in the public realm we can communicate our collective story to the world. We can provide opportunities to our local artists and creatives to produce works that will stand the test of time. This plan creates a blueprint for our neighborhoodâ€™s artistic path forward. It showcases community-generated concepts that can be easily implemented and provides an action plan to bring them to realization. This plan also presents a communitydeveloped character framework so that when artists and creatives from outside of our neighborhood produce work for our consumption, they can easily be inspired. This framework was developed based on contributions from current and past neighborhood residents, and distills their feedback down to a framework of attributes that defines who we are and what we stand for.
WHAT WE ASKED
ecause the whole basis of this plan is to help better articulate the greater neighborhood’s story to the world, the top priority of the process has been to engage with the University District community. By prioritizing public sentiments, we have been able to better understand the needs and wants of the community as well as understand what makes the University District unique both locally and nationally.
To launch the Arts & Character Plan, a kickoff event was held at Coffee Underground on Indianola Ave. Attendees were asked what makes the neighborhood unique and how it has grown to become the special place it is today.
CREATIVE WORKSHOP SERIES
The diversity of the University District goes well beyond just the demographics of its people. The District also has a variety of opinions and focal points that cater to the different art sectors and cultural activities in the neighborhoods. In order to have focused conversations on the most important components of those activities, a series of subject-specific workshops were held engaging stakeholders within those specific communities in interesting ways. The workshops are described on the following page.
In order to begin conceptualizing how key elements of the history
and culture of the University District could be translated into the built environment, a ‘sketch-shop’ was held that brought together community members and sketch artists. At the Gateway Film Center, initial ideas were translated into simple line drawings that created the basis for ideas of future implementation.
A simplified and concise version of the many questions asked at our in-person engagement events were solicited online. The online survey provided an opportunity for those who care about the University District but were unable to come to the in person meetings to participate.
CREATIVE WORKSHOP SERIES HISTORY WORKSHOP
The history workshop was held at the King Avenue United Methodist Church and featured a round table discussion on the history of the neighborhood that was aided by local historians and long term residents. The irreverent nature of the community was a key topic of discussion as well as long term trends that persist, even today. Music was identified as a highly important feature of life in the University District in the past, present and future.
The culture workshop was held at Kafe Kerouac and featured a group slam poetry activity facilitated by a local poet. Using prompts such as ‘I remember when…’ the group shared stories of the neighborhood that all too often took an interesting turn. After the group session participants wrote stories of the neighborhood that gave a window into the culture of the District.
VISUAL ARTS WORKSHOP
The visual arts workshop was held at Wild Goose Creative in partnership with Studio 614. While painting on canvas provided by Studio 614, participants engaged in one-on-one interviews about their feelings on visual arts in the neighborhood. Ideas were solicited on how to improve the visual arts climate in the future.
PERFORMING ARTS WORKSHOP
The performing arts workshop was held at Wild Goose Creative in partnership with their monthly Speak Easy storytelling event. Prior to the event, participants were interviewed on the past and current environment for the performing arts in the neighborhood and how it could be improved in the future. Workshop participants were provided with free entry to the Speak Easy event.
The music workshop was held at the music venue, Ace of Cups, prior to an evening show. Venue owners, booking agents, and other members of the music community participated in a spirited discussion on the current state of music and music venues in the neighborhood and how to improve upon an already successful music scene. Participants were provided with a free ticket to that evening’s show.
WHAT WE HEARD
everal themes emerged out of the community engagement process. These themes help to define what types of art and cultural activities the community values, what they would like to see more of, and where additional art should be located. The themes have been distilled down to the following value statements
WE ARE FUN, FUNKY, AND IRREVERENT LET’S STAY THAT WAY
This is the neighborhood that has always been the place for people to unleash their avant-garde nature. We don’t strive for bronze statues of generals or stuffy galleries. Our people want art that is as eclectic as our people are passionate. We don’t strive to be different - we’re just ourselves, creating things that are fresh, new and unique. As the neighborhood changes, we want our spirit to live on for the next generation of troublemakers.
WE LOVE OUR NEIGHBORHOOD LORE - LET’S CELEBRATE IT
Our neighborhood spirit comes not just from who we are now, but from those who came before us. We as a neighborhood have evolved over time and we know we will change into our future. We want to celebrate our past through art and cultural activities. We want to highlight our historic movers and shakers; the people who made an impact - large and small; and the folks whose creations have been celebrated around the world.
WE’RE UNDER THE RADAR - OUR ART SHOULD BE TOO
The artists, musicians, and the cultural activities of the University District have long been distinct within Columbus but also relatively ‘underground.’ Whether house shows or hidden street art, this grassroots arts scene should be fostered, but also free to grow unencumbered by external forces. Our neighborhood art need not be monumental or expensive. University area residents appreciate public art that is stumbled upon, that doesn’t make a big fuss. Our art should scattered about our district, integrated into our neighborhoods, and most importantly - created for our consumption.
WE HAVE A HUGE ARRAY OF ARTISTS - LET’S PROVIDE THEM A CANVAS TO CREATE
The district is often a home base for artists and musicians who create or perform throughout the city and beyond. By providing ‘blank canvas’ opportunities for these creatives to showcase their talent within the neighborhood, we can ensure that the works produced by, though, and from our neighborhood can be enjoyed within the neighborhood. In the short term, this may mean creating opportunities for temporary street art and music performance events. Long term, the possibilities grow larger with more focused projects such as permanent pieces and outdoor performance spaces.
