Hello! I hope everyone was able to get out and enjoy this B-E-A-Utiful weather that us in Central Ohio are having the pleasure of enjoying, currently. It was a fabulous weekend for exploring our fair city. It was also, coincidentally, the weekend for Urban Scrawl, a massive art event that occurs in the Franklinton Arts District, an area directly west of down town that has become a local arts haven over the last decade or so. There are a TON of local artists that live and work in the neighborhood and it has the delicious, gritty, urban, art feel. There are these amazing warehouse spaces, old brick, and grimy windows that just scream to be used as a backdrop for creatives to work their magic.
I used to intern at a fancy lil organization called the STEAM Factory, a collaborative research initiative of The Ohio State University that calls Franklinton home. As a result, I spent a decent amount of the Spring of 2016 exploring the 400 W Rich Studios and the neighborhood that is known as “East Franklinton”. Franklinton Fridays became this area’s version of the Short North’s “Gallery Hop”, and the studios would be open and there would be art everywhere. This neighborhood is also home to one of my favorite restaurants, Strongwater Food and Drink (my internship supervisor used to have a drink named after him, which to me, that’s how you know you’ve made it), and Land Grant Brewing, which is a cleverly marketed craft brewery that brews delicious libations. It is an up and coming area that is keeping local arts at the center of it’s development.
Urban Scrawl is a special event that has been occurring every summer since 2007, and it contributes to the artist driven community improvement that is happening in Franklinton. Basically, artists from all over the city have an opportunity to create amazing mural projects over the two day festival and these pieces are then made available for purchase, benefitting a cause that supports the arts community. This year, the proceeds will benefit the new Franklinton Arts District’s George Bellow’s Artist Fellowship. The Fellowship “… provides funding in support of individual artists, artistic collaborations, and community-based organizations investing in the fundamental value of arts and culture in the Franklinton community.”. Now how cool is that? Artists supporting artists – that is what truly creates a community.
The vibe at this festival is truly one of a kind. When I walked into the back alley way, I was met first by the strong smell of paint. And there was a LOT of paint in use back in the mural area. Blick Art Materials was sponsoring the event, and they had even more gallons upon gallons of acrylic paint available for the artists to use. As I walked around, it was clear that the visual arts talent in Columbus is truly larger than life. These murals were ginormous. To me, there is nothing cooler than art that forces you to pay attention to it, and that is exactly what these murals did. They demanded attention. Even though there were a few hundred people all milling about, the art was the centerpiece. It was such an experience to be able to walk down the aisles and see the artists in the throes of their creativity. There was so much drama and action in the way that they were working. It was the best kind of reality tv show. I could watch these guys all day. Here are some of my favorites in action:
I’m a bit saddened that I wasn’t able to make it back Sunday night to see the completed pieces. The energy and excitement that I felt on Saturday, however, was promising that these pieces would be truly astounding. If I had a vaulted ceiling in my apartment, I would be back for the auction event for sure. However, most of these pieces are much too large for my teeny place. If you weren’t able to make it out this past weekend, I highly recommend liking the Franklinton Arts District Facebook page to keep in the know of all the artistic happenings down in this ‘hood. It’s an authentic arts neighborhood with much cheaper parking than it’s Short North counterpart. If you haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for?
Til next time!