10 Columbus Art Galleries off the Beaten Path
There was once a time when the Short North was undoubtedly considered Columbus’ arts district, as evident in this same article written a decade ago. But the area now has some stiff competition, and not just from the arts district in Franklinton. Now, many art galleries double as event spaces and community gathering places, turning away from the uppity or pretentious feeling art galleries are assumed to have.
(Not) Sheep Gallery
Since its opening in 2018, (Not) Sheep Gallery has pointedly aligned itself with the more “controversial” sides of art. Whether commenting on politics, race and ethnicity, the environment or women’s issues, the gallery and its featured artists have a much more radical attitude toward art than its Short North neighbors.
For more information, visit notsheepgallery.com.
Artist-run gallery and event space 3060 Artworks is a tenant of Westgate BusinessWorks in the Hilltop, as one of several businesses invited to contribute economic growth to the neighborhood. Along with Summer Jam West, of which owner Patti Von Niessen is executive director, Hilltop residents are increasingly given access to public art because of spaces like this.
For more information, visit 3060artworks.net.
Urban Cultural Arts Foundation
Created in the 1970s as the Urban Cultural Arts Foundation, the William H. Thomas Gallery, aka “The Art Gallery in the Hood,” is reportedly the oldest black-owned gallery in Columbus. This community-based gallery in the Near East Side African Village seeks to provide a venue for a wide range of artistic presentations, while doubling as a gathering place and resource for the global community.
For more visit galleryinthehood.com.
Close Quarters Social Gaming Club
Close Quarters is a gaming club and training space for casual and dedicated gamers alike, but the facility is also a participant in Franklinton Fridays and hosts a regular gallery show series. Often the featured artists’ work has some sort of influence from comics or gaming culture, making Close Quarters the perfect venue for their shows.
For more information: socialgamingclub.com.
There was a point in deciding if venues like Chromedge, 400 West Rich, or Gass Axis should be considered low key, given Franklinton’s emergence as the competing arts district to the Short North. But there is an unassuming charm to Chromedge, one of the Franklinton arts district’s newest tenants, that makes it anything but pretentious. In addition to a photo lab and studio spaces for artists, Chromedge also hosts workshops and an open house on the second Friday of the month for Franklinton Fridays.
For more information, visit chromedgestudios.com.
Elijah Pierce Gallery
The Elijah Piece Gallery is located in the King Arts Complex and named in honor of the late Near East Side resident Elijah Pierce, a woodworker and 20th century folk artist. The gallery features historic and contemporary works by local, national and international artists of a variety of mediums. The gallery also hosts tours of exhibitions, gallery talks and hands-on workshops in art education.
For more info, visit kingartscomplex.com/elijah-pierce-gallery.
Streetlight Guild’s official venue only opened in June 2019, but the organization’s mission to curate events for Columbus-based, underrepresented voices will definitely make it a modest gem. The first floor was built for performances, but local artwork exists in each room, through the stairwell and throughout the second floor gallery space.
For more information: streetlightguild.wpcomstaging.com.
Opened in 2015, 934 Gallery was born out of Columbus-based artist live-work community Milo Arts, which celebrated 30 years in 2019. Focused on a “fresh perspective,” the community’s neighboring gallery space in Milo Grogan hosts local, national and international artists who showcase not only art shows and exhibitions but installations and performances as well.
For more information, visit www.934.gallery.
Highline Coffee Art Space
Located inside the Highline Coffee Co. in Worthington, Highline Coffee Art Space is an art gallery that showcases the work of Central Ohio artists new and established. Highline Coffee says it strives to provide a welcoming and rich environment and in 2019, it made some renovations in an effort to make its space a better venue for area artists.
For more information, visit highlinecoffeeco.com/cms/highline-coffee-art-space.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
There are a few galleries on the Ohio State University’s campus, but one often overlooked is the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Named in honor of the late Dispatch cartoonist Billy Ireland, the museum and library reportedly houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics. This includes original art and manuscript materials, as well as editorial cartoons, graphic novels and comic books.
For more info, visit cartoons.osu.edu.