WE HAVE MANY NEIGHBORHOODS & PEOPLE - THEY NEED REPRESENTED
As a long time mecca for misfits, artists, immigrants, and more we can continue the tradition of providing a welcoming space for all to display their creative talents. Geographically we are diverse too. Our district encompasses 13 distinct neighborhoods, some only a few blocks while some expansive. Each has its own unique culture and built environment. Our art should be representative of our diverse population and our diverse urban landscape.
OUR EVOLVING STORY
Well before the first class met at The Ohio State University, the University District was evolving. From Native American land, to small town, to booming metropolis change is a constant presence in our neighborhood. Though we are ever evolving, our spirit shines through. 10
A (VERY) BRIEF HISTORY
ince its founding in 1812, Columbus has evolved from a small cow town (literally as you will see shortly!) to a major metropolis. Today’s University District was initially developed as farmland. Rather than designate one of Ohio’s existing public universities as a Land Grant University, the current Governor, and future President, Rutherford Hayes was instrumental in the the 1870 decision to create the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College. This institution would soon become The Ohio State University. The present day leafy Neil Avenue takes its name from the Neil Farm whose land became what is today Ohio State. Residential and commercial development in future University District, occurred organically alongside the development of the college and was bolstered by the city’s overall population growth. As Ohio State grew in numbers, the areas east of the university, now known as the University District, became a desirable neighborhood for academics and affluent residents of Columbus. The advent of the streetcar in the 1890s encouraged middle class residents to live in this thriving neighborhood because they could commute to work downtown, or walk to one of the industrial sites nearby, such
still exist in Dennison Place, while the wooded lots of the Iuka Ravine reflect the importance of nature in the early 20th century. Though many of these areas retain their historic character, all have been impacted by the steady growth expansion of The Ohio State University.
as Columbus Coated Fabrics or Jeffrey Mining. The prosperous collection of neighborhoods had parks such has the locally famed Indianola Park, modern schools, the State Theater which is known today as the Newport Music Hall, small grocers, and other commercial and industrial enterprises. The population boomed in the area after World War II, as veterans returned to Columbus. With the rapidly growing housing demand, apartments and boarding houses were constructed to accommodate the veterans, and their families. Prior to World War II, the neighborhood was predominantly homeowner occupied and in the PostWar Period, it began its shift toward renter occupied housing that is still dominant today. Different neighborhoods with unique features developed with the influx of new demographics over time. Each of the neighborhoods exhibit features that reflect their historic development patterns. Ornate Victorian style homes, from the late 19th Century social elite
As the Vietnam War raged through the 1960’s and 1970’s, the University District experienced tumultuous times that were a microcosm of the country. Demands by students for equal rights for Women, AfricanAmericans and other minority groups as well as the invasion of Cambodia culminated in protests and ultimately riots in the Spring of 1970. Many current residents recall Ohio National Guard tanks rolling down High Street. As the 1970s wore on, the University Area Commission was created to give residents a voice in neighborhood development and planning. By 1975, enrollment at Ohio State reached 50,000 students and has only grown upwards since. The influx of students along with the architectural, geographic and population diversity has led to the many neighborhoods of the University District to become solidly defined. Today thirteen neighborhoods and Ohio State combine to create the vibrant University District.
he University District exists today as a product of its many long time and other more recent assets. These are the organizations, institutions, and groups that make the neighborhood a great place to live, enjoy, and create. These foundational elements of the neighborhood can serve as a base for future arts and cultural projects. In the spirit of collaboration, our unique neighborhood assets should work together to accomplish the goals of this plan. Below is a non-comprehensive list of some of the most important neighborhood assets as they relate to the arts.
First and foremost - our neighborhood would be nothing without its people. From the earliest day of the modern University District, the neighborhood has been populated by a diverse group of interesting and creative people. The many short and long term residents created and continue on the neighborhoodâ€™s culture of creativity, constant change, and under the radar expression.
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS
The University District has an active, engaged group of neighborhood groups and organizations like no other place in Columbus. With many of the 13 distinct neighborhoods having active residents or civic associations as well as several neighborhood wide organizations the spirit of civic engagement and improvement is among the strongest in the city.
OUR MUSIC AND CULTURAL VENUES
In a metro region of nearly two million people, the University District hosts one third of all live musical performances on any given night [based on a recent survey]. Along with the musical performances are a thriving scene of diverse performing arts - from spoken word and poetry to burlesque, magic shows - and beyond. The breadth and depth of the music and performing arts scene in the district provides endless opportunities for engaging more residents and visitors with cultural activities.
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
Ohio State not only puts the ‘U’ in the District - it ensures the ephemeral nature of the neighborhood will continue into the future. From the first 24 students who started classes on September 17th, 1873, the University has grown symbolically alongside its surrounding neighborhood. While the University’s focus and direct involvement has waxed and waned throughout the years, a more recent focus on the arts has the opportunity to positively impact the neighborhood.
OUR MUSEUMS: THE WEX
A multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, screenings, performances, artist residencies, and educational programs, the Wexner Center acts as a forum where established and emerging artists can test ideas and where diverse audiences can participate in cultural experiences that enhance understanding of the art of our time.
OUR MUSEUMS: BILLY IRELAND
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archival materials, and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings. Just like a library, the collection is free and accessible to the public.
The district is home many institutions from small to massive that have been integral to the development of the neighborhood. Organizations like the Godman Guild and Battelle, civic cornerstones like the Northside Library and Tuttle Park Community Center, and our many places of worship create a civic network that empowers our neighborhood to thrive.
