Columbus Makes Art Presents Heather Taylor Bringing November to Beeler Gallery
Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery has reopened to the public for spring 2021 with November, an immersive lens-based exhibition curated by CCAD alum Heather Taylor (Cinematic Arts, 2015). Open by appointment through March 6, this is the first gallery exhibition Taylor has curated, and a shift from Taylor’s full-time, overnight work as a videographer for local news channel WSYX, a position that she says can leave her witnessing some “heavy hearted” scenes. Below, she discusses her creative practice and making work in Columbus.
Jennifer: How did November originate? How does the final show compare to what you’d initially envisioned?
Heather: November originated from Tim Rietenbach, the Faculty Director of Galleries, asking if I was interested in curating the first show under his new position as Beeler Gallery’s director. We discussed having a group show that reflected loosely on the theme of 2020, with the support of FotoFocus Cincinnati.
The show turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined. I find myself lost within it, and I personally need that right now. It’s video-heavy, which is the first for the gallery and so there were some challenges that we faced at first but overall it turned out gorgeous. The artists worked very hard.
Jennifer: Where in central Ohio do you find inspiration?
Heather: I find inspiration at Audubon Park! My favorite park here. It reminds me of the landscape where I grew up, in the countryside of northern Ohio.
Jennifer: What’s the best thing about the Columbus arts scene right now?
Heather: I don’t know that I can speak to specifically right now, because of the pandemic. However, I feel the art scene here is small and very specific. There are a lot of talented folx that are nestled in this city. It makes Columbus more charming and comfortable to me, to know these creative, progressive like-minded people are here, even if they might not publicly show their work or share a lot of what they are doing to a broader audience. I see them and appreciate them.
Jennifer: You have experience both as a curator and as an artist. Which do you prefer? Why?
Heather: I feel that my curation is a part of my artistic practice as a whole. If I had an option, though, currently I’d choose curation, because it’s easier to gather work from artists who are constantly creating and sharing their work for an audience to see. I don’t feel like I produce as much work as I would like. It took me years to come to terms with even calling myself an “artist.”
Jennifer: What does your creative process look like?
Heather: It’s spontaneous, but as I’ve grown older, I execute most projects with some sort of plan. I like to keep things flexible, to leave room for change and adjustment. I tend to overshare; it’s rare for me to keep much saved away and private unless it’s extremely personal or far from “complete.” I enjoy sharing what I do and the processes that go into them, and the responses from folx inspires and motivates me to continue to create. I feel that my process includes the thought and healing for others and the community that is Instagram, and what my work can do for them.
Jennifer: What’s next for you as an artist? As a curator?
Heather: Who knows, lol! I can’t afford to be a full-time artist so I incorporate my personal work while balancing working a full-time job. I have some plans relating to filmmaking that I might execute, but those will be private for now. Once it is safe again to have gatherings of people, I’m sure I’ll make something on a larger scale to share and celebrate that.
November at the Beeler Gallery features 12 emerging Columbus-based, national and international artists, and is part of a collaboration with the Cincinnati nonprofit FotoFocus. Taylor selected each of the artists and asked them to create artwork in response to the ominous tone of 2020 and the uncertainty of the near future. The exhibition was originally scheduled to open in November 2020 but was postponed due to COVID-19. It retains its original name as a reminder of the month’s menacing hypothesis, its prophetic realization, and the suspended gratification that we are still navigating. The dozen artists with work in the show are: Dru Batte, Natasha Cantwell, Cameron A. Granger (Cinematic Arts, 2016), Kalaktive collaborative duo (Bahareh Khoshooee and Sareh Imani), Dawn Kim, Susu Laroche, Bobby T Luck, Calista Lyon, Adee Roberson, Lexie Smith and Benjamin Willis.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Learn more about local artists, organizations, public art and events at ColumbusMakesArt.com.