The Columbus Arts Festival –formerly known as Festival of the Arts- has continued to evolve since its opening on the Statehouse lawn in 1962. Originally, it was an event that displayed the art of students in the Columbus City School district, and has grown to become one of the most prominent art festivals in the country. The event combines both the culture of the city and those of the arts, creating a monumental event that has captivated the attention of tourists from all the world.
The 2016 Columbus Arts Festival was no different, again taking place beside the beautiful Riverfront in Downtown Columbus. While attending the event, I came across a variety of different forms of painting, photography, clothing, jewelry, pottery, and furniture design. Over 300 artists representing 38 states and countries were present to showcase their distinct pieces.
The location of the ceremony only heightened the events intrigue. The beautiful forecast illuminated over the Scioto River and the newly constructed buildings, which established an open and family-like ambiance. At night, the lights by the riverside perfectly coincided with the naturally picturesque and warm aesthetic of the city lights.
This weekend was also a great opportunity for local musicians and entertainers – through the Emerging Artists program – to perform among the people in attendance. There was a total of seven performance stages that allowed several local acts to perform, which included the Cap City Creatives, Clintonville Arts Guild, Columbus Crafty Cotillion, and other such artists. In addition to the musical acts that were present, both the dancers and theater performers put on a show as well. Attendees sat for hours along the park to enjoy the spectacles these talented artists had on display.
One of the most important aspects of this year’s festival were the multitude of activities. The event included the programs Hands on Art Activities, Italian Street Painting, Children’s Gallery, and a 5K Run. In addition to these activities, COSI was offering film screenings from the Film Festival of Columbus (FFOCOL), and free evening programming in the planetarium.
Another highlight from this weekend was the food, most of which being from some of the finest restaurants in the city. Throughout the event, vendors offered classic festival foods such as cream puffs, gourmet ice cream, all-natural smoothies, hand-tossed pizzas and smooth tasting barbecue.
This year’s Columbus Art Festival was undoubtedly a fun and educational experience, one that displayed the histrionics behind the celebration and the other aspects that coincide with the event. These aspects opened people’s eyes to an artistic crusade that weighs heavily within our city’s culture. Columbus is a city that celebrates every piece of one’s self-expression, and encourages people to indulge in these creative avenues. Art is a universal language, one that’s used to connect with those in its reach. This language is what this city has been building on for over 50 years, and has helped to develop the Columbus we know today. Let’s continue to harness these principals and further substantiate our presence in the world of art.