WHO WE ARE
UNIVERSITY DISTRICT COMMUNITY CHARACTER FRAMEWORK
he University District stands within and apart from Columbus. Since the first days of development in the neighborhood, it has been inexorably linked to its namesake, The Ohio State University. Though the connections are strong the neighborhood also functions independently from the University as an under the radar destination for music, arts, and other cultural activities. Nature lurks in the neighborhoodâ€™s hidden ravines and along the banks of the Olentangy River. Grungy bars and lively music venues grace main corridors and back alleys. The youthful nature that is a result of the yearly churn of thousands of students is representative of the ever changing culture and demographic makeup of the University District. Creativity, diversity, and artistic expression are hallmarks of this District that is a mecca for those seeking self-discovery and an open exchange of ideas.
WHY A COMMUNITY CHARACTER FRAMEWORK? This Framework lays the foundation for the vision of the present and future Community Character of the University District. By understanding what characteristics make up the basis of our identity we can ensure that our projects and initiatives laid out in this plan are special to us and that they will stand will stand the test of time. The University District is a unique place that has impacted millions of people throughout its history. Our neighborhood’s special nature deserves to be celebrated.
1 DISTRICT 13 DISTINCT
NEIGHBORHOODS CHARACTER THEMES
Through intense public engagement by the University District Organization several overall themes emerged that help to define the essence of the University District.
COLLEGE TOWN IN A BIG CITY
The nature and location of the University District distinguishes it as a special neighborhood in Columbus and a different sort of ‘College Town.’
DIVERSE AND ACCEPTING
In both the past and present the neighborhood has always been a mosaic of thoughts, ideas and most importantly: people.
UNDER THE RADAR
Often described as a ‘hidden gem’ the University District is the type of place where its best attributes often lie under the surface and around the corner.
TIME AND CHANGE
This neighborhood exists not only in real-time but also in the memories of those here for only a short stint. Change is not just inevitable here, its a constant reminder of our unique nature.
Dennison Place The Circles Glen Echo
Indianola Forest Indianola Terrace Iuka Ravine Necko Northwood Park Old North Columbus Peach District SoHud Tuttle Park Weinland Park
WE ARE A COLLEGE TOWN IN A BIG CITY
We’re a neighborhood that educates young people and exports our culture to the world. We are welcoming & diverse; we create; we’re irreverent, unpretentious; sometimes we have too much fun. 16
Quirky Intellectual 24/7
Hole in the Wall Approachable Music Focused OUR DEFINING ATTRIBUTE SETS US APART
The University District is full of the vibrancy that one of the largest universities in the country brings, yet is set apart from other ‘College Towns” by its location in the heart of a large city. Youth and grit; constant activity and the pursuit of knowledge; a devil may care attitude, these are the things that define a neighborhood that stands apart from the
rest of Columbus. A ‘do-it-yourself’ ethic permeates a place that has long been a hotbed for creativity and creation. Talent and ideas are, and have always been, nurtured here to then often be exported for the rest of the world to enjoy. A flippant attitude allows for an unjuried stream of art, music, and artistic energy to thrive.
WE ARE DIVERSE AND ACCEPTING
Weâ€™re a neighborhood where weâ€™re all free to be who we are and express our truest self. We have a history of diversity that dates back to our beginning: from the Underground Railroad through the modern day melting pot we take pride in our diverse nature. 18
Mosaic of Cultures The Crossroads of Ohio Exchange of Ideas
“THE NEIGHBORHOOD IS KINDA-IT GOES IN CYCLES”
A Taste of the World A Place for ‘Others’ Free to be me SPOTLIGHT: WEINLAND PARK STORY BOOK
This exceptionally creative and artistic graphic storytelling book catalogs the highs, lows, and everyday experiences of the residents of Weinland Park; past and present. A rough but ‘can do’ spirit is displayed through this unique medium that resulted from a partnership between the Wexner Center for the Arts, neighborhood residents, artists, and other neighborhood and university institutions. Such a project displays the opportunities that exist as a result of the neighborhood’s unique connections to the Ohio State University.
SPOTLIGHT: OHIO STATE ENROLLMENT
As a neighborhood that has always had a symbiotic relationship with is neighboring land grant University, as goes enrollment, as goes the neighborhood’s residents and visitors. First and foremost, Ohio State is a destination for those throughout the State of Ohio - 41,590 in 2015 alone. Though enrollment remains primarily Ohio-centric, each year brings more diversity in geography near and far. In 2015 over 6,000 foreign students were enrolled and the number non-Ohioans rose to above 17,000.
WE ARE UNDER THE RADAR
Weâ€™re a neighborhood thats not vying for attention. Weâ€™re creative, musical, and historic but we exist first and foremost for our own enjoyment. Our best sites and sounds are just below the surface. 20
Ravines Diamond in the Rough Tree Canopy
Porch-Centric Underground Bars Historic Homes SPOTLIGHT: MUSIC SCENE
Live, local music has been a prominent feature of the University District for as long as today’s long term residents can remember. Fond memories are still being created today in many venues that line High Street and other that are interspersed throughout the neighborhood. Even as Columbus has grown, one thing has stayed the same: if you’re going to listen to live, local music, you’re probably headed to the University District. One third of all live shows in the city occur within our boundaries on any given night.
SPOTLIGHT: SOHUD FOOLS PARADE
The creativity and irreverence of the University District is on full display in the annual SoHud Fools Parade and Festival of Hilaria on none other than April Fools Day. This completely community generated parade and festival has shown the free expression of the neighborhood at its best as well as what the neighborhoods DIY ethic is capable of producing. Creativity for creativity’s sake is what rules in the University District.
