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Cultural Arts Center: A Best Kept Secret

Walker Evans Walker Evans Cultural Arts Center: A Best Kept Secret
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The Cultural Arts Center has been a downtown institution for over three decades. Run by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, this facility offers a wide variety of unique classes, regular gallery exhibitions and other special events in a beautiful historic building located on Main Street near the recently renovated Bicentennial Park.

We recently spoke recently to Veda Gilp, Marketing Manager at Cultural Arts Center to find out more about this hidden gem.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the history of the Cultural Arts Center?

A: The Cultural Arts Center opened in our current location in 1978 but programming was held in the old fire station on the corner of Parsons and Oak for many years before that. Much of the credit for our being in this wonderful building goes to Mel Dodge, former Director of Columbus Recreation and Parks, who took on the challenge to transform this 1861 state arsenal into one the country’s premiere public art facilities.

Q: Do many people realize that the CAC is part of the city’s Recreation and Parks department? Can you tell us a bit about how that makes the CAC unique in relation to other types of arts facilities?

A: We are lucky to be a program of the Recreation and Parks Department. The City has been generously supporting all department programs for over 100 years, knowing the benefits we provide to the people of Columbus are varied and important. As with any City program, we are your tax dollars at work and everyone should feel free to come and take advantage of our services.

Q: The CAC offers a wide variety of classes. Have you noticed any becoming more popular as of late? Any noteworthy trends as far as that goes?

A: We always see a lot of students sign up for the Ceramics, Painting and Jewelry classes but all the others have a great following, too. Did you know you can cast bronze at the CAC? We are one of the very few Ohio public places that offer this learning experience. We have an entire studio dedicated just to the art of enameling!

Q: Has the completion of the work at Bicentennial Park and the reopening of Main Street improved the visibility of the CAC?

A: Definitely! It was pretty hard to access this area during the construction. Now we have a lot of visitors to the park coming through the Center and finding out what great classes and programs we offer. I think the great collection of student-made ceramic pots on the courtyard walls have really helped to catch attention, too.

Q: Anything other upcoming events or other opportunities for our readers to visit?

A: Our current exhibit is a collection of lit glass lanterns created by Mark Soppeland, Distinguished Professor of Art, University of Akron. It promises to be “electrifying”. It’s on display through March 24th. Be sure to visit our web site for program and class information. Imagine! Create!

More information can be found online: www.CulturalArtsCenterOnline.org.


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