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Columbus Makes Art Passport Program Received Positively By Residents, Arts Orgs

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Columbus Makes Art Passport Program Received Positively By Residents, Arts OrgsShadowbox Live's "Leather & Lace" is a stop on the Columbus Makes Art Passport. Photo by Tommy Feisel.
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In August, the Greater Columbus Arts Council announced an arts “passport” to encourage Columbus residents to visit arts, cultural and entertainment events this fall.

The program sees residents “stamping” their passports with stickers designed by Central Ohio artists that they can acquire at over 60 arts experiences and other Columbus events.

Jami Goldstein, vice president of marketing, communications and events for the Greater Columbus Arts Council, says after a year and a half of being confined inside due to the pandemic, it was starting to feel like they were strangers in their own city. That’s where the idea of being arts “tourists” came from.

The program takes experiences that were already planned for this fall — as not to burden organizations with new programming during an already tough time — and provides a free way for the community to engage as they’re comfortable.

“If we can help more people discover what a vibrant art scene we have, that’s great,” said Goldstein. “And in the meantime, if we can help organizations and get people back out into the community, exploring, that’s great, too.”

The program has been well-received, she said, “There’s a lot of excitement in the community, and just super positive responses from both organizations and residents.”

And the excitement has translated to positive comments on social media.

“We are having a lot of fun with the passport,” one person posted. “We are visiting places that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”

Among the 23 artists behind the stickers are Adam Brouillette, Hakim Callwood, Lisa McLymont, Francesca Miller, Kate Morgan, and cartoonist Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone comics. GCAC paid for the rights to use the artists’ work on stickers, in addition to design, printing and other costs of the program.

This weekend’s Columbus Coffee Festival is one of several one-time events where residents could receive a sticker for their passports, however, plenty of stops can continue to be visited any time between now and Oct. 31, when the program ends.

While some stops on the passport tour require a ticket purchase, others are completely free, and there is no purchase needed to collect enough stamps to win any of the prizes.

Nearly 70 unique prizes are offered and several hundred prizes total, ranging from Art Fan stickers and artist trading cards to one pair of Hamilton tickets for October 2022, which one lucky person could receive if they redeem at least 40 stickers.

Holders can start redeeming their passports Tuesday, Sept. 28, and have until Dec. 1 to do so.

Goldstein said GCAC is considering doing the passport program again next fall, to coincide with the start of many performing arts organizations’ seasons. The program came together rather quickly — 10 weeks from inception to completion — so next year the program could be even better.

“We will also continue to look for unique ways to promote our artists and our organizations, and find ways to help more people discover them,” she said.

Goldstein said there are 10,000 passports out in the community, and they hope to get one in every person’s hands.

“And if that can translate to 10s of 1000s of visits, that would be wonderful for our community,” she said.

Residents can pick up a Columbus Makes Art passport at nearly 40 locations, including 3060 Gallery, CD92.9, Experience Columbus Easton and Arena District visitor centers, Grange Insurance Audubon Center and many of the arts stops.

For more information, visit ColumbusMakesArt.com/passport.

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