WE ARE TIME AND CHANGE
Weâ€™re an ephemeral place that experiences a constant churn of people and evolution of culture. The few constants that remain are personal growth and self-discovery which are our hallmarks. 22
Cyclical Transition to Adulthood Regeneration
Self-Discovery Conflicted Maturing SPOTLIGHT: AUTUMN LEAVES
Each auturm brings a new crop of young people to the University District. The changing of the leaves reflects the changing of the lives and the minds that occurs for so many people in the neighborhood each year. The absence of students during the summer tends to allow more sidewalk space for long term residents but the neighborhood is reinvigorated each fall as new and returning students migrate to the district. The beautiful tree canopy of the District ensures that the time and change of the district is displaced prominently in our landscape.
SPOTLIGHT: STAG AT SHARKEYâ€™S
Artist George Bellows (artwork above) began his career while at Ohio State University and like many of the neighborhoodâ€™s exports, went on to become on of the most important and influential artists of his day. Many artists, musicians, and writers have followed in his footsteps since then such as James Thurber, R.L. Stein and more. The national significance of the University and other prominent institutions in the neighborhood such as the Wexner Center for the Arts and Batelle results in the export of University District creativity and ideas throughout the world.
WHAT WE WANT
Comprised of 13 distinct neighborhoods with over 45,000 residents our district is compact and unavoidably tight-knit. With a varied built environment and one of the most interesting geographies in Columbus, place based arts and character opportunities abound. 24
ith so many unique neighborhoods, diverse identities, and comical characters to celebrate, itâ€™s important to ensure geographic diversity in the placement of our art and character defining pieces. By integrating our artistic and cultural values into our public spaces, the University District can shape its identity around experience of the place rather than just by the neighborhoodâ€™s relationship to The Ohio State University. Through targeting specific programmatic uses and locations that residents shared were priorities, public art can begin to be integrated throughout the community. The priorities for investment, with community input have been determined as follows:
The University District increasingly intertwines with its surrounding neighborhoods such as Clintonville, Italian Village, and Victorian Village. As these distinct neighborhoods continue to grow together, it is important to continue to define our unique district both for visitors and residents alike. This can be done through prominent gateway art that announces you have entered our district while at the same time begin to tell our story.
Hudson St & Railroad Underpass 17th Ave & Railroad Underpass 11th Ave & Railroad Underpass High St & Arcadia Avenue King Ave & Cannon Drive Neil Ave & 5th Ave
OUR PROMINENT INTERSECTIONS
Prominent intersections and hubs can be found throughout our neighborhoods and deserve to be celebrated and distinguished. Differentiating these areas can help us celebrate our individual neighborhoods within the broader University District. Interesting pieces in these locations that help tell our story and cement these areas as gathering spaces in the District.
Lane Ave & High St Hudson Ave & High St 15th Ave & High St Indianola Ave & Glen Echo Ravine King Ave/7th Ave & High St
OUR UNDERUTILIZED NODES
The University District has a variety of locations that need attention and care. These locations have large underutilized hardscapes that have the ability to be transformed into points of interest. Possibilities for rejuvenating these areas include sculptures, sidewalk treatments, and interactive art.
Hudson St & Summit St King Ave & Forsyth Ave Summit St & Oakland Ave North Fourth & East Eleventh Ave North Fourth & East Seventh
Our parks range from small, neighborhood pocket parks to larger parks containing winding rivers, streams, and deep ravines. We can use public art to infuse our natural space with the creative spirit of our community, making our parks a destination for art lovers and nature buffs alike. Art in our parks can inspire health and activity and create a space for our children to explore and play.
Weinland Park Iuka Ravine Glen Echo Ravine Maynard & Summit Park Tuttle Park Indianola Park
OUR HIDDEN NOOKS & CRANNIES
Sandwiched and secluded between all of our other locations above are many spaces that are opportunities for our hidden, temporary, and ephemeral art pieces. Most of the types of art created on or for these locations will likely be grassroots. The keys to creating art in these locations are empowering the artists and overcoming regulatory and bureaucratic barriers.
Alleys Dumpsters Sidewalks Fences Tree Lawns
OUR MUSIC VENUES
From Old North to Fifth Avenue and many locations in between, our music venues are crucial to cultural expirence of the University District. By highlighting them visually, marketing the neighborhood as a music destination, and cultivating neighborhood musicians we can help ensure the long term sucess of our venues.
Old North / High & Hudson Ave Gateway Summit St & Hudson Ave High St & 14th Ave King Ave / 5th Ave & Neil
NEIGHBORHOOD SELECTED ART MEDIUMS
hroughout the engagement process, residents and other community members were asked what types of public artwork they would like to see more of in the neighborhood. Though not nearly a comprehensive list, the art mediums below were the most often mentioned and selected types of art.
Murals and mosaics can transform an empty space into a colorful and stimulating environment. These empty spaces can beg for innovation and attention. Blank walls exist throughout our district – between our buildings, in our alleys, on the end of our blocks and on the backs of our buildings. Murals can be semi-permanent and can rotate yearly to allow the exposure of many artists over a short period of time rather than a few artists over a long period of time. Semi-permanence also allows for integration of other mediums not typically included in mural installation, such as photography.
Light installations utilize the manipulation of light, colors, and shadows to create sculptures, murals, and other artistic expressions. These installations can exist as a projection on the side of our buildings or as integrated pieces in our landscape. They may be temporary or permanent and can help add variety to our spaces and attract residents and visitors in the evening and night hours.
