Naturally Impactful: “The Sight of Music” Debuts at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center September 29
On September 29, the Columbus Cultural Arts Center will debut “The Sight of Music,” a six-week exhibition in the Center’s Main Gallery, featuring visual representations of music intended to highlight how “music is the soundtrack of our lives.”
As part of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, the Cultural Arts Center features several galleries and studios for artists to utilize. Since 2013, the Center has reserved six weeks from late September to early November for a large exhibition on the Main Gallery.
“These exhibitions tend to be staff initiated, as opposed to an open call for proposals from individual artists and groups,” said Geoffrey Martin, Arts Administrator at the Cultural Arts Center, in an email.
“A little over two years ago we asked noted Columbus teacher and poet, Steve Abbott, if he would like to be a guest curator for one of our exhibitions,” said Martin. “Steve thought it might be fun and came up with the concept, ‘The Sight of Music.’”
The exhibit is meant to reference synesthesia, a perceptual phenomenon that may result in a person perceiving sounds as having colors. From that premise, the Center sought to craft an exhibit that would reimagine music, it’s history, styles, instruments, and the feelings it can elicit, through visual media.
When considering an exhibition to feature, Martin said the Center looks for thought-provoking work with a unique artistic voice, one that “pushes boundaries through content or materials,” incorporating multiple art forms and demonstrating artistic skill. “The Sight of Music” met each of those goals.
“We thought it would be exciting to first, see how artists are inspired by sound,” said Martin. “And secondly, allow viewers a peek at what sounds ‘look like’ to those artists who experience sound in a profoundly different way.”
The full “Sight of Music” exhibit came together from a wide variety of local sources, both artistic and otherwise. The Center decided to feature works created by artists from all over the state, curated by Dr. Melanie Corn, President of CCAD, and musicologist Dr. Christopher Purdy.
The Center also commissioned an original musical piece composed by Richard Lopez and partnered with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra for a live painting event. The exhibition will also feature a lecture by Dr. Anna Gawboy, Associate Professor of Music at The Ohio State University. Dr. Gawboy’s research into synesthesia partially inspired the ideas behind “The Sight of Music,” so the organizers decided to include her work in the exhibition.
“Other contacts led us to the classical music ensemble, ‘Chamber Brews,’ several members of which knew Dr. Gawboy,” said Martin. “A meeting between them resulted in a plan for an unusual evening event with Dr. Gawboy talking about synesthesia, Chamber Brews providing musical accompaniment, and the audience being asked to participate by creating art.”
Martin said he hopes that all of the exhibits at the Center, including the Sight of Music, will inspire people and provoke questions and conversations among viewers.
“Each month we use our galleries to show different perspectives from very different voices,” said Martin. “We work very hard to ensure those voices are diverse, just like the city in which we live…we’d like for people to walk away with a deeper appreciation for the vast amount of artistic talent in this community.”
For more information, visit culturalartscenteronline.org.
Naturally Impactful is brought to you by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, which works to enrich and change the lives of our citizens. The column is an effort to share the story of how the pillars of Health and Wellness, Conservation and Social Equity drive the work we do. Each month the column will focus on different sections of the department using these pillars to create a positive impact on our residents’ and visitors’ quality of life along with providing basic knowledge of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, #CRPD. To find more about upcoming happenings at your Columbus Recreation and Parks, visit their Facebook page, Twitter page, or columbus.gov/recreationandparks.