Columbus Galleries, Artists to Celebrate Downtown Art Sunday
On Sunday, Nov. 4, Downtown art galleries, artists, and poets will come together for Downtown Art Sunday. The day will include exhibits, a poetry reading, and hands-on programming from eight Downtown art galleries, including the Angela Meleca Gallery, Appendix, the Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery, the Columbus Museum of Art, Hawk Galleries, Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery, and the Urban Art Space.
New and current exhibits include “Hypotheses,” on view at the Cultural Arts Center, which explores the many disciplines of science from multiple artist perspectives; “Design Is…” at the Riffe Gallery will explore the work of select Ohio State University Department of Design alumni, and showcase the role design has played in successful spaces, products, services, and experiences.
“I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” continues its year-long Columbus celebration with an original exhibit by Columbus author Wil Haygood. The exhibition, on view at the Columbus Museum of Art, is also in conjunction with “Isaac Julien: Looking for Langston,” a 1989 film reimagining the life of Langston Hughes and other gay artists during the Harlem Renaissance, alongside related photographic works.
“I, Too, Sing America” will also host a poetry reading at the Beeler Gallery, featuring local poets and writers Vernell Bristow, Marcus Jackson, and Negesti Kaudo, reading from their own work as well as the work of major Harlem Renaissance figures. Kaudo, a creative essayist, is an adjunct instructor at CCAD and was asked to participate in the reading after being hired this past summer.
She will be reading an excerpt from Their Eyes Were Watching God, the magnum opus of author and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. Kaudo says she admires Hurston’s work and relates it to her own. It’s fitting then that she will read her own essay inspired by the novel, entitled “Contemplating God.”
“‘Contemplating God’ stems from a conversation with my best friend about what if God were a black woman, and explores my own ideas of Her, love, spirituality/religion, blackness, and writing,” Kaudo explains.
She has been writing and rewriting the piece since 2016, starting as a 1,000-word essay that is now 13 pages, she says. “This piece hasn’t been published yet, but I feel ready to submit it for publication since I’ve been preparing for this reading.”
In the classroom, Kaudo pulls from topics on diversity and intersectionality, challenging her students to engage with narratives and perspectives that make them uncomfortable or that they may not understand. Her students read authors from marginalized groups: sometimes women, LGBTQ+, or people of color.”
The Harlem Renaissance represents an era in which black artists, and intersections of women, gay, and lesbian figures, pursued their art and work from previously untouched perspectives, and seemingly without any limitations, Kaudo says. She believes black artists are in the midst of another renaissance, one in which artists are reconsidering Harlem Rennaisance era ideas in new iterations and forms.
“There is a lot of spectacular black art being made right now in music, film, visual art, literature, on and on and on,” she says. “I’m wondering how I fit into that space—what my work is doing that no one has done before or is doing, and how I pay homage to the artistic influences who came before me and are currently around me.”
She continues: “I want to be in conversation with the works and artists of the Harlem Renaissance, and I hope that my work continues to explore those questions they were asking, as well as their answers.”
Columbus Underground is a media sponsor for Downtown Art Sunday, taking place Nov. 4 from 12 to 6 p.m., timed for daylight saving time. For more information about the event and its sponsors, visit downtownartsunday.org. Find more information about Negesti Kaudo on her website.