From traditional to cutting edge, sculptures are often the highlight and focal point of civic art. They can stand as beacons of civic pride and be showpieces for the University District that helps share our diverse and accepting character with the world. The installation of sculptures can help celebrate and enhance our gateways, parks, and neighborhood nodes and can take many shapes and sizes.
As the City implements infrastructure projects in the public realm, the district has the opportunity to implement “University District specific” designs in place of otherwise ordinary pieces of infrastructure. Integrating our character into our infrastructure can be affordable and create a major visual impact. Functional art can be as simple as the creation of a crosswalk or as complex as the replacement of existing light poles. Other options for functional art installations include: benches, signal boxes, trash cans, street furniture, transit stops, storm drains, manholes, installations within a public garage, wayfinding, sidewalk and alley treatments, artfully designed tree grates and more.
Unique musical venues and shops have called the University District home through all of our time and change. With current development and population growth, it’s imperative that we sustain this important part of our culture and character. This can take the form of such efforts as marketing support for local venues or putting an emphasis on musical performance in our public spaces throughout the year.
A defining feature of the District is the large number of people who regularly walk the streets, patronize the businesses, and gerenally make the neighborhood a vital place. Interactive installations in the neighborhood would draw people to them, creating opportunities to touch, feel, and participate. Often these may be kinetic or tech based and placed in highly trafficted areas.
Many ideas were generated by community members to invigorate both the physical environment and the arts scene of the University District. While some conceptual ideas are tied to specific locations, others are not. The following projects and programs are not ranked by priority and should be considered strategically as opportunities present themselves. 28
CONCEPT 1: DIAVOLO INSTALLATION
iavolo was a daredevil who lived in the Old North Columbus neighborhood in the early 20th Century. A Diavolo installation was conceptualized to incorporate both the history of the neighborhood and the irreverent values of today. Several Diavolo concepts emerged from the initial idea of Diavolo causing mischief on the Old North Arch. The final visualized concept combines mural and sculptural concepts to create an interactive installation that tells the story of Diavolo in an interesting and interactive way. Additionally Diavolo could be conceptualized causing mischief in other ways in the Old North Columbus and beyond as shown to the right.
OTHER POTENTIAL ITERATIONS
• Miniaturized, sculptural pieces scattered throughout the neighborhoods • Filmed footage of Diavolo projected on the side of a building • Installations that connect to the sites of former amusement parks where Diavolo was said to perform
CONCEPT 2: BUSYBODY POST
he University District has long had a problem of the posting of handbills in locations that aren’t acceptable per city code such as streetlights and utility poles. The intent of adding handbill posting stations is to provide a location for music acts and other community members to post signs while also adding an artistic element. A final version could be placed in conjunction with a soapbox or other artistic installation and should include a ‘Busybody’ sign on top.
SPOTLIGHT: THE NEIGHBORHOOD BUSYBODY
No, busybody isn’t just a way to describe your neighbor! The Neighborhood Busybody was a neighborhood newsletter that covered stories in the Dennison Place neighborhood of the southern University District in the 1980s. Although the people of the University District are quick to adopt new technologies, sometimes you just need to tack a piece of paper to a pole.
CONCEPT 3: ART IN PUBLIC SPACES
hroughout the University District there are several ‘neighborhood commercial nodes’ that occur. These nodes, which feature large areas of concrete in front of the storefronts, present opportunities to introduce artistic elements into important neighborhood meeting points and also help create unified visual cohesion of the District. A natural theme may work well as the University District has a distinctive tree canopy and is well integrated into the park system. Several options of potential bird displays have been rendered.
POTENTIAL LOCATIONS • • • •
Oakland Ave & Summit St, Fourth St & Seventh Ave King Ave & Forsythe Ave Northwood Ave & High St
CONCEPT 4: IUKA NATURAL PORTALS
uka Ravine was defined by the community as one of the ‘hidden gems’ of the District. Using community direction, a goal was established of drawing more visitors to the park, creating more community attachment, integrating art, and to showcasing one of the most revered community assets. By placing portals designed by an artist with natural materials the path from High Street to Iuka Park could become more interesting, recognized and enjoyable. Additionally, these natural portals could be integrated into other University District park spaces to draw in residents and visitors and add interest.
OTHER POTENTIAL LOCATIONS • • • •
Glen Echo Ravine Tuttle Park Weinland Park Olentangy Trail Entrances
CONCEPT 5: INTERACTIVE PIECE(S)
rom the urban legend of the ‘Long Walk’ to the recent (and now banned) tradition of the Mirror Lake Jump folklore and traditions have always had a place in the University District and at Ohio State. The ephemeral nature of the District and its constant churn of new residents means that there are always opportunities to create new traditions that can have a lasting impact. Through collaboration of community members and neighborhood organizations an art piece could be commissioned that adds visual interest and creativity to the student core of the District (or other areas) and also allows for the creation of a new interactive and low impact tradition.
SPOTLIGHT: ACTIVE TRADITIONS •
Around the country, students have adopted the tradition of throwing shoes around poles or trees to signify the completion of their studies. An example of this is shown below. Bahia Bands typically are ribbons with writings done by hand in silver or with ink. In the Brazilian tradition these were worn as a necklace, upon which holy images were hung. These are often now tied at physical locations such as church gates.
CONCEPT 6: WAYFINDING SIGNS
hough not pieces of art in and of themselves, wayfinding signs plan an important role in arts and placemaking efforts in the district. By utilizing elevated design, wayfinding pieces can be both visually pleasing and useful. After a number of design iterations including large ‘U’ shape concepts as well as signage inlaid into the sidewalk, a more straightforward design was visualized. The signage draws from the University District Neighborhood Map and is intended on helping create a sense of place using the neighborhood name of any given location it is placed. The neighborhood’s history and notable residents can be added to further emphasize the University District’s unique cultural past.
POTENTIAL LOCATIONS • High Street • Neighborhood Nodes • Parks
CONCEPT 7: ART TRAIL
trail connecting overlooked natural spaces throughout the neighborhood could encourage more activity and help link the districts parks together. A central spine could run along the Summit Street protected bike lane with connections from Glen Echo Park, Maynard and Summit Park, Iuka Park, and Weinland Park. Long term connections could reach to the Olentangy Trail. The Trail would feature various temporary and permanent art pieces such identified as conceptual projects throughout the plan.
CONCEPT 8: DUMPSTER MURALS
umpsters that are key fixtures on several alleys in the neighborhood and often graffit. Using murals to combat graffit is a proven stragety that has already been sucessfully used in the District. By creating a dumpster mural program that changes regularly, an ephemperal and highly intersting art installation can grace an overlooked area. A program would likely pay to paint the dumpsters a solid color with artists invited to create murals on the dumpsters of Pearl Alley (behind High Street) initally with an eventual expansion to other areas. Artists should either be compensated or provided a stipend for supplies and chosen by an artist call.
CONCEPT 9: MUSIC & CULTURE TRAIL
long the lines of other successful programs like the famous Columbus Beer Trail and Coffee Trail, a music or culture trail could help draw additional visitors to the district’s music and performance venues. The concept could be comprehensive spanning from an initial pilot to long term programs and features. The pilot could feature a rewards program by where visiting a certain number of venues could earn patrons a t-shirt or other rewards. Long term efforts could include trail branded signage for venues and music festivals.
CONCEPT 10: NEIGHBORHOOD ICONS
y designing creative and artistic neighborhood icons we can both add public art to the streetscape and visually define neighborhoods. Neighborhood icons are intended to help define the many distinct neighborhoods within the District but in more creative and interesting ways than traditional wayfinding. Initial ideas are to the right.
Dennison Place, The Circles, Peach District, & Necko: Playing off the various elements the neighborhood, a series icons fashioned into geometric shapes and other elements such as DNA strands could grace this area. (ex: Science elements, protractor, glasses, structural formulas of common substances (water, salt, sugar), periodic table elements, and so on) Weinland Park: ‘RISE’ theme in line with RISE billboard series. This could include the word ‘RISE’ or other more interpretive elements such as upward facing arrows and such. Old North Columbus: An icon in this portion of the neighborhood could be based on a musical element such as a music note due to the significant number of music venues. SoHud, Glen Echo, Tuttle Park, & Iuka Ravine: Different animals (ex: fox, owl, bear, squirrel) in line with the more ‘Natural’ feel of the neighborhoods.
CONCEPT 11: ‘HIGH STREET’ SIGN
lans are currently underway to transform the area around High Street and 15th Avenue into an arts focused district. As a future focal point of activity in the University District there is an opportunity to create an art piece that is interesting, interactive, and that would be an ideal icon for the district. Several ideas were generated such as a monumental art piece or other sculpture. As concepts were examined the idea of an interactive and iconic ‘High Street’ sign emerged that was inspired by other signs around the country and world. The ‘High Street’ theme would be unique to Columbus and could be continued by other neighborhoods. Additionally, unique technological elements could let the piece change as it was interacted with by those nearby.
CONCEPT 12: STREET ART DISTRICT
theme that emerged from the neighborhood was the desire for under the radar unencumbered art. Defining itself as the ‘Street Art District of Columbus’ the district can ensure that the counter-culture attitude that was historically and still is part of the neighborhood’s identity continues to ring true. This would go beyond a branding mechanism by creating enthusiasm and encouraging additional artistic opportunities for street artists. Long term a collaborative framework could be created between the University District Organization, University District commissions, and private property owners to give street artists opportunities in the district and recognition. To the right are possible subject matters.
POSSIBLE SUBJECT MATTER • • • •
Natural Subjects Current Political Moods Cartoons or Anime Illustrations or art interacting with building features • Popular culture or sports subjects
CONCEPT 13: LITERARY WHEEL
s a way to inject both poetry into the physical environment, this interactive ‘Literacy Wheel’ when spun would spit out various phrases. An initial installation could be small and semipermanent while a long term concept could be larger and the focal point of a neighborhood park.
CONCEPT 14: STREET FOOD CONCEPT
aking a que from the ‘Fallen Fruit’ project taking place in Weinland Park, creating a visually striking and practical a ‘Street Food’ concept could entail planters on the sidewalk or larger artistically designed planters within a park or streetscape. These would be filled with edible fruit, vegetable, and other plants that would provide free produce in the dense and commerical areas of the neighborhood. Synergies could also be created with the many community gardens in the neighborhood.
CONCEPT 15: ADULT PLAYGROUND
ith lots of active residents and a large and youthful population a playground with large adult-sized equipment would likely be well used in the University District. By bringing in artists to help design equipment, the playground could be both artistically impactful and functional.
CONCEPT 16: STORYTELLING SOAPBOX
nitially inspired by both the graphic novel ‘Weinland Park Storybook’ and William Oxley Thompson’s soapbox pulpit, a storytelling soapbox installation could provide an opportunity to help the stories come to life on a regular basis. By creating various ‘soapbox’ platforms around the District we can provide a literal platform for musicians, spoken word performers, activists and more to more easily showcase their art or communicate their message.
POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL ELEMENTS
• Installation of outlets to allow musicians or others plug in • Poles and loops for activists to hang their banners.
CONCEPT 17: CROSSWALKS DESIGN
simple yet impactful project, creative crosswalks could help define neighborhood in a low cost manner. Though these crosswalks would likely need to be of simple, monochromatic design to get approved by the City of Columbus - an interesting and unique design by an artist could help set the neighborhoods apart. They can also be used to help define pedestrian pathways of the Art Trail concept
CONCEPT 18: CREATIVE GARBAGE BINS
ne of the most common neighborhood complaint is the ongoing litter problem in the area. Artistically designed trash cans - temporary or permanent - could bring awareness to the problem in an interesting way. Irreverent designs such as Red Solo Cups or a Cookie Monster could help draw attention (and trash) to garbage bins.
WHO CAN HELP US
At the foundation of this plan is the need for cooperation between all who have a stake in the success of the University District. No one governmental body, individual, non-profit entity or grassroots group is responsible for the implementation of this plan. All of those involved in the district must do their part to foster the arts in our community. Throughout this chapter is a framework for who can help implement this plan and how we can fund our conceptualized projects.
n order to clearly define how the plan will be implemented, we have defined the roles of key stakeholders. These roles may grow and change throughout the long timeline of implementation, however we anticipate they will fundamentally remain the same.
UNIVERSITY DISTRICT FOCUSED ORGANIZATIONS University District Organization (UDO)
As the organization that led this planning effort, the UDO and its sister organizations, the University Community Business Association and University District Special Improvement District will be charged with coordinating the implementation of the various aspects of this plan. The UDO will spearhead aspects of this plan that are within its purview and capacity. The UDO will seek out partner organizations as needed and will work with community members and the University Area Commission.
University Area Commission (UAC)
The University Area Commission (UAC) advises Columbus City Council on matters of importance in the University District. In this capacity the UAC should advocate for additional funding of the arts in the district as well as the inclusion of public art in city funded capital improvement projects. Additionally the UAC should advocate for the voluntary inclusion of public art within new developments when developers present projects in front of the commission.
University Impact District Review Board (UIDRB)
The UIDRB is charged with hearing, deciding, and taking action on all applications for a certificate of zoning clearance and applicable permits or registrations, and when appropriate, issue a certificate of approval thereon. The UIDRB has an opportunity during their review process to advocate for the inclusion of public art in new development and should use that oppotunity to help insure that developments use public art and cultural ammenities to contribute to the neighborhood character.
CITY OF COLUMBUS As one of many neighborhoods in Columbus, we recognize that while the University District needs cooperation and support from the city government, we will need a strong base of neighborhood support and funding to implement this plan.
Department of Development
As the Department is reviewing new development projects or attempting to lure new businesses to the neighborhood, they should advocate for the voluntary inclusion of public art and funding of arts and cultural programing.
Department of Public Service
As the Department that builds and maintains infrastructure Public Service should strive to include public art in its projects throughout the district.
Department of Recreation and Parks
When improving or developing new parks or other facilities in the neighborhood, Recreation and Parks should strive to include public art pieces and spaces for cultural activities.
AREA ARTS ORGANIZATIONS Columbus Art Commission (CAC)
The primary role of the CAC is to approve all art purchased, commissioned, or accepted as a gift by the City, as well as all art proposed for placement anywhere within the Public Right of Way or on property owned or leased by the City. CAC approval is also necessary before any art subject to their approval can be in any way altered or removed. The CAC should advocate for the inclusion of art within city funded projects throughout the district.
The Wexner Center for the Arts
The Wexner Center has long been involved in outreach to the community. One instance of this commitment is their involvement in the Weinland Park Storybook. More initiatives like this could help unleash the creativity of the neighborhood and display it to the outside world. The Wex is internationally recognized and can continue to provide amazing opportunities to our elevate our neighborhood art and expose it to the world.
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
The new and improved Cartoon Museum is one of the most recent additions to the University District landscape, and the potential impact of the Museum could meteorically rise. With the worldâ€™s largest collection of cartoon art collaborations could help draw people to the museum and help the museum impact the neighborhood. Mural installations and irreverent sculptural reproductions are just a few of the ideas that could be successful long term.
OTHER IMPORTANT PARTNERS The Ohio State University
Ohio State has shown a recent commitment to the arts with the recent development of plans for an arts district on the Universityâ€™s campus at High Street and 15th Avenue. With the Wex, Cartoon Library and Museum, and renovated Mershon Auditorium as anchors this district could help to draw more visitors to the neighborhood and more students into the arts. In addition to these physical efforts should be a commitment to encourage students to participate in the vibrant scene of arts and creativity in the University District.
Campus Partners spearheads the revitalization of the urban neighborhoods of the University District on behalf of the Ohio State University. Campus Partners was incorporated as a nonprofit organization to work with the city, community agencies, neighborhood civic associations and the university itself. As Campus Partners continues development activities off campus they should ensure that public arts and cultural institutions are included within new development. This may include large public art pieces in public spaces, programed outdoor performance areas, and other arts integration.
As areas of the district are redeveloped, those who are constructing the projects should consider the inclusion of public art and cultural amenities. This may be as simple as purchasing sculptures or commissioning murals. More extensive commitments could include setting aside a portion of retail space for music venues or encouraging bar tenants to showcase live music. By going the extra mile to weave the spirit of the neighborhood into new development developers could build greater support for their projects.
FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES THE COLUMBUS FOUNDATION
The Columbus Foundation houses a number of grant funds that provide opportunities to implement proposed projects. Large projects may be funded through the Targeted Grant Program from the Joseph A. Jeffrey Fund supporting beautification and community improvement. A partnership with The Wexner Center for the Arts could be created to access funds from the Arts and Culture Grant Program. In addition the Neighborhood Partnership Grants program is designed to support neighborhood organizations and improvements in low- and moderate income areas of Franklin County.
ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. ArtPlace focuses its work on creative placemaking, funding projects through its National Creative Placemaking Fund on a yearly basis.
NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. The NEA provides grants to and organizations to fund public art and placemaking projects. Grants include Art Works, Creativity Connects, and Our Town.
OHIO ARTS COUNCIL
The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. The Ohio Arts Councilâ€™s current grant programs are grouped into four categories: operating support, project support, arts learning and individual artists.
OHIO HUMANITIES COUNCIL
Ohio Humanities is the state-based partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Through grants and public humanities programs the help Ohioans interpret the past, imagine the future, and define individual values. The OHC has both general and special grants that can be utilized for a variety of projects.
OHIO HISTORY FUND GRANT PROGRAM
The Ohio History Fund was created to support the preservation and sharing of Ohio’s heritage by funding local, regional and statewide projects, programs and events related to the broad sweep of the state’s history. This grant program could be utilized to implement conceptual projects that help tell the story of the neighborhood’s history.
The Ford Foundation is a New York-headquartered, globally oriented private foundation with the mission of advancing human welfare. Their grant making program is focused on responding to the drivers of inequity. They have several focus areas with may be applicable including Civic Engagement and Government and Creativity and Free Expression.
SPECIAL ASSESSMENTS AND FUTURE SPECIAL IMPROVEMENT DISTRICTS (SIDS)
Special Assessments and SIDs are created when property owners come together to fund projects or programs that positively benefit their properties. Projects like the Short North Arches and Pearl Market have been funded using this method. Property owners could include public art and cultural projects in their next plan for service upon the expiration of the existing UDSID or create one time special assessments in order to fund specific projects.
GREATER COLUMBUS ARTS COUNCIL
The Greater Columbus Arts Council (Arts Council) funds artists and arts organizations and provides marketing services that support artists and organizations. Arts Council programming provides access to the arts for people of all cultural backgrounds, economic status, sexual orientation, age and physical ability and ensures broad public access to the arts. Supporting Columbus artists, and arts and culture organizations enhances the cultural image of the Greater Columbus area.
PRIORITY ACTION PLAN
At the foundation of this plan is the need for cooperation between all who have a stake in the success of the University District. No one governmental body, individual, non-profit entity or grassroots group is responsible for the implementation of this plan. All of those involved in the district must do their part to foster the arts in our community. Throughout this chapter is a framework for who can help implement this plan and how we can fund our conceptualized projects.
SHORT TERM GOALS & STRATEGIES FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Seek funding from the following organizations for implementation of the less complex conceptual projects and programs found in Chapter 4. • Ohio Arts Council • Ohio Humanities Council • Ohio History Fund Grant Program • Neighborhood Partnership Grant
PROCESSES & POLICIES
• The UDO should convene a standing committee institutional and neighborhood stakeholders and artists quarterly to understand what their projects and goals are and to encourage collaboration and the inclusion of arts and cultural activities within their projects. • The UDO, with collaboration from stakeholder organizations and the public, will develop a priority location list for future installations and projects. • Collaborate with the City of Columbus and Columbus Arts Commission to determine which projects overlap with their priorities and upcoming projects. • Collaborate with Campus Partners and Ohio State to ensure locations are set aside at 15th and High for future public art installations.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION & ARTIST SUPPORT • Explore collaboration with the GCAC Community & Street Performer Program. • Apply for grant funding for the several small projects such as the Diavolo Installation, Music Trail, Dumpster Murals, and Creative Garbage Bins.
MEDIUM TERM GOALS & STRATEGIES FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Seek funding from the following organizations for implementation of the more complex conceptual projects and programs found in Chapter 4. • Columbus Foundation • Ford Foundation • National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) • Artplace America • GCAC
PROCESSES & POLICIES
• Create a reserve of ‘shovel ready’ public art projects for easy implementation by developers or other private or public sponsorship. • Collaborate with the UAC to meet with developers in the early stages of development in order to help encourage the inclusion of public art and cultural amenities during the conceptual stage of development. • Collaborate with the Wex and Cartoon Museum to encourage neighborhood focused projects that are mutually beneficial.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION & ARTIST SUPPORT • Create neighborhood and student volunteer program to engage non-artists to assist with events or artist installations. • Focus on larger grant funded projects such as Iuka Natural Portals, Long Walk Extension, Neighborhood Node Pieces, and more.
LONG TERM GOALS & STRATEGIES FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Seek additional funding mechanisms for arts and culture initiatives that are outside of grant opportunities. These include soliciting funding from the Special Assessment / Special Improvement District (SID) and additional collaborators.
PROCESSES & POLICIES
• Prioritize most expensive or difficult to implement projects and programing such as monumental sculptural pieces and art trails. • Work with partners to determine the most appropriate funding sources and locations for neighborhood-wide wayfinding.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION & ARTIST SUPPORT • Focus on larger projects such as Wayfinding, 15th & High, Art Trail, and others.
Published on Mar 9